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Open Burning Ban in Allegheny County
The Allegheny County Health Department is currently in the process of revising its open-burning regulations. The Health Department is still in preliminary stages, and proposed revisions have yet to be released. The Clean Air Council is advocating for an open-burning ban within Allegheny County due to the greater Pittsburgh area’s dense population and the harmful effects of wood smoke associated with incomplete combustion resulting from open fire. In January 2014, the Council presented the Health Department with draft regulations that ban open-burning with limited exceptions [perhaps link to the attachment?]. This policy is the only approach that will ensure adequate protection of human health. We will continue to update this page with developments regarding the Health Department’s revisions to ensure that the public is aware of opportunities to influence this decision-making process.
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“Biomass energy is growing in importance because of a desire to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources of energy and energy independence. Also, alternative energy portfolio standards requiring energy companies to use alternative sources for a percentage of the energy they sell are encouraging industry to invest in biomass. Biomass energy is listed as a Tier I alternative energy source in Pennsylvania.1 The other Tier I alternative energy sources in the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) are solar photo-voltaic and solar thermal energy, wind power, low-impact hydro-power, geothermal energy, biologically derived methane gas, fuel cells, and coal mine methane.2 The act requires that at least 8 percent of the electric energy sold by an electric distribution company or electric generation supplier to retail electric customers in the Commonwealth must be generated from Tier I alternative energy sources by 2020.
“Biomass is enticing because of the promise of carbon neutrality. The idea is that carbon emissions from biomass are offset by the prior absorption of carbon through photosynthesis, and the carbon will be reabsorbed when new biomass is grown. However, this carbon cycle would take place over many years because of the time needed to plant and grow new sources. It is also possible that biomass might be harvested at unsustainable rates and produce air pollution and net greenhouse gas emissions.”
Click here or on the image below to download the entire paper on biomass facilities and their potential impact.