Stop the Biomass Plant!
As members of the Steering Committee of the Atwater Park Civic Association in Springfield, we are writing to express our opposition to the proposed waste wood incinerator currently being developed by Epsilon Associates here in our city.
Developers indicate that approximately 1,184 tons of the fuel will be burned at the proposed site on Page Boulevard each day, yet the total energy produced from this massive operation will amount to less than one third of 1% of Massachusetts' total power production! Moreover, a huge influx of more than 140 trucks per day will add significant levels of vehicle emissions to the arsenic, mercury and lead already produced by the plant itself.
Of course the impact of this burning will not stop at the city line but will endanger the health of citizens throughout the area. Tall smokestacks will ensure that pollutants are dispersed throughout the Pioneer Valley, making this a regional issue.
But the worst impact will be felt within a five mile radius, an area that contains some of the highest childhood Asthma rates in the state. In addition to the entire city of Springfield, this area also includes nearly all of Chicopee, plus portions of the following communities: Holyoke, West Springfield, Agawam, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham and Ludlow. Over 75 schools lie within this five mile radius.
The following organizations are just a few of the many which have stated their opposition to this project: The Massachusetts Medical Society, The Hampden District Medical Society, The American Lung Association, The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, The Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition, and The Connecticut River Watershed Council.
By shifting to a slightly less toxic form of fuel ("waste wood" as opposed to "demolition waste") Epsilon was able to slip out of a state mandated Health Impact Study and although the DOE has requested that such a study be continued, the developers have refused. That's partly because time is of the essence. Epsilon has admitted that they need to start building by July 1, 2011 in order to avoid new EPA clean air regulations, with which they would most certainly be noncompliant. In other words, they're trying to push this plant through, just under the wire!
We ask readers to write to the following groups expressing their concerns about this project:
- The East Springfield Neighborhood Council, who were contacted by the developer back in 2008 for necessary approval before there was any public awareness of the plans. For that reason, this critically important citizens' group was not privy to any opposing information at that time and granted approval to the developers. Now, because of the shift from construction debris to waste wood, Epsilon once again needs their approval. Ask council members to please reconsider their previous decision.
- Mayor Dominic Sarno
- The Springfield City Council
Let's show our local business and government leaders that projects of this sort can not be railroaded through without the consent of the people who will be so significantly impacted by them.
Members of the Atwater Park Civic Association Steering Committee