Malodorous brown smoke from a power plant enveloped this logging town on April 29, 2010, and several hundred residents fled until it passed.
Six months later, the plant got $5.4 million from a federal program to promote environmentally preferable alternatives to fossil fuel.
The plant, Blue Lake Power LLC, burns biomass, which is organic material that can range from construction debris and wood chips to cornstalks and animal waste. It is among biomass plants nationwide that together have received at least $700 million in federal and state green-energy subsidies since 2009, a calculation by The Wall Street Journal shows.
Yet of 107 U.S. biomass plants that the Journal could confirm were operating at the start of this year, the Journal analysis shows that 85 have been cited by state or federal regulators for violating air-pollution or water-pollution standards at some time during the past five years, including minor infractions.
Biomass is ...