Biomass rules, legislation down to the wire in Massachusetts

It’s a race to the finish line in Massachusetts between regulations that will ease restrictions on biomass power plants that can receive renewable energy subsidies and legislation that PFPI and others are championing that would end those subsidies entirely.

The Baker Administration is finalizing controversial new rules that will weaken the state’s renewable energy (“RPS”) regulations and force ratepayers to subsidize polluting wood-burning power plants across the Northeast. The legislature’s energy committee – the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) – is required by law to issue a report on the amended regulations by the end of July.

At the same time, the chairs of this committee are in a conference committee negotiating critical climate legislation that could remove subsidies for burning woody biomass from Massachusetts’ renewable energy programs altogether. The conference committee must report out the climate bill in the next few days to allow enough time for the legislature to pass it and override a potential veto before adjourning on July 31st.

Massachusetts residents have spoken out repeatedly against the Baker Administration’s efforts to line the biomass industry’s pockets with ratepayers’ clean energy dollars. Three public comment periods have been held on the biomass rule changes since they were first proposed in April 2019, with multiple hearings and thousands of public comments. Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Baker Administration is poised to adopt the final rules later this summer.

Only the legislature can stop this from happening. More than one hundred groups, elected officials, and countless individuals across the state have urged the conference committee to include the biomass provisions in the final climate bill.


Partnership for Policy Integrity