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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Bioenergy plant

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Ah, Council is applying its new Hokey Pokey policy to inform the bioenergy plant proposal: You put your bioenergy plant in, you take your bioenergy plant out, you turn around and shake it all about. You put your bioenergy plant pollution out, you offset your bioenergy plant pollution in, you do the Hokey Pokey and you shake it all about, and that’s what it’s all about. Oops, the bioenergy plant, and its 2,200 trucks’ pollution doesn’t actually go back in. Bugger.

Councils proposed methane burning, 2,200 trucks bioenergy plant is a greenhouse and air particulate polluter. The false claims of it reducing Council’s green waste emissions is purely based on corrupted carbon bookkeeping and a dodgy carbon offset system. Unsatisfied with paying Council’s requirement to access Council’s ARENA funding rejection notice, I got the info, and ARENA’s meeting minutes reasons, directly from ARENA. While part of ARENA’s funding rejection was because Council’s alleged ‘First in Australia’ wasn’t a first, the other reasons were that it was unlikely to be financially successful, and that there would be a financial gap between income and costs. And Council states it only found out the reasons for the funding rejection via my ARENA FOI Response that I forwarded to Council – you’d think they’d ask ARENA themselves (staff and councillors must be too busy doing the Hokey Pokey together in the corridors).

Council is now applying their Hokey Cokey policy to inform selling either the polluting bioenergy plant (after spending approx $1.5m), or selling the ‘no emissions, no trucks, five gigawatt’ solar farm. Council did provide me with the costs of sending green waste to the Lismore green waste facility – $365,000 per year, i.e. just the $25m methane burning bioenergy plant construction cost = 75 years of costs to have the Shire’s green waste composted and mulched.

Thousands of years of air samples trapped in ice reveal that our forested planet had not increased significantly its greenhouse emissions until the industrial revolution.

Aerobic composting of green waste has small CO2 emissions, which can be reduced 50 per cent with ground and compost worms, and become minus, and then draw down emissions, by growing plants on top. Aerobic composting does not create the level of greenhouse emissions created by Council’s proposal of a gas-fired electricity plant, burning methane artificially fermented from green waste. Cr Pugh had a motion up for last week’s meeting – that Council ceases to accept sponsorship from gas, coal and petroleum producers. I emailed him my support for the motion, but raised the conflict with Council proposing to become, itself, a methane gas producer. He didn’t attend the meeting – you put the motion in, you pull the motion out, you do the Hokey Pokey and you shake it all about, and that’s what it’s all about!

John Lazarus,Byron Bay


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