WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A plan to bring a natural gas power plant to Westfield is being met with increasing protest. Thursday night, residents had the chance to voice their concerns, and the Environmental Protection Agency was all ears as dozens filled an auditorium of Westfield North Middle School.
"In Wyoming, there's been a lot of fracking development over the last 10 years actually," John Armstrong of Frack Action said. "They've seen the air quality go from pristine mountain air to air quality worse than Los Angeles on a bad day."
And that's exactly what many Westfield residents are worried about. The Pioneer Valley Energy Center is inching closer to building a new natural gas power plant in the city's north side on Ampad Road. Too close to home for some.
Spokesman of Westfield Concerned Citizens Mary Ann Babinski said, "Some parents have said that to us that their children live in this neighborhood will be going to school from elementary school to the middle school to the high school and always will be near the source of this pollution."
However, the PVEC project manager says what they have planned is the cleanest and the most efficient power plant of its kind.
"Think, for example, turning the stove on in your house. It's the same natural gas that burn in your house that will burn in this facility," Matthew Palmer, PVEC Project Manager said.
He also said, this project will create hundreds of jobs, but while the promise of jobs is appealing, many weren't convinced it's worth it.
Babinski said, "And we believe that politics, profit making and power people have should not come before people's health."
The EPA permit is one of the last permits needed to move forward with the project.
Even if you missed tonight's meeting, you can make you opinion known by sending your comments to:
Donald Dahl, Air Permits, Toxics and Indoor Air Program Unit, 5 Post Office Square Suit 100 Boston, MA 02109