Hearing on biomass regulations held in Holyoke

Monday was the final day to submit testimony to the state

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is considering changes to its clean energy regulations.

Biomass was the main topic at a public hearing in Holyoke held on Monday. Biomass is the burning of organic materials like wood chips and wood pellets.

Several groups want to have biomass industries stripped of government grants due to air pollution and health effects.

One company, Froling Energy, is pushing for Massachusetts to keep its current regulations. They use biomass boilers and claim it has very little impact on the environment.

“I encourage to look at that technology and consider that technology as a positive,” James Van Valkenburgh said. “It’s not a negative, and all the things having to do with the forest being sustainably harvested and economically viable. We just want to support that.”

But not everyone is convinced. “You’re going to wind up killing people,” David Gault said. “So you are going to incentivize the wrong thing. It should be taken off the books.”

Monday was the final day to submit testimony to the state on these potential changes.