Springfield City Council debates biomass plant permit

Palmer Renewable Energy hopes to build a wood burning plant at site on Page Blvd.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The dispute continued Tuesday night over a proposal to build a biomass plant in East Springfield. Neighbors told 22News they don’t want it, but that’s not the end of it.

The Springfield City Council spent Tuesday night behind closed doors, debating how to respond to a building permit that would allow Palmer Renewable Energy to build a biomass plant in Indian Orchard.

“Moving forward, I am going to poll the members of the Council to determine whether or not there is an interest to vote on whether or not to file a notice of appeal,” said City Council President Michael Fenton.

Palmer Renewable Energy hopes to build a wood burning power plant at Palmer Paving Company’s site on Page Blvd.

Residents from the Indian Orchard section of Springfield were also at Tuesday night’s meeting and discussed their concerns about the safety hazards a biomass plant could pose on the community.

The Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit saying the company’s proposal meets air quality standards, but residents aren’t convinced.

Bill Gibson of Springfield said, “We are all united for clean air in the city and opposing the biomass plant. I’m confident the City Council will see the wisdom of this, and once again vote to keep this biomass plant out of the city.”

Fenton said, “We are going to make a decision in the best interest of the city, and based on what is the best legal course of action moving forward to further our case.”

Back in 2011, Springfield’s building commissioner granted Palmer Renewable Energy a building permit for the biomass plant, but the Zoning Board of Appeals revoked that permit, and Palmer Renewable Energy sued the city.

The deadline for the Springfield City Council to file a notice of appeal is September 14th.

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