Burn biomass for the sake of the forest

In response to “‘Biomass Isn’t Clean Energy’: Springfield activists blast state plan at hearing,” published June 6 at valleyadvocate.com (see page 6).

I’m Mike Leonard, Consulting Forester, North Quabbin Forestry. I have a BS degree in Forestry from UMass and over 30 years’ experience practicing forestry. My son and I help landowners protect and manage thousands of acres across the state.

We’re proud of the forestry work we do. We’re creating jobs, improving forest land, producing many different forest products we all use, and providing a source of clean locally produced real renewable energy. But forests in our state are in serious trouble due to a variety of insect, disease, and other agents. Tree mortality has greatly increased and millions of tons of timber are dying every year. The only way we can help restore the health and productivity of our forests is to support more markets for low grade timber and that means biomass!

— Mike Leonard, website comment

Hi Mike, thanks for your hard work and dedication to our forests and lands. I agree that with much of our lands and trees in serious trouble something needs to be done to deal with all the mortalities and excess biomass. However I think mass burn biomass plants are more expensive and uneconomic given the low cost of natural gas and renewables. I believe smaller plants that convert biomass of all types into firewood, biochar, briquettes, charcoal, pellets, and liquid fuels would be better options. They would be less polluting, much smaller, and less expensive than big burn plants. Wondering what your thoughts on that are given your experience and qualifications.

— John Smith, website comment

Hi Mike. How do you spell air pollution?

— Janet Sinclair, website comment

Musicians deserve to be paid

In response to “Basemental: DIY Distopia — A tech start-up sees house shows as ‘the next big thing,’” published June 6-12, 2019.

I couldn’t get past this: “bands play in exchange for a high quality video of their set, initially, and then if the first show is a success they become “alumni,” making them eligible to earn $50 to $100 for their performances at future gigs.” SCUM BAGS.

— Dave Hayes, Facebook comment

Impeach Trump? What about Al Capone?

In response to “Just Impeach Him Already!” published June 6-12, 2019.

The impeach/don’t impeach thought experiments being conducted by folks like Dave Eisenstadter, Advocate, June 6-12, could perhaps benefit from some substitution. Take Trump out and plug in another well known villain, say Al Capone in the 1920s. In this scenario the thinking would go: Al Capone is a well-known criminal whose impunity is unacceptable. The district attorney should indict him and bring him to trial so that the public can learn of his villainy. We know he will not be convicted, but if you just put him to trial then the public will learn the details of his villainy, and people will wake up to what a public menace he is.

Would that work? Everyone knew who and what Capone was — those already in his pocket — would not be persuaded by public disclosures of his crimes, and those who knew he was a danger would learn nothing they didn’t already know.

But Capone would walk — he would be found, at least, not guilty, and would go home to sin again.

The details of Trump’s villainy should be revealed by Congress — and that means a lot of subpoenas and court battles, not all of which would go their way. Trump, like Capone, had to be removed from the public. For Capone it was conviction for tax evasion. For Trump it is electoral defeat in 2020. THEN, stripped of immunity, he can be prosecuted for financial crimes by the New York state district attorney’s office — which is already looking to do just that.

— Joe Gannon, Northampton