Letter printed in the Greenfield Recorder, Friday, August 28, 2020
The Massachusetts legislature is currently finalizing climate legislation with a bill that calls commercial wood burning biomass incinerators “non-emitting sources” of energy. It encourages their construction with incentives for municipally-owned electric companies to purchase biomass power.
As Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman says: “Only one incinerator like this (is) proposed in the state, right in the center of Springfield – a city that has been named the asthma capital of the United States twice by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.”
The Traprock Center opposes commercial incineration of wood products because of related:
1. Air pollution: Biomass burners pollute as much as coal – the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. They release air pollutants that cause and worsen asthma, resulting in ER visits, missed school and work days for children and parents.
2. Climate Crisis: Burning trees for energy increases carbon emissions like fossil fuels and for decades, given the lag time between cutting trees and waiting for newly planted ones to mature. It is not carbon neutral.
3. Environmental Injustice: Springfield, designated officially the worst US city for someone with asthma, is the worst place in the state to site a biomass burner. With Springfield’s poverty rate nearly three times the state average, and a majority of residents of color, the Palmer biomass plant location is blatantly racist.
We urge support for City Councilor Lederman’s petition to the state Senate to remove commercial wood burning biomass incinerators from the definition of non-emitting energy sources, and spare citizens of Springfield this long-opposed danger.
(Sign on at http://chng.it/Dprq8DWfrC)
For the Traprock Center for Peace & Justice