History of Correspondence

Sometimes a little history is helpful. The correspondence here is illustrative of how things have changed (or not)!

May 29, 2014:
This discussion continues with no rationale for solving the increasingly dire climate projections. Look for the papers added as files below on 5/14/2014 for this correspondence. ACP

This note is a commentary on a cordial meeting to request permission to do rudimentary testing of charcoal for nutrient recovery of waste water in Belchertown on 5/21/13, to a MA DEP employee who could not attend:

Mr. ******,

I am not speaking for anyone other than myself.  I heard and expect that until a further meeting authorizes anything more the only thing that will happen is that several small samples will be taken from the same place and at the same time that the Town of Belchertown takes their normal samples of final discharge water.  The samples to be used by Mr. Wysocki will be processed on site or immediately adjacent to it with no loss of sample water.  Mr. Wysocki will test the unfiltered and filtered liquid and all liquids will be returned immediately to the Town employee who will put the liquid back into the input side of the treatment system.  As confidence is gained in the ability of the char to clean the outflow more liquid will be run through the filter medium until the capacity of the filter is reached.  This level of testing probably will not occur until after the middle of June, after a second meeting.  We hope that you and Drew will be able to attend.

As to the purpose of these tests, this trial activity could be a showcase event for the up coming North American Biocar Symposium at UMASS in October 2013.  It would be nice to be able to have a significant section of the MA regulatory community as major presenters of proactive steps that can be taken globally to avert the impending tragedies of pollution, hunger, nutrient impoverishment, deforestation, desertification....  Unfortunately we are having to build this kind of connection one step at a time with very small trials with little helpful public involvement.  Our research has shown that there are many attributes of charcoal that are not fully appreciated by the regulatory community and the expense to localities for regulatory compliance can be a large burden.  Waste waters in the USA are major nutrient conduits that end in creation of dead zones at the mouths of every river globally.  We function within a designed throwaway, planned obsolescence economy.  This condition must cease.  The regulators of the USA and MA particularly have chosen to build power bases that restrict personal proactivity and impoverish communities and forest owners while providing impunity to those who generate the most pollution.  MA EEOA has presided over a period in which most of our energy is formed from the most polluting sources, 95% of our food and fibers are imported and come from corporate rather than local small scale sources.  These are LEGAL but pathologic conditions.  I personally am committed to finding and promoting legal alternatives to the current unhelpful and unfair regulatory climate.

Char production can be done via very small scale and very clean and quiet combined heat and power systems like the one currently owned by the Center for Agriculture at the College of Natural Sciences at UMASS, which I have the honor of demonstrating at my own expense.  The regulatory community of MA has been rather unhelpful in recognizing MA contributions to a variety of stressors that are destabilizing our climate, our ecosystems, and our communities while ghettoizing significant sectors of our population.  

I have chosen to advocate for small repeatable steps to start to find methods of production and markets for locally produced benign or beneficial materials from our local resources that members of our  neighborhoods and Town employees can make and use themselves.  The fact that this requires significant regulatory handholding is counter productive.  I personally find the fear that your agency has used to constrain local proactivity to be very unhelpful. 

I hope that you can find a way to recognize the helpful and economically viable things that we and others propose, and that you will facilitate or cooperate in their testing and development in a well thought out stepwise process that can allow you to concentrate your regulatory powers where and when they are truly needed.  

Alan C. Page, Ph.D., Research Forester - MA License #184 (As of November 8, 2016 this technology is still sitting on the bench.)


I wish also to express my appreciation for the understanding that both your employee David Bacon, and the local MA Service Forester, Carmine Angeloni, have extended to me in my attempt to enhance the performance of experimental forests that I have spent some time studying. None of these areas are like any of the untreated forests around them. I feel that it is essential for elders in the forestry community to describe the difficulties associated with this long term management to the policy dictating body. It is apparent to me, after many years of trying to find ways to cause the good things that seem possible to happen, that there must be a significant lack of information that policy makers should have when deciding what and how to fund long term projects like ours.

It is clear to us that the ultimate owner of this land is the government and that the “mining” of normal forest production does little more than compensate the "normal" (in name only) owner for the land taxes

NOTE: As of November 8, 2016, Anna Von Ritz has a different take on the ownership and place of government in natural human living. This is opposed to the corporate commerce connected with "artificial people" who agree to be ruled by Admiralty law as opposed to the law of the Land, "common law". "Mining" is still the normal mode of operation for most natural resource endeavors.

