Mass. Issues New Biomass Rules

Regulations spell out the future of renewable energy in the state

Dirty energy sources contribute to dangerous air pollution

October 29, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – Massachusetts energy officials have released new rules governing wood-burning power plants as part of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards regulations. The rules spell out which biomass facilities will be eligible for state renewable energy subsidies, as well as where they can be built. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.

“Wood-burning power plants spew harmful emissions that poison the air in surrounding communities,” said Staci Rubin, Vice President of Environmental Justice at CLF. “They worsen asthma and other respiratory conditions and set us back in reaching our mandatory climate goals. Industrial biomass plants don’t belong in any community, and it’s time for the Commonwealth to stop providing subsidies for toxic power that is hardly renewable.”

Notably, the new rules prohibit the construction of a biomass facility within five miles of an environmental justice community, which have historically been overburdened with pollution, congested highways, and industrial facilities. However, the fact that any type of toxic incineration can be considered renewable energy in 2021 is irresponsible. We need to reduce carbon emissions over the next five to ten years, and it takes new trees nearly a century to reabsorb enough to make burning wood climate neutral.

CLF experts are available for further comment.