Tell the Massachusetts Legislature: Don’t Subsidize Pollution in Springfield!

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A message from Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman:

The Massachusetts legislature is currently working on finalizing sweeping climate legislation. This bill includes many positive provisions including efforts to increase renewable energy and center the needs of environmental justice communities like Springfield.

But the bill would also classify commercial wood burning biomass incinerators as “non emitting sources” of energy and create new incentives for municipally-owned electric companies to purchase their power. And there is only one incinerator like this proposed in the state - right in the center of Springfield - a city that has been named the asthma capital of the United States twice by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Biomass incinerators can create even more carbon emissions and air pollution than coal plants, and residents and elected officials in Springfield have been pushing back against efforts to grant renewable energy credits to this proposed development for years through the state’s rule making process.

If this definition is not updated in the bill then that work will be for nothing, essentially creating an end-run around the state rules process and providing new “clean energy” incentives for power that is too dirty to qualify for the state’s renewable energy credits. Suburban energy boards in the eastern part of the state will be encouraged to purchase polluting biomass power based on this law at the expense of the health and environment of the people of Springfield.

We know that clean energy doesn’t come out of a smoke stack. We the undersigned call on Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Tom Golden in their capacity as Chairs of the Conference Committee responsible for crafting the final language of this important legislation to remove commercial wood burning biomass incinerators from the definition of non-emitting energy sources and bring this definition in line with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Standard and the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard.