Lawyer to represent City Council for free in fight against biomass plant

Appeal being taken to the state's highest court

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield City Council members are continuing their efforts to stop a biomass plant from being built in the city. Palmer Renewable Energy seeks to construct a wood-burning biomass plant off Page Boulevard in East Springfield. Their building permits have been validated by a court decision, but now the council is taking the matter to the state’s highest court.

Friday, the council voted to authorize their attorney, who has agreed to carry-out the appeal with the Supreme Judicial Court for free. Mayor Domenic Sarno has stated he would not fund or support a legal appeal of the project, and added the project has passed the strict federal and state environmental health requirements.

The majority of the council sill disagrees.

“I’m concerned about my children’s air quality, my grandchildren’s air quality. And we already have a pretty severe situation here in Springfield, and to add more carcinogens into that environment is something that the City Council just doesn’t support,” said Council President Michael Fenton, who represents the neighborhood in which the proposed plant would be located.

Environmental activists and neighbors are also appealing the project. Fenton says that it’s still the council’s duty to stick up for residents, and it gives them a certain amount of control behind the process.

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