An Environmental Disaster of the Democrats Making
The state of Maryland is suing the shuttered Vesco plant in Luke over pollution issues:
Maryland is taking the owner of a shuttered Allegany County paper mill to court, accusing it of allowing a waste product known as black liquor to seep into the Potomac River despite regulators’ demands that it stop the contamination.
The state is asking a judge to order Verso Co., owner of the Luke Mill, to put a stop to the pollution and, potentially, to pay civil penalties.
Black liquor, a byproduct of the papermaking process that is controversially considered to be a “renewable” energy source, has been leaking into the river since at least April, according to the complaint filed Monday in Allegany Circuit Court.
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The substance, which has earned Verso and other paper companies significant renewable energy subsidies through a Maryland program, continued to seep from a riverbank even after state regulators ordered the company to address the leak, the lawsuit says.
That last paragraph is key, because it’s one of the reasons that the Vesco mill was still open in the first place.
As we first wrote about in 2011, black liquor is one of the many dirty energy sources that utility companies have been using in order to meet the renewable portfolio standards mandate that requires 20% of retail electric sales be powered by “renewable” energy by 2022. This law, naturally, is an O’Malley era law railroaded through the General Assembly by the Democrats in an effort to be “environmentally friendly.”
Yes, the same people who vigorously oppose much cleaner and un-subsidized nuclear energy brought about this environmental hazard to the Potomac River and, ultimately, the bay.
Paper companies have used black liquor to power their plants for decades. More recently they’ve added diesel fuel to burning black liquor take advantage of billions in federal subsidies from a 2005 transportation bill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency a gallon of diesel fuel emits more carbon dioxide than a gallon of gasoline. Verle Sutton, a paper industry analyst was quoted in Bloomberg News saying, “It’s an absolute government boondoggle,” Sutton said. “These companies were not using fossil fuels. They only started because they needed it for the tax credit to work. So there’s a negative to the environment, not a positive.”
Democrats only became concerned about black liquor in 2017, long after Martin O’Malley and his Democratic pals enacted this sweeping legislation that has hurt ratepayers and hurt the environment.
As we head toward the 2020 General Assembly session, Democrats are already looking for new ways to mess with Maryland’s electric power. Just remember the Luke plant and this black liquor leak the next time Democrats demand new electric subsidies for allegedly “clean” and “renewable” electricity. Thanks to the renewable portfolio standard and the Democrats insistence on subsidizing dirty renewable energy, this spill into the Potomac River is the Democrats doing.