Friday, July 1, 2022

Play

The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.

Play

SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

MA Groups: Time is Now to End Biomass Subsidies

Play

Tuesday, January 18, 2022   

Proposed legislation would end subsidies for wood-burning power plants in Massachusetts by removing biomass as an eligible fuel source for the Commonwealth's two primary clean-energy programs.

Currently, fuel from biomass plants is included in the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the Alternative Portfolio Standard, but environmental groups noted burning wood is more polluting than burning coal, and leads to major health impacts in surrounding communities.

Caitlin Peale Sloan, Massachusetts vice president for the Conservation Law Foundation, said subsidies for biomass need to end, especially as the need to reduce emissions grows because of threats from climate change.

"It's very important that now we clarify what we're calling renewable," Peale Sloane urged. "So that we can increase our subsidies of renewables without increasing combustion and additional climate impacts from carbon emissions."

Last year, the operating permit for a proposed Palmer biomass plant in Springfield was revoked because of its proximity to an environmental-justice community. Springfield has high rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. A letter from more than 100 groups urged the Legislature to pass the bill, so biomass cannot be subsidized in any area of the state.

Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Springfield, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said the proposed plant was aiming to build in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood where many residents are immigrants, people of color or low-income.

He argued ending subsidies for biomass will help push back against the history of racism in where these plants have been put.

"The greater Springfield area has one of the worst asthma rates in the entire country," Lesser pointed out. "Part of the reason for it is this industrial legacy, and a legacy of pollution tied in certain respects to these power plants."

He emphasized moving forward, it will be important to ensure front-line communities hit hardest by the effects of climate change and pollution get the most focused protection from climate-mitigation efforts.

Naia Tenerowicz, a Springfield resident and environmental advocate, said while Massachusetts is a leader in the transition to net-zero emissions in many ways, subsidies for biomass set the Commonwealth back.

"The idea that biomass could be subsidized as clean energy, when it's polluting your community when it's making it harder for you and your loved ones to breathe," Tenerowicz remarked. "It's not something that I want to happen to anyone in any community."


get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…


Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …


The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …

Environment

Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021