The “Seneca Legacy” of planting 40 million trees (as advertised regularly in Eugene Weekly) and planting three times what they harvest equates to clear cutting 13.3 million trees. Before this gets planted in people’s minds, a few facts need to be propagated.
According to the 2017 Department of Environmental Quality Facility Emissions Report for Lane County, Seneca Biomass electric power generation emitted 198,398 metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTCO2) and is one of the county’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. Biomass power plants typically operate at 24-percent efficiency, according to the Clean Power Plan.
Currently, the timber industry is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Oregon.
Environmental Protection Agency data on power sector carbon emissions show wood biomass-burning power plants emit more than 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour; 60 percent more than a new coal plant and 290 percent more than combined cycle gas plants.
EWEB pays Seneca three times the megawatt rate it pays its regular supplier, Bonneville Power Administration, which means EWEB customers are subsidizing Seneca. The EWEB contract with Seneca sunsets in 2026, which should end an inefficient and polluting source of energy.
Short-term timber rotation plantations, toxic herbicidal aerial spraying and adding carbon to the atmosphere contribute to the Seneca Family Legacy. Don’t tell the grandkids.