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Councilor Lederman Testifies Before State TUE Committee Against Biomass Pollution Subsidies

At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman testified Friday morning before the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee in a virtual hearing. The Committee includes members of the Massachusetts State Senate and Massachusetts House of Representatives. Councilor Lederman was invited by the Committee to testify regarding proposed financial incentives for biomass incinerators in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which the Councilor has strongly advocated against.

“I am thankful to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy for the opportunity to share the experience that the people of Springfield have been through these last ten years related to the proposal to burn biomass in our community,” said City Councilor Jesse Lederman, “Our clean energy dollars should not go towards subsidizing pollution in Springfield or anywhere else.”

Councilor Lederman’s testimony comes following a move by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources two years ago to rollback existing regulations that blocked large scale biomass incinerators like the one proposed in Springfield from receiving state funds backed by Massachusetts rate-payers that are meant to incentivize clean energy production.

Following calls by local elected officials and residents, including hundreds who turned out to a public hearing at Duggan Middle School in 2019, and a unanimous resolution from the Springfield City Council, the DOER added additional provisions barring projects proposed in Environmental Justice designated communities like Springfield from benefitting from the proposed rollback.

However, Councilor Lederman pointed out in his testimony that we have a broader responsibility to protect public health and the environment.

“The policies we choose to embrace as elected officials have real consequences for real people in real communities,” said Councilor Lederman in his testimony, “The proposed RPS changes before you today still mean that our clean energy dollars can go to subsidizing pollution in other areas of Massachusetts and in our neighboring states. And just like we shouldn’t subsidize pollution in the City of Springfield, we shouldn’t subject any community to pollution, no matter where they are, at the expense of Massachusetts rate-payers.”

The full hearing can be viewed here

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