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Last week, I read an article in the October 20, 2020 issue of The Boston Globe entitled, In the nation’s asthma capital, plans to burn wood for energy spark fury. I was very unhappy to learn about Palmer Renewable Energy’s plan to build a woody biomass power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where I was born and raised. Because I learned from the Greater Reading Alliance for Clean Energy that the Reading Municipal Light Department has plans to purchase energy from Palmer, I signed up to virtually attend and speak at the October meeting of the Board of Commissioners to express my opposition to those plans.
I am concerned about high levels of carbon emissions and other emissions from biomass energy, such as fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and other harmful pollutants, not only because of their contribution to climate change but also because of harmful health effects on people living nearby. Because of my connection to Springfield, and because of my concerns regarding climate change and environmental justice in general, I am especially concerned about the proposed location of this biomass plant in a neighborhood of Springfield that already has high levels of pollution and high numbers of people with asthma and other respiratory health issues.
I expect that businesses and other residents in the RMLD service area are likely to share my concerns regarding using energy generated from biomass. At the RMLD Board meeting, I learned that RMLD is considering canceling their contract with Palmer. I am writing to express my appreciation to RMLD, hoping that they will avoid purchasing biomass energy and increase their use of solar and wind energy instead.