Local groups claim air pollution from plant is serious threat to community
August 3, 2016 (SPRINGFIELD, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Arise for Social Justice argued today at the Massachusetts Superior Court in opposition to the granting of an air quality permit for the Springfield biomass power plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE). In 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) elected to provide such a permit for this plant despite significant evidence of the public health risks associated with the construction and operation of this facility.
“In a community already suffering from high rates of childhood asthma and other serious respiratory conditions, the last thing we should be doing is literally adding fuel to the fire,” said Veronica Eady, Director of CLF’s Massachusetts Advocacy Center. “We wouldn’t let our children ingest even one ounce of ammonia, so why would we allow a plant that, by the company’s own admission, will spew over 140 tons of ammonia, carbon monoxide, and other toxic pollutants into our air? PRE may value a quick buck over the health and safety of this community, but CLF is proud to stand with the people of Springfield and fight this proposal.”
In May 2016, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided in the Kain v. DEP case that the Commonwealth must adopt annual emission reduction limits to meet short-term and long-term climate goals, and just this week the General Assembly approved a new energy platform that prioritizes offshore wind and energy storage.
Michaelann Bewsee, co-founder of Arise for Social Justice, added, “Our state has made great strides in recent months on the path toward a clean energy and clean air future, and we cannot allow that progress to be undone by a costly, unnecessary and dangerous new power plant. When one in five children in this community is already suffering from asthma, any energy solution that further pollutes our air is no solution at all.”
Experts are available for further comment.