On July 15, the League of Women Voters of Amherst joined four other western Massachusetts Leagues--the Northampton, Franklin County, Williamstown and Central Berkshire Leagues--in urging Massachusetts AG Martha Healey to continue to oppose the relaxation of Massachusetts' Renewable Portfolio Standards to allow subsidies for electricity generated from burning woody biomass. We also signed a petition urging the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) to hold a hearing on the biomass rule changes being proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
The DOER amendments would dramatically expand eligibility for woody biomass energy in Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), allowing existing polluting biomass power plants throughout the Northeast to potentially qualify for renewable energy credits in Massachusetts, paid for by electric utility customers. The TUE Committee has until August 5th to hold a hearing and make recommendations.
TUE held the hearing on July 30. Testimony against DOER’s proposed changes was provided by western MA Senators Hinds and Comerford, in addition to a panel of Springfield residents speaking to the health consequences of these large biomass plants and a panel of leaders of a number of Massachusetts’ environmental organizations speaking about the environmental implications. You can find a recording here.