U.S.: Massachusetts 2010 ballot may limit pollution from biomass incinerators

Boston - The Stop Spewing Carbon Campaign announced today has 72,568
signatures – more than enough to place a question on the ballot in
2010 that will limit air pollution from biomass incinerators that are
being falsely promoted by utilities and the forestry industry as
“clean energy.” A Yes vote in November will alter the state Global
Warming Solutions Act and prevent a global climate disaster.

“Biomass burning is dirty energy, but taxpayers and ratepayers are
being told it is “clean and green” even though, per megawatt hour, it
produces more CO2, harmful particulates and NOx than burning coal.
Massachusetts voters are leading the nation in demanding an end to the
biomass burning scam financed by billions in ratepayer and taxpayer
subsidies for these toxic incinerators that burn trees,” said Campaign
Chair Meg Sheehan. “The number of voters from different interest
groups supporting this ballot question sends a clear message to Beacon
Hill,” she said.

Campaign volunteer Claudia Hurley of Westfield personally collected
over 1,000 signatures. She says “Every voter I spoke to was very
concerned about the impact of biomass power plants on air quality, our
rivers and forests, and about increased truck traffic. Fishermen who
love our rivers almost hugged me for giving them the chance to vote on
this in 2010.”

“When it comes to burning forests for electricity, it’s a double
whammy– the incinerator burns the tree and spews out carbon dioxide,
and we also destroy the “lungs of the planet” -- trees that while
growing absorb the carbon dioxide that causes climate change,” said
Chris Matera of Massachusetts Forest Watch. “Voters who see proof of
our state forests being clearcut for biomass incinerators immediately
want to vote “yes” in 2010,” he added.

According to the Campaign, President Obama’s emissions reduction
target of 17% for the Copenhagen climate talks is impossible to meet
because biomass burning will add more than 700 million tons of
unregulated carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year, 12% of total
projected U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2020.

The incinerators also harm the public health and raise health care
costs. The Hampden District Medical Society and the American Lung
Association/New England have declared the plants a public health risk
not deserving of financial subsidies. “At a time when our nation is
struggling with health care costs, this is another reason to vote yes
to stop air pollution,” added pediatrician Dr. William Sammons.

According to Craig Altemose, Coordinator for Students for Just and
Stable Future, a sponsor of the ballot question, “We do not believe
we can burn our way to a clean energy future.”

Other sponsors include the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition,
ARISE for Social Justice in Springfield, MA, Concerned Citizens of
Russell, and Concerned Citizens of Franklin County.


Contact: Margaret E. Sheehan, Esq., Stop Spewing Carbon Campaign,
508-259-9154, meg(at)ecolaw(dot)biz