Springfield Groups Slam ENE for Peddling Polluting Palmer Power to Eastern Mass Munis

(Springfield) Springfield environmental justice organizations, together with the Pelham-based Partnership for Policy Integrity, sent a letter today urging ENE (formerly Energy New England) to stop promoting power purchase agreements with Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE), a wood-burning biomass power plant proposed to be built in East Springfield.

The groups learned recently that ENE has been recommending to municipal light plants (MLPs) in eastern Massachusetts that they purchase renewable energy credits from Palmer, claiming that the plant will have environmental and greenhouse gas benefits. In fact, the highly controversial 35-megawatt power plant, if built, would spew out tons of fine particulates, hazardous air pollutants, and smog precursors every year in Springfield – an environmental justice community that has been named “Asthma Capital of the US” for two years running by the Asthma and Allergies Foundation of America.

ENE is also pitching the Palmer plant as “likely” to qualify for the MA Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by the end of 2019.  The groups expressed outrage that ENE is banking on rule changes proposed by the Baker Administration that would roll back the state’s stringent criteria for biomass power plants in the RPS. The groups wrote:

“Burdening our community with another polluting industrial facility, and subsidizing it with public clean energy dollars to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, is wrong on every level… We are particularly outraged that you are seeking to line up financing for this power plant by pushing hypothetical Renewable Energy Credits for wealthier communities at the expense of Springfield’s air quality and the health of our residents. This is especially unconscionable when the comment period has not even closed on the proposed regulatory rollbacks that would make it possible for the PRE plant to get renewable energy credits in Massachusetts.”

Click here for a copy of the groups’ letter to ENE and here for FAQs about the Palmer Renewable Energy biomass power plant and the Baker Administration’s proposed rule change.

Reminder: Springfield Hearing on Rule Changes for Biomass and other RPS Technologies Rescheduled for June 5th

Yesterday afternoon, the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced that it was postponing a public hearing originally scheduled in Springfield tonight (May 29) and moving it to a new location, to accommodate a larger number of people. The hearing had been requested by Springfield EJ groups due to the impacts the rule change would have in their community. The new location and time are as follows:

Location: John J. Duggan Academy Auditorium, 1015 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA

Date & Time:  June 05, 2019, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

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Partnership for Policy Integrity