Messy biomass, untold aftermath

Letters to the Boston editors, September 30, 2011
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 28, 2011

biomassletter1

MESSY BIOMASS

Your "Biomass FAQ" sidebar ("Deval's Green Blues," September 2) does not reflect the impacts of biomass burning. Using net emissions rather than gross is not "fuzzy math," as Khadijah Britton claims — using "stack emissions" in place of a robust life-cycle analysis is. There are numerous real environmental concerns about biomass burning, but a misleading presentation will only result in dismissal of these concerns. The sidebar, particularly with the inclusion of this graph, misrepresents the findings of the Manomet study that was central to the main article.

The proper graph would have included the emissions from logging trucks and lasting land-use changes, the comparable emissions for other fuels sources, and emissions associated with the facilities' construction.

If you are interested in publishing a proper life-cycle analysis, the area's colleges have many students in environmental studies and related fields who could do this work for you.

PETER O'CONNOR
CAMBRIDGE


THE UNTOLD AFTERMATH

I would like to commend the Phoenix for its thoughtful response to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, especially Thomas Page McBee's "Textbook Tragedy" (September 9), which illuminated a critical problem in the transmission of knowledge and understanding to the young — and pointed to a solution — and Chris Faraone's unexpected "Iraqnophobia," with its multiple ironies.

Other commentaries ("When It Changed") troubled me for their exclusions. Catherine Lutz is right so far as she goes; however, she leaves out the costs to Iraqis, far higher than those Americans have paid. An oft-forgotten fact: more than 4 million of them remain refugees abroad or displaced in their own country, unable to return to their homes. We have also witnessed the rise of the modern mercenary, which masks the true number of "boots on the ground" in the Middle East, and has created new monsters of privatization and diminished accountability. Both Steve Brown and the story on Narcicyst ("Iraqnophobia," Arts) point to but do not fully address the true nature and cost of the Security State, with its unbelievable stupidity and waste, as well as threats to civil liberties. All such excesses were speciously "validated" by 9/11. We now live largely by Dick Cheney's rules.

JEFFREY B. SPURR
CAMBRIDGE

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