(UPDATE 2013 - these taxes are payments by a temporary trustee for the right to be the trustee, if you fail to make the payments on time you will lose the right no matter what you have or have not done in the past.) in the long run particularly in urban areas – all MA is urban. We are faced with the immediate dismissal of our crew and the abandonment of plans to expand this kind of expensive activity, if we can not secure stable and reliable funding because there are few local markets for the experimental quantities of what we produce (and we do not believe that export of natural raw materials is an acceptable practice). There will be no significant income associated with these activities for the next twenty years. We are also faced with the possible loss of our land base if we are unable to maintain tax payments regardless of what we have done to improve the productive capacity of the land. Thus the most appropriate strategy for us as an owner would be to save our cash to be able to meet future tax obligations rather than investing in climatically risky long term projects that may take longer to mature than we have left to actively function. The very entity that is unwilling to find a way for committed trustees to fund these activities can also recover this land for more “productive” uses in any economic downturn.

It is strange that during a time when it is obvious that stable jobs and carbon negative functions are desirable for the local economy that it is so difficult to even start this discussion. I understand from David that the program that is currently in place is a “conservation” program (see the "definition of Conservation" file below - conservation130605.doc) not a production support function. It may take a while for the extreme vulnerability of the whole biosphere to sink in. But it should be apparent that the MA population is especially vulnerable since we import over 95% of everything we need. When one looks at the range of programs that the NRCS and FSA offer it is clear that there is no basis for any substantial long term investment in forest productivity and retention of forest related jobs.


RE: Letter regarding claims by biomass spokesmen

The recent letters to the Editor regarding the use of biomass in MA are a valuable public window into a confusing and for the most part foreign topic, but they are dominated by single issue advocates.

The recent “strange” storm, Sandy, and the recent discussions of the likely climate that we are going to experience are almost completely missing from this discussion. This suggests that the advocates of doing nothing with biomass are actually calling for a continuation of our use of coal, oil, and natural gas. This locks us into a situation that is completely untenable since we can expect annual weather cycles and storms in 2050 that are 3-5 times as extreme as we have seen this year. The following quote comes from John Holdren as reported in Climate Progress by Joe Romm on Nov. 11, 2012:

“We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.”

Joe Romm says: “That’s the pithiest expression I’ve seen on the subject of adaptation, via John Holdren, now science advisor.  Sometimes he uses “misery,” rather than “suffering.””

The degree of suffering that we are about to subject everyone on this planet to is catastrophic. We need to not only be talking about questions surrounding building large biomass power plants. We also need to stop using coal, oil and natural gas for power generation now! We need a thorough review by disinterested engineers, ecologists, and climate scientists of the “science” presented in the Manomet report. If it is found to be questionable, it should be withdrawn as a policy-making document.

There are a few energetically effective carbon negative alternatives (all of which use biomass as an input and depend on the carbon stored in char) that have some hope in facilitating distributed power generation and providing us an appropriate carbon foot print, but none have found a significant venue for discussion. The advocates you have found to date are assuring us that there will be no place on earth that is habitable within our life time.

To Whom It May Concern:  MAY 29, 2010
When our Senators are home this weekend, I want them to explain how they are going to prevent future oil disasters by ending our addiction to oil and the short term debt based economy.  YES, these two items are linked and have been for more than 100 years by design.  We have been entertained to death and our common good is now something few of us know enough to recognize.  Commercial credit creation has become a necessity and an addiction for most of us.  The cheap energy economy and cheap food has caused our society to change in unsustainable ways.  The unannounced climate crisis will soon modify the ability of earth to support "life as we know it".
The BP disaster is a wake up call.  The explosive force was provided by methane released by the local activity, similarly atmospheric methane is now accumulating from similar sources around the poles.  We need real clean energy and climate legislation that ends our dependence on dirty energy.   But the reality is that there are few alternatives that provide the convenience of the concentrated and convenient fuel that oil provides.  It will take persistent efforts on our part to ensure that the energy suppliers get the message - we want the Earth to be able to support our children and grand children - there is no insurance policy available for this demand.  We need to make it ourselves.  However, our Senators also need to go back to Washington free themselves from the money chains of the banks and energy companies and strengthen the current climate legislation, eliminating expansions for offshore drilling and dirty energy giveaways.