Letter from the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition to the Presidents of the Springfield Neighborhood Councils, the Civic Associations, and the Citizen Councils

To:  Presidents of Springfield Neighborhood Councils, Civic Associations, Citizen Councils         

From:  Verne McArthur and Zaida Govan, for the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC)           

Re:  Urgent action needed re proposed biomass plant in East Springfield

Date:  September 14, 2020

            As you may have already heard, the possible construction of an air-polluting biomass incinerator in E. Springfield has reared its ugly head again.  You’ll recall we’ve been fighting this project for well over 10 years—yet this ‘Zombie Project’ never seems to stay dead.  If allowed to go forward, it would add significant air pollution particles and chemicals into Springfield air, already labeled the asthma capital of the U.S.

            This incinerator would be enabled by section in the Climate Bill (H4933) now in conference committee to reconcile Senate and House versions.  Section 15 (c)(i)(9) would classify biomass fuel as ‘non-carbon emitting’ (blatantly false), allowing Palmer Renewable Energy to qualify for Mass state renewable energy credits and subsidies—without which Palmer could not make this plant work financially. 

            It is a blatant end-run around the Mass Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), regulations governing qualification as clean energy, which are among the best in the nation.  (See attached statement outlining the polluting impacts of biomass incinerators.)

            We need all of Springfield to stand up and make our voices heard again.  So the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition of over 30 organizations is asking you to sign on to the attached letter on behalf of your Council or Civic Association. The letter will urge the Conference Committee to remove Section 15 (c)(i)(9) from the Climate Bill.  The letter will also go the Springfield Legislative Delegation asking them to lobby the Conference Committee for this change.

Thank you for your careful attention to this urgent  health and justice issue.


Verne McArthur 

Zaida Govan