Coconino Executives Supports the Burning of Forest Wastes for Renewables

Coconino Executives Supports the Burning of Forest Wastes for Renewables

Renewable energy is the current frontier in the energy sector as the world embraces the shift from carbon fuel to clean energy. Additionally, renewable energy sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydro-energy, and biomass energy. Many countries adopt different types of renewables depending on the availability of the renewables and the investment plan. For example, China is the largest solar energy producer due to the availability of funds that harness optimum sunlight. The U.S is also the largest generator of geothermal energy due to the establishment of numerous geothermal plants across the state.  

Recently, Art Babbott, the Coconino County Supervisor, persuaded the senators to enact a bill that seeks to produce renewable energy from trees and limbs waste from forest wildfires. Babbott testified that the absence of a forest waste market had jeopardized the successful clearance of forest waste that resultantly produce wildfires. He further stated that he had received information of one more possible wildfire breakout in the state. Art added that the rules governing the system had changed; thus, the Senate should consider revising the act to minimize wildfire disasters. 

According to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, the bill followed a year of an increase in Arizona’s wildfire accounting for 2,375 blazes scorching 955,000 acres. Nevertheless, Arizona’s wildfire may become insignificant compared to California, which recorded 9,279 blazes scorching across 4.2 million acres. The wildfires increased the mortality rate as California recorded 31 casualties recorded by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. A witness stated that the situation might worsen if the government fails to take emergency precautions and measures.

Babbott based his arguments that the waste from limbs and trees contribute significantly to the wildfires experienced in California and Arizona. He insisted that a lack of strategy in eradicated the large biomass will orchestrate future wildfires. According to Babbott, the Forest Health and Biomass Energy Act enacted by Senator Martha McSally will fix the wildfire menace as it encourages loggers to gather the limbs and small trees and transport them to biomass power plants. The Four Forests Restoration Initiative (FFRI) aims to clearing thicker parts of the forests, resulting in wildfire outbreaks.

The FFRI targets to clear 300,000 acres of forest land to minimize the spread of wildfires. However, Babbott stated that the organization has only cleared 14,000 acres. The reluctance to clear the forest is due to low market demand for forest waste. Moreover, loggers in the Snowflake region managed to clear the forest due to the high demand for biomass electricity.