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Regional News

Opponents Of Controversial Springfield Plant 'Overjoyed' By Proposed Biomass Rule Change

The entrance to Palmer Paving Corporation's site in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the Palmer Renewable Energy Company wants to build a wood-burning biomass plant.
Robin Lubbock
/
WBUR
The entrance to Palmer Paving Corporation's site in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the Palmer Renewable Energy Company wants to build a wood-burning biomass plant.

A Springfield nonprofit said new Massachusetts regulations that would impact a proposed biomass plant in the city are a huge victory.

Under the proposed regulations, a biomass plant wouldn't qualify for renewable energy credits if it's built in or near an environmental justice community. Those are places with more people of color, lower incomes and less English proficiency.

The rules would make a plant that Palmer Renewable Energy hoped to build in Springfield much less economically viable.

Susan Theberge of the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, which has opposed the plant, said she and the other members of the organization are pleased with the state's action.

"We are really overjoyed that the Baker administration is finally listening, and responding, to the overwhelming public sentiment against the idea of putting a polluting wood-burning power plant in an environmental justice community," she said.

The regulations aren't the only challenge the plant faces.

Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Protection revoked a permit for the facility.

The company hoping to build it is appealing that decision, but could not be reached for comment on the new rules.

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