California commits $5 million to turn dead trees to fuel


SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. (AP) - A plan to turn some of California's 100 million dead trees into fuel has gotten a boost from the state. The state Energy Commission approved a $5 million grant Wednesday to help fund a biomass operation in California's Shasta County. The Fall River Resource Conservation District will use the grant to develop and operate a biomass facility in the Burney-Hat Creek area. California forests have lost tens of millions of trees this decade, partly because of drought. Authorities say the stands of dead trees heighten the threat from wildfires, although some environmental groups dispute that. The Shasta County plant would be one of the state's first to turn dead trees into combustible gas. Some conservation groups oppose biomass plants on the grounds that they can pollute the air and can increase the release of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

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