MA/RI State Council
Please read. We only have 12 days to act on this – March 17th is
We have the opportunity to prevent biomass burning power
plants from adversely impacting our rivers and streams here in
Massachusetts, which has turned into ground zero nationally
on the biomass issue. While proponents claim that burning
wood, construction waste and other debris is carbon neutral,
and this form of power generation has been stamped as
"green" in recent federal legislation and by state politicians
supporting the plants, biomass burning is anything but.
Biomass-burning plants will generate more fine particulate
matter than coal fired plants. It takes 20 years for a new tree
planted to replace one that has been harvested for biomass to
begin absorbing any significant amount of carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere. The new biomass power plants on the
drawing board now for central and western Massachusetts will
require essentially clear cutting forests in the state to provide
enough wood for the projected 30 year life of these plants.
Even then, there won’t be enough raw wood to feed these
plants, leading to pressure to burn construction debris, animal
waste, and municipal trash as fuel, causing even more health
Aside from the adverse health impacts from the increase in
particulate matter, the pressure on wood sources will impact
headwater and tributary streams to all the major rivers in the
best remaining native trout waters we have. To the extent these
plants require water as cooling sources, rivers such as the
Westfield will face massive water withdrawals, and hot water
Take Action Today >>
Call your state Senators
and Representatives and let
them know that you support
House Bill 4458
1. To find your local
legislator, click here.
2. Call and tell them you
support House Bill 4458.
3. Spread the word to
discharges of 85 degrees, even in the summertime when rivers
are at their lowest. State regulators allow this because
Massachusetts regulations permit the use of annual data
averages, rather than specific actual data, when considering
impacts on river flow and temperature levels. We are
concerned that development of biomass plants will have a
serious adverse impact on Massachusetts’ best coldwater
resources, such as the Westfield and Deerfield rivers.
Sadly, none of the planning for biomass considers the potential
impact of global warming on our rivers and streams, an impact
that would be amplified by the carbon dioxide spewed from
Last year a ballot initiative was circulated that would limit the
amount of carbon dioxide a biomass plant in Massachusetts
may produce to be eligible for tax and other state subsidies. It
received over 100,000 signatures, and was certified for
inclusion on the ballot this coming November. As part of the
initiative process, the legislature first has an opportunity to
pass a bill that would do what the ballot initiatve does.
Right now, House Bill 4458 is before the Joint Committee on
Telecommunications and Utilities. The committee has until
March 17, 2010, to report out a bill for the legislature to
consider. Support for this bill is crucial right now. Having
acceptable legislation passed will allow the state to begin
addressing the biomass issue much sooner. It also guarantees
protection now for our rivers and streams.
Please call your state Senators and Representatives and let
them know that you support House Bill 4458. Ask them to
contact the members of the Joint Committee on
Telecommunications and Utilities, and urge them to report out
a strong bill. Also ask your legislators to report back to you on
the action they took.
Here are some suggestions as to what you should say to your
Senator or Representative when you call:
First, ask to speak directly with the
Senator/Representative. If unavailable (most likely),
ask to speak to the Senator/Representative’s staff
person handling the biomass burning issue.
Introduce yourself, including your home address,
and say that you are calling in support of House Bill
Ask for support of House Bill 4458, to end state
incentives to build biomass and garbage burning power
plants in Mass. Biomass electric generating plants are
being planned for some of our nicest rivers. These
plants need huge volumes of water for cooling, and
their withdrawals will add to summer low water
conditions, killing off fish and wildlife.
Biomass-burnin lants emit ollutants that cause
cancer, asthma, heart attacks and other diseases.
Urge your (Representative/Senator) to submit a
strong recommendation to the Joint Committee on
Telecommunications and Utilities to support House
Bill 4458. I also would like to hear back from my
(Representative/Senator) to know if they will support
House Bill 4458 and if they have made a supporting
recommendation to the Committee.
Thank you David Glater and Peter Schilling for your hard work on this
MA/RI State Council
19 Royal Ave. – North Adams, MA 01247
Joe.Overlock@gmail.com – (413) 652-1638