Bait & Switchgrass

The Oneida Tribe’s Energy Crop project is part of a so-called ‘clean’ energy program being initiated by the Oneida Energy Team, which includes the Tribe’s Environmental Resources Board, Department of Public Works, and Environmental Department which are partnering to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Oneida community.

Environmental Project Manager Michael Troge has said that he thinks the Oneida Tribe will

…benefit most from an energy portfolio where percentages will be assigned to the different technologies: photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, and fossil fuels.

Oneida Eye has concerns that “bioenergy” could include using land on the Oneida Reservation to grow genetically modified versions of switchgrass and other GMO crops as incinerator feedstock rather than using the land to grow organic foodstuffs for people.

The only feedstock that seems to come anywhere close to maintaining balance between what it takes to cultivate (little to nothing), impact on the land (restorative), the technology it takes to harvest (minimal), the variety of potential uses (incredibly diverse) and what its combusted impact is on overall greenhouse gases (depending on the method) is hemp:

However it’s doubtful hemp is a resource currently being given consideration by the Oneida Energy Team, but it is encouraging to read that industrial hemp is returning to Colorado and Kentucky:

Given that the Oneida Tribe has free trade zone on the reservation where hemp goods could be imported, perhaps industrial hemp is something the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin could encourage Canadian Oneidas to explore for a variety of commercial & industrial uses and export, as well as establishing relationships with Colorado tribes.

Still, on the subject of using any biomass as a combustible fuel source, Oneida Eye is persuaded against such projects by the valuable information available at as well as this expert’s opinion:


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As It Happens

June 2013
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