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Activists Continue 10-Year Fight Over Biomass Project

Anti-biomass rally
Paul Tuthill

    Environmental activists fear a climate bill in the Massachusetts legislature will breathe new life into a long-proposed biomass power plant in Springfield.

   At a City Hall rally with 75 people, speakers from several organizations demanded that proposed language in the climate bill denoting biomass as a “non-carbon emitting” energy source be deleted.

Otherwise, a wood-burning power plant proposed in Springfield could qualify for financial subsidies, said Verne McArthur of the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition.

  " This event is about the zombie project -- this biomass plant that Palmer Renewable wants to build and keeps pulling political strings to get loopholes to go do it," said McArthur.

  Project opponents are also considering going back to court to argue over whether the building permit the city issued 12 years ago is still valid.

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.