Leith resident rejects biomass PR

A local group has hit out at plans to hold public events on the proposed biomass plant at Edinburgh’s waterfront.The green energy proposal has been  controversial since December 2009 and opposed by local groups and politicians.

Local organisation  Leith Links Residents Association oppose plans to build a biomass plant in the port and have reacted angrily to Forth Energy, the company behind the scheme, and their forthcoming  public consultations in Edinburgh during November.


Rob Kirkwood, spokesperson for the  Leith Links Residents Association, told Edinburgh Napier News;

“This is an attempt to dress up the biomass incinerator in green clothes but the clothes don’t fit for a number of reasons. The consultation’s green make-up will fool the public”

An open letter to the Scottish Parliament was signed in October by local politicians including Edinburgh North and Leith MP Mark Lazarowicz and Lothians MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville.  The letter claims that the biomass plant  will use unsustainable woodchips as fuel, and that the carbon-debt of Scotland would not be met without further evidence. The Scottish  Government responded to the letter  claiming that all representation and interest groups would be considered in the final decision.

Rob Kirkwood highlighted the Leith Links Residents Association grounds for opposing the plant;

“the Forth Ports’ claims of reducing health effects are wrong.  The Seafield Sewage works has created clouds of hydrogen sulphide – we will be living in clouds of dioxins.  There will be noise and traffic – the place will be lit up like a football stadium”

“Forth Ports have lost their residential projects and this is a quick money-making scheme”

Forth Energy have argued back highlighting the potential in high energy supply, green technology, employment benefits and a proposed study into health concerns.  Edinburgh residents will have an opportunity to pose questions to Forth Energy at the public consultations .

The Leith area has been a focus for renewable energy having been picked out last February as the ideal place to build turbines for offshore wind farms.  The area will receive a boost from First Minister Alex Salmond’s announcement on the 2nd of November that £70 million will be invested in Scotland as a  National Renewables Infrastructure Fund. Part of the investment will be the development of  manufacturing and delivery of offshore wind turbines.

Forth Energy refused to comment to Edinburgh Napier News on the public consultation process.

BP used toxic dispersants to treat the oil spill

BP logo.

By Edoardo Zandonà

The dispersants British Petroleum used to help control the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last summer may be even more toxic than the oil itself, a recent report by Al Jazeera says. Several residents in the Gulf, who have been exposed to the dispersants, are dealing with a large variety of chemical-related intoxications, which are having increasingly serious effects on their health.

The symptoms the residents are reporting range from respiratory disorders to internal haemorrhages. Since the middle of last summer, 56 people from the counties of Mobile and Baldwin in Alabama had to receive treatment for intoxications linked with the disaster. Accounts of similar illnesses have also been reported in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, the states who were mainly affected by the spill.

Bob Naman, chemist at the Analytical Chemical Testing Lab in Mobile, conducted studies on Corexit, the dispersant used by BP. He explained that its higher toxicity is caused by the chemical compounds the dispersant create when mixed with crude oil. “I’m scared of what I’m finding,” he added. “These cyclic compounds intermingle with the Corexit and generate other cyclic compounds that aren’t good. Many have double bonds, and many are on the EPA’s danger list. This is an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”

BP admitted to have used at least 1.9 million gallons of Corexit, which is banned in several countries, in order to sink and break up the oil on the sea surface. The dispersant was sprayed all over the contaminated area since last May despite concerns about its toxicity raised by EPA.

According to Al Jazeera, the number of cases of chemical intoxication across the Gulf Coast is growing. Residents report several shocking symptoms after exposure to the chemical, such as urine discoloration, skin rashes and copious bleeding. Many people stated they started to feel better as soon as they moved in non-contaminated areas.

“What I’m seeing are toxified people who have been chemically poisoned,” says Trisha Springstead, a nurse in Brooksville, Florida. “They have sore throats, respiratory problems, neurological problems, lesions, sores, and ulcers. These people have been poisoned and they are dying.”

Dr. Riki Ott, a toxicologist and marine biologist, explained: “The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber. Given this evidence, it should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known.”

“People are already dying from this,” Dr. Ott added. “I don’t think we’ll have to wait years to see the effects like we did in Alaska, people are dropping dead now.”