Let’s build on our historic climate justice win in Springfield and keep biomass out of the RPS! Tell MA DOER that we don’t want to subsidize dirty biomass power plants anywhere. Click the button below send your message today. Comments due May 17th.
Statement by the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition on DOER’s Proposed RPS Rule Changes
April 16, 2021
We are gratified that the Baker Administration is finally listening and responding to the widespread public opposition to putting a polluting wood-burning power plant in an environmental justice community that has been named the “asthma capital of the country.”
If adopted, these rule changes will ensure that the Palmer Renewable Energy biomass plant proposed in East Springfield will not be able to qualify for millions in renewable energy subsidies in Massachusetts. We’re thrilled to see these protections for environmental justice communities included in DOER’s new RPS regulations; for far too long Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities have been disproportionately targeted as sites for toxic and polluting facilities.
This is a second win for the Springfield community, following MassDEP’s April 2nd decision to revoke the air quality permit for the Palmer plant.
As we celebrate a major step forward for the people of Springfield who have been fighting this plant for more than 12 years, and for environmental justice communities across the state, we want to be clear that biomass does not belong anywhere in the Commonwealth’s clean energy future. We are concerned that DOER’s proposal includes loopholes that would allow existing polluting biomass power plants throughout the Northeast to qualify for rate-payer funded renewable energy credits in Massachusetts.
The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition is committed to continuing to work toward eliminating dirty biomass altogether as a source of energy. No matter where they are sited, biomass power plants pump out health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
April 2, 2021: An important WIN and... we're not out of the woods yet
On Friday, April 2, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officially revoked the Final Plan Approval necessary for the construction of the Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE) proposed 42-mW biomass electricity generating plant.
The DEP decision provides important momentum in our efforts to stop the PRE plant, but we are not out of the woods yet. This plant has been vigorously opposed for 12 years and has earned the nickname 'zombie incinerator' for its uncanny ability to be revived after apparently fatal blows. We must keep up a vigilant campaign in case PRE tries to resuscitate its proposal by reapplying for a new project permit.
In addition, Governor Baker’s Department Of Energy Resources continues to push a rollback of rules that would qualify biomass energy to receive ratepayer subsidies that are intended for true clean energy alternatives like wind and solar. If they are successful, this regressive rule change could not only give the PRE plant new life but encourage development of other inefficient and polluting biomass plants in the state.
Now, more than ever, it's important that we keep up the pressure to make sure that PRE and other biomass plants are not allowed to pollute Environmental Justice communities - or any communities- in MA!