Baker Administration Plans to Gut MA’s Science-Based Biomass Rules: Attend the Hearings!

DOER Hearings on Revisions to the RPS, Including Biomass Eligibility

The MA Dept of Energy Resources (DOER) is rolling back the science-based protections on biomass energy that have kept low-efficiency, GHG-belching wood-burning power plants OUT of Western MA. Come to the hearings in Springfield on June 5 to tell DOER to DROP the PLAN! We need your voice!

10 min description starting at minute 21:55 on the Bill Newman Show – listen!

DOER has posted the proposed changes to the RPS here.

Please come to one of the Public Hearings to say your piece – public testimony is powerful. Don’t forget: bring a written copy of your spoken testimony to leave with DOER!


DATE:              Wednesday, June 5, 2019

RALLY:           To be announced

HEARING:        6:30 – 8:30 PM John J. Duggan Academy Auditorium
1015 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01109

Verbal and written testimony will be accepted at the hearings; however, the state asks parties to provide written copies of their testimony. 

It’s never a bad idea to write out your spoken testimony in advance. They usually let people speak for three minutes. Three minutes is about 500 – 600 words if you talk fast (~2/3 of a page). We recommend practicing your testimony and timing it before giving it in public.

Click here to sign the petition to get polluting technologies out of our renewable energy supply!

Email us if you want to be added to the list-serve where we post updates and detailed talking points, discuss issues, and answer questions.

Click here for more details


OVERVIEW OF PROPOSED RPS CHANGES REGARDING BIOMASS  (for copy of full draft commentary please email


For a pdf of this post, click here.


Key Takeaway:  The betrayal of the 2012 compromise on bioenergy, forests, and climate

Proposed changes would roll back every meaningful protection in the MA biomass rules

Will allow the Palmer Renewable Energy plant (35 MW electricity-only) to be built in Springfield

Financial support for a polluting industry, when we should be focusing on non-emitting power

            DOER’s “wood availability” study cedes the forest carbon sink to biomass developers

The biomass regulations should be strengthened to reflect climate urgency, not weakened

Current state of MA bioenergy, forests, and climate science

Climate scientists say we need to cut emissions in half in the next ten years

Biomass power plants emit more CO2 pollution than coal or gas plants; the impact lasts decades

Massachusetts biomass rules lead the nation and the world; DOER wants to roll them back

MA and New England are already falling short of our emission reduction goals

Renewable energy in MA and New England is dominated by wood and garbage-burning


DOER’s proposal will increase CO2 emissions from wood-burning power plants

Eliminates definition and reporting of lifecycle GHG emissions

Changes timeframe for bioenergy GHG “benefit” from 20 years to 30 years (should be 10 or less!)

Reduces plant efficiency requirement for plants burning forest residues and thinnings

Eliminates efficiency requirement for “salvage” wood and non-forest residues

Counts fuel-drying as “useful” energy, thereby increasing net CO2 emissions

Allows “offsetting” of emissions violations from year to year


Proposal will increase air pollution from bioenergy

Eliminates requirement that plants demonstrate they can meet emissions criteria


Proposal increases wood treated falsely as having “low” or “zero” emissions

Over-represents benefits of forestry residues, then broadly classifies fuels as residues

Defines trees damaged during logging operations, trees harvested for restoration as “residues”

Defines more trees as “thinnings”

Massively increases amount of wood classified as “salvage”

Expands definition of mill residues

Post-consumer wood & agricultural wood waste: Classified as non-forestry residues with minimal carbon impact

Retains classification of trees cut for agriculture as non-forest residues

Abolishes definition of energy crops


Proposal would increase emissions from liquid/gaseous biofuels

Adopts carbon accounting that treats all biomass as having zero carbon emissions


Reduces accountability, transparency, & citizen oversight of GHG accounting

Reduces and eliminates protections for forests adopted in the 2012 rules

Replaces real metrics with bogus “Sustainable Forestry” provisions

Partnership for Policy Integrity