Tell Governor Baker: Don’t Prop Up Polluters With Our Clean Energy $$!
Please submit a comment to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in response to their proposed changes to the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations. Public comments are due by May 17th.
Thanks to the overwhelming public opposition to the Baker Administration’s plans to allow polluting biomass electricity plants to qualify as renewable energy in Massachusetts, the DOER has added important environmental justice protections to its proposed RPS rule changes. Nevertheless, DOER is still seeking to expand subsidies for biomass power plants, despite the harms they pose to our health and our climate.
On April 16th, DOER announced new changes that would bar any power plant burning woody biomass from qualifying for the RPS program if it is located in, or within five miles of, an environmental justice population. The new provision is a huge victory for climate and racial justice, and is an important recognition that for too long environmental justice communities have been disproportionately targeted as sites for toxic and polluting facilities.
But DOER is still proposing to weaken standards for existing biomass power plants if they claim they are burning primarily “non-forest derived” wood (a term that includes saw mill wastes, tree trimmings, and even whole trees). This would enable dozens of highly polluting biomass power plants in Maine and across the Northeast that were booted out of MA’s RPS program following the adoption of science-based eligibility criteria in 2012 to once again qualify for ratepayer subsidies in Massachusetts.
No matter where they are sited, biomass power plants pump out health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. We all lose if we allow our clean energy dollars to support false climate solutions like biomass energy. Please send a letter to DOER today!