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Biomass power rules leave 35 towns in industry ‘crosshairs’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-07-30 15:22:26 –

Legislators on both sides of the aisle inform the Baker administration that they are not satisfied with the proposed regulations that effectively protect the environmental justice community and surrounding areas from new firewood power plants and select 35 towns as potential plant hosts. I did.

April, Baker administration Announcement The proposed renewal of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards Regulations bans biomass projects from being eligible for the RPS program if they are within or within five miles of the environmental justice community.

Its latest version schedule A hearing was held on Friday in front of a joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy, and Patrick Woodcock, a member of the Bureau of Energy Resources, detailed the changes proposed to lawmakers.

RPS manages the increase in the amount of clean energy that utilities and municipal lighting equipment must purchase each year. State law requires DOER to include biomass facilities in the RPS program, and regulations that came into force after 2012 will allow only efficient combined heat and power biomass plants to sell renewable energy credits to the RPS market. It has become.

But once, each environmental justice community and its corresponding 5-mile buffer Map out, Approximately 90 percent of the state’s land area was excluded.

This leaves only 10% of the state. West of the Connecticut River, a series of communities along the Connecticut border, Kohaset, Scituate, the coastline through Marshfield, and small fragments of various other towns. Future biomass facilities may be possible. Based on the Baker administration’s policy, the location will be identified and incentives will be applied.

“It doesn’t matter if the facility is in Massachusetts or elsewhere, but science still says no,” Senator Joe Comerford said of the fact that biomass production pollutes more than other sources like the sun. Said by mentioning. “The logic here of these regulations is tortured. Biomass plants cited more than five miles from the nearest environmental justice community are less environmentally friendly than Springfield biomass plants. The location of the facility did not contribute to the eligibility of RPS Class 1. Class 1 should be booked for the cleanest energy source. “

In total, 35 of the 351 cities and towns in the state will remain available for encouraged biomass facilities.

“These regulations not only indicate negligence in the environment, but are also subject to biomass locations and are forced to endure the disturbing and detrimental consequences of this energy production. “It’s also clearly unfair to the community,” O’Connor, who represents the coastal area just south of Republican Senator Patrick Boston, wrote in a letter to DOER signed by eight other members.

Senator Adam Hinds, a Democrat in Pittsfield, represented 17 of the 35 towns where biomass facilities could still be the target of state incentives, and in Woodcock, his agency was in those communities. I asked if they were picking out or if the government was implicitly trying to signal that they weren’t interested in biomass facilities. ..

“This regulation seems to systematically push plants into very specific areas, and of course, once in my district, you can argue,” Hinds said on Friday. I did. “So the question makes a bigger statement that DOER has deliberately decided to push the biomass wood fuel facility into 35 towns, or that it is actually migrating from biomass as an RPS-eligible energy source. Is it? “

Woodcock told Hind that DOER wanted to “watch out for biomass energy,” but defended two existing biomass facilities in the state and the government’s broader energy policy could still have a place for them. Suggested that there is.

“We certainly don’t think it will be a significant contribution to Massachusetts’ overall portfolio,” said the Commissioner. “But I’ve been working within the Baker administration since 2017. There are two facilities that meet this standard: the Seaman Paper facility. [in Gardner] Also, the Cooley Dickinson facility [in Northampton] — And I haven’t heard any concerns about these facilities since 2017. It is advisable to visit these facilities as these are the types of qualified facilities and the Commission has a long-term view of these policies. “

Woodcock said the proposed regulation would lead to a slight increase in biomass production in the region, and out-of-state facilities could be subject to Massachusetts incentive programs, but it was proposed. The change “is very unlikely to fund a new biomass plant,” he said. “

Senator Michael Barrett, co-chair of the committee, said DOER is in the position that “some support for the current biomass, but apparently not enthusiastic and bearish on additional biomass.” I told Woodcock when I heard it.

“Why don’t you formalize what appears to be the informal and informal incentives of these proposed new regulations? Why leave 35 out of 351 municipalities on the cross?” Barrett said. Mentioning O’Connor’s request contained in his letter, he called for Woodcock to uphold a law that would ineligible all new state biomass for state incentives.

“To consider whether long-term biomass policies need to be implemented,” Woodcock said, as research into the public health impacts of biomass facilities mandated by the state’s latest climate legislation is underway. “I promise to work with this committee,” but “it is important to comply with regulations to maintain consistency between DOER programs.”

He also said that biomass regulation is a climate law provision signed earlier this year that requires environmental reporting on projects that may affect air quality proposed within five miles of the environmental justice community. I told lawmakers that it was written.

“We are certainly looking back at the state legislature’s efforts in climate change law and using it as a construct to move forward,” says Woodcock. “As you know, I certainly would like to actively participate in discussions about a particular language regarding the proposed bill.”

(Copyright (c) 2021 State Capitol News Agency.

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Biomass power rules leave 35 towns in industry ‘crosshairs’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports Source link Biomass power rules leave 35 towns in industry ‘crosshairs’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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