SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - As many of us strive to be more "green," one western Massachusetts group is worried that we aren't going in that direction.
Earlier this month, Massachusetts and 10 other states sued the Environmental Protection Agency in hopes that they would hurry up in tightening regulations on soot pollution levels. Soot pollution, or fine particulate pollution, can lead to heath problems such as asthma.
Now, a locally-based volunteer group known as Massachusetts Forest Watch is pushing the state to drop its interest in biomass as an energy source, because they say soot, particulate pollution, and carbon dioxide pollution will actually increase if biomass energy is used to replace coal energy.
Biomass energy is created by burning living or recently living plant matter, such as fallen trees.
"While we're closing down this coal plant which we should be doing becasue it's very dirty, at the same time the citizens are being almost forced to subsidize dirty biomass wood-fueled energy, which is even worse," said Chris Materia, founder of Massachusetts Forest Watch
The group is pushing Massachusetts toward solar, geothermal, and wind as an alternative to biomass and coal. Meanwhile, Palmer Renewable Energy is pushing for the creation of a biomass plant on Page Boulevard in Springfield.
22News spoke with Dale Rosinski, an environmental consultant for Palmer Renewable Energy. He said that the proposed Springfield biomass plant would be well below the EPA's future strict standards for fine particulate levels, and that carbon dioxide differences with coal are misleading.
Rosinski also told 22News that forests would grow faster than the rate that its biomass would be consumed.