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Greenfield Debates Biomass in Western Mass

The proposed plan to build a biomass wood and woodwaste burning plant in Greenfield is creating a bunch of controversy with experts on both sides making significant claims about the benefits and detriments of the proposal. From job creation and municipal ordinance to environmental implications, this fence has more than two sides!

Check out articles and information from across-the-board sources.

A brief explanation of biomass:

Biomass proponents advocate for the use of newly-dead biological materials for fuel or industrial production. The kinds of biological materials used and methods of extracting energy can vary so widely that the sustainability indicators for biomass production are almost a case-by-case scenario. Usually, biomass refers to plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce. Examples of biomass sources can range from dead trees and branches, to biodegradable and yard waste, plant and animal matter and crops with short lifespan grown specifically for energy creation, such as switch grass, corn, hemp and sugarcane. Coal and petroleum do not qualify as biomass because they are organic material that have undergone centuries of geological transformation– and their carbon content has not been circulating in our earthly cycle for quite some time.

The local context:

On Wednesday, June 10th, the Pioneer Renewable Energy project of the Cambridge, MA based Madera Energy is slated to continue a public hearing on its request for a special permit to build a 47 MW Biomass Power Plant within the Planned Industry (PI) Zoning District at 7:00 PM in the Greenfield Police Station Meeting Room, 321 High Street, Greenfield.

The public response to this issue varies across the board and only one thing can be said for sure– one can never have too much information:

In an opinion column in the May 21, 2009 edition of The Recorder, Greenfield resident Howard N. Stone urges citizens to check out varying sources such as Madera’s ENF and the policy perspective of the Massachusetts Environmental Energy Alliance.

The Boston Globe airs questions of the procedure by which the state has approved Madera’s permit under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act.

Massachusetts Forest Watch has published an in depth report MASSACHUSETTS FORESTS AND ENVIRONMENT THREATENED BY BIOMASS POWER, which strongly rebukes the sustainability claims of the Power Plant advocates as misguided and shortsighted given regional woodlands stewardship.

Google search for Biomass resources:
This searchs a select set of google for biomass related topics:
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