Madison County proposes six-month ban on biomass facility
County land use attorney John Noor issued a draft of the proposed biomass energy moratorium to the commissioners on 19 September. The October work session allowed the commissioners additional time to discuss the moratorium.
According to Noor, the proposed biomass energy facility moratorium was drafted using a framework similar to that of the county's six-month event venue ban it issued in July.
"The first Whereas clause will essentially lay out the situation: Why do you want to use more time in order to explore proper regulation of biomass energy facilities," Noor said. "These were largely assembled from comments that were provided and information that was provided at the Planning Board when they were considering incorporating biomass energy facilities into the Land Use Ordinance."
According to Noor, one of the most important goals of the draft moratorium, and the work session, is in establishing a working definition for biomass facilities, as the current Land Use Ordinance makes no mention of them.
"[A] [b]iomass energy facility [is] any commercial or manufacturing energy facility that converts organic matter, commonly known as biomass, into electricity, heat or transportation fuels, e.g. biofuels," Noor read from the draft moratorium. "(The term) 'biomass energy facility' includes facilities that store organic matter that is intended to be or is eventually converted into electricity, as well as facilities that convert organic matter to other products that are then converted into electricity for transportation fuel."
Noor said the moratorium would not cover any project where a special use application has already been accepted.
The next step will be a public hearing on the proposed moratorium, which will take place at the Board of Commissioners meeting on 16 November.