Hibbing Public Utilities recycling Ash trees damaged by EAB

Hibbing Public Utilities recycling Ash trees damaged by EAB

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On Monday December 18th, Hibbing Public Utilities Commission and Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture signed a partnership agreement. The agreement will designate HPUC for properly recycling and disposing of Ash trees damaged by Emerald Ash Borers.

There’s little to no resistance preventing the emerald ash borer from spreading in the Northland. Also the damage they cause to ash trees is catastrophic. However, HPUC is looking to use the biomass from the Ash trees for renewable energy and steam-powered heating in Hibbing.

Luke Peterson, the General Manager at HPUC, said people using the local utility won’t see an increase on their rates.

“Hibbing Renewable Energy Center, as always, burned ash as part of its fuel mix,” Peterson said. “But what we’ve seen, and folks around the state know, is that as the pest that has come about, the state hasn’t found a solution of what to do with the quarantine ash loads.”

Peterson also said now is the ideal time for recycling ash trees, because the Emerald Ash Borer hibernate in Winter.

“With right process and clean operations, we can harvest, maintain and process them fully turning into a waste product. A quarantine product, turned into something that we can use every day to heat our homes and run our businesses.”

Tom Peterson, the commissioner for Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture said eliminating the waste of ash trees impacted by emerald ash borer is a huge step in the right direction fighting the invasive species.

“As we look at a billion trees in Minnesota, our ash trees very important to our native community,” Peterson said. “They’re very prevalent all over the state. Minnesota is still fighting emerald ash borer.”

Also for more information about Hibbing Public Utilities efforts with biomass recycling and renewable you can read more here. However, for other stories about Emerald Ash Borer you can read more here.