Probe requested into bioenergy industry claimsDecember 4, 2013
To the editor:
Several investors recently petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the bioenergy industry regarding the following issues:
“1. The ”˜clean energy’ fallacy and related regulatory risks. The bioenergy industry has been representing biomass power as a ”˜clean’ and ”˜carbon neutral’ energy source, even though its day-to-day operations emit greater quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) and, often, conventional air pollutants per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated compared to coal and natural gas. These claims are sometimes outright misleading, or are otherwise based on speculation and assumptions.
“2. Better bioenergy industry disclosure is needed to protect investor interests. Without better disclosure of the risk factors facing a given company, many investors reading companies’ disclosure statements will lack a complete picture of the regulatory, operational, and financial risks associated with investment in bioenergy. Our review of disclosures is inspired and informed by the Commission’s 2010 Climate Guidance, which clarified the obligations of companies to accurately and completely report on financial implications of carbon emissions and regulatory developments related to climate change.”
One target is Southern Company, which employed Jay Catasein as a vice president from 1998 to 2000 before spinning off the eventually bankrupt and government-fined Mirant Corporation.
The research was done by Mary Booth, Ph.D., Partnership for Policy Integrity. Fifteen investors and groups —with assets totaling more than $100 billion — signed, including the following:
”¢ Laura Berry, executive director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (New York City)
”¢ Sally Ann Brickner, OSF, justice, peace and ecology coordinator, Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (Fond du Lac, Wis.)
”¢ Patricia A. Daly, O.P., executive director, Tristate Coalition for Responsible Investment (Montclair, N.J.)
”¢ Steven Heim, managing director, Boston Common Asset Management, LLC (Boston)
Adam Kanzer, Domini Funds (New York City)
”¢ Nora Nash, OSF, director of corporate social responsibility, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia (Aston, Pa.)
”¢ Joy Peterson, PBVM, promoter of peace and justice, Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters (Sinsinawa, Wis.)
”¢ Leslie Samuelrich, president, Green Century Capital Management (Boston)
Note that investment firms and religious orders label as misleading marketing still preached by Catasein and the City of Jasper.
—Norma Kreilein, M.D., FAAP
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