Action Alerts from Farms, Forests & Food Systems Group

350 MASS has a petition to the legislature for the Next-Generation Roadmap bill

They urge: “Press the MA legislature to pass the Next-Gen Roadmap Climate Bill (again!) by January 29th.” More details are on their action page.

Then ask them to hold hearings on Gov. Baker’s subsidies for biomass


The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC) commends the Massachusetts Legislature for taking into consideration the justified concerns of Springfield residents about a large biomass power plant proposed in this community. 
After hearing from SCJC, its member groups, allies, and thousands of Massachusetts residents, the Legislature removed biomass from the list of qualified energy sources for a new Greenhouse Gas Emission Standard established for municipal lighting plants and called on the Baker Administration to conduct a study on the health and climate impacts of burning biomass for energy. 
However, the new climate bill will not protect Springfield residents and people living in the surrounding cities and towns from the threat of a proposed biomass plant in that community. Currently, inefficient biomass power plants don’t qualify for renewable energy credits in Massachusetts. But new rules submitted by the Baker Administration’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in December would roll back these standards and allow a long-contested plant, proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy, to qualify for $13-$15 million a year in clean energy subsidies paid for by Massachusetts ratepayers.
The Palmer biomass plant will disproportionately impact low-income communities of color that already have some of the worst air quality in the entire country. The City of Springfield has been classified as the “Asthma Capital” of the U.S. by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. One in five children in Springfield have asthma and one in four in Holyoke. The negative impacts of pollution from the Palmer biomass power plant will be felt well beyond the city limits of Springfield. Furthermore the rule change will open the door for other polluting biomass plants in the Northeast.

In addition to passing the Climate Roadmap bill, SCJC is urging the Legislature to hold a hearing on the Baker Administration’s proposal to extend renewable energy subsidies to biomass electricity plants.

We join with the Attorney General’s office and dozens of environmental organizations in calling on the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) to hold a public hearing on these regulations and seek more input from the communities disproportionately affected that will have to deal with the damaging results of the pollution that a biomass plant to be built in Springfield will have on them. We also request the TUE Committee examine the scientific basis for introducing the new regulations into the effort to fight climate change.
We support passage of the climate bill and call upon the Legislature to join us in urging Governor Baker to protect the health of our children, vulnerable populations, and the climate by withdrawal of the proposed biomass rule changes. 

created by Springfield City Council member Jesse Lederman
to tell the Massachusetts legislature not to make Springfield a biomass sacrifice zone!

Since the launch of this petition over 4,000 of you have signed on to urge the Massachusetts Legislature to make sure their Climate Bill did not erroneously classify biomass waste incineration as “non-carbon emitting” and encourage it as a “renewable resource.”  The Springfield City Council and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition have been up in arms about the proposal during the conference committee process to include biomass power in the new greenhouse gas emission standard for municipal light plants.

This issue has been covered locally by Daily Hampshire Gazette (12/31/20), WWLP 22 News (8/13/20), MassLive (9/22/20), and WAMC (9/29/20), and in Boston by WBUR (12/22/20) and The Boston Globe (10/20/20)!

For a lot more on the biomass issue view Climate Action Now’s No Biomass pages.