Dirty fuel adds to forest injury

Take Action

Burning trees and other woody material from forests for many years was regarded as a "green," sustainable means of generating electricity.

No longer.

A large and rapidly growing body of scientific evidence indicates that burning forests to generate kilowatts is, perhaps surprisingly, far more polluting than burning coal per unit of electricity produced. Further, heavy pollution from biomass electricity generation adds to many other detriments that result from mining forest ecosystems as an industrial-scale fuel source.

But California officialdom's current plans place the state on a path to continue its use of outmoded, dirty biomass incineration plants.

Tell your lawmakers that biomass electricity generation is highly polluting, harms forests, and represents a giant step backward in our quest to produce clean, climate-friendly electrical power.

In 2019 there were 23 operational bioenergy plants in California.

Pollutants from burning wood for kilowatts include carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and very-harmful particulate matter at scales down to 2.5 microns. But the biggest emission by weight is planet-heating CO2.

Leveling forests on a large scale for energy production damages soils and threatens other vital, and free, services they provide. These include storage and purification of water, wildfire control, and biodiversity, tourism and recreation values.

Unfortunately, subsidies have disproportionately favored the amount of forest residue used in biomass plants, not on the more-meaningful objectives of reducing greenhouse gases or other pollutants. California ratepayers are helping to pick up the tab for the timber industry's cleanup costs.

Contact your elected officials and let them know you oppose this dirty, forest-damaging industry!

Take Action
For the forests,

Paul Hughes
Executive Director
Forests Forever

Your contribution today will help California's forests thrive!


  • In May 2020 some 200 respected scientists wrote this letter to Congress, urging a halt to biomass electricity generation, among other retrograde forest-related practices.
  • This brief video sets forth some of the problems with bioelectricity from forest products.
  • Here is a recent study that addresses the myth that burning trees vs. coal is better for climate.

Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places