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Environmental Groups Want Massachusetts To Stop Subsidies For Biomass Energy

Packaged wood pellets on a conveyor.

Environmentalists are objecting to the Baker administration’s efforts in Massachusetts to promote the use of forest products as fuel for heat and energy.

In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker signed by about 30 representatives of environmental groups and scientists, the activists complain about the recent awarding of state grants, totaling almost $3 million, to companies involved in producing wood chips to burn in boilers and stoves.

One of the activists, Laura Haight of the Pelham, Massachusetts-based Partnership for Policy Integrity  said the Baker administration's policy is at odds with climate science.

" It appears that the Baker administration is really very aggressively pushing wood-burning," said Haight.

A spokeswoman for the Baker administration said the letter would be reviewed.

Legislation has been filed that would make woody biomass and garbage incineration ineligible for state renewable energy subsidies.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.