The biomass power plant proposed for Springfield (where 291 meets Page Blvd) does not appear to be very popular among residents, nor the experts they persuaded to come share their perspective on the issue. And as a result, the Springfield Public Health Commission and Health and Human Services Director Helen Caulton-Harris seem to be motivated to figure out if they have any authority in the matter, and how to wield it on behalf of these constituents. Apparently, the plant’s provisional permit will become permanent on December 18th if no one finds a way to stop it (though there will surely be lengthy legal challenges). The final scheduled public meeting on this subject–a DEP air quality permitting hearing–will be on December 2nd at 7PM at the the Kennedy Middle School (1385 Berkshire Ave). It also appears that the Public Health Commission may schedule another meeting to allow the proponent to present their case.
Below you will find the comments of several residents combined in a single video clip (in chronological order, starting with Michaelann Bewsee). Below that, you’ll find a two-part, slightly edited down video of Mary Booth’s (MA Environmental Energy Alliance) presentation–here’s the power point she used, and her full written comments to DEP. And while I didn’t get any video of Attorney and WNEC faculty member Benjamin Rajotte’s testimony, here are the comments he and Ms. Bewsee submitted to DEP. And here is the written and unabridged version of Dr. James Wang’s testimony on behalf of the Hampden District Medical Society. And here is the testimony from the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition which was presented at the hearing. Last but not least interesting, here is the three-page handout from the proponent (submitted in absentia).
I also want to make a special apology to Springfield Institute advisory board member, Amaad Rivera. I was so eager to record his testimony about the disproportionate impact on communities of color that I neglected to press the record button! I am hopeful that Amaad will share his perspectives on this site soon.
Directly related to Amaad’s testimony last night, remember the project, Justice in the Air, that we wrote about in the spring? This project, undertaken by our friends at the UMass Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), links polluters to the low-income communities where their pollution ends up.
Though individual contributors to our blog may do so, The Springfield Institute is not taking a position on this issue. Instead, our interest in this issue (and all issues) is to raise the level of debate, broaden participation in the debate, and give a greater voice to underrepresented stakeholders.