A proposal to shut down a Maryland prison’s wood-fueled boiler is generating worries about the economic future of private forests that help keep the Chesapeake Bay clean.
State officials are seeking to extend natural gas service to the Eastern Correctional Institution south of Princess Anne, replacing a more than 30-year-old woodchip-burning system as the prison’s source of heat and electricity.
About one-third of the pulpwood produced on the Eastern Shore finds its way to the prison, home to the state’s only biomass energy plant. If it goes offline, forestry leaders fear it would undercut an industry that is already shrinking in the region and possibly force some landowners to switch their acreage to other uses, such as planting crops or building homes.[Continue Reading]