Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Theft of local power forces new anti-incinerator strategy

Last week, with little fanfare, Gov. Patrick signed into law the Permit Extension Act, which gives an automatic two-year extension to virtually every municipal and state permit filed for the last two years.

The rationale for this law is that given the economic downturn, new enterprises which are struggling to find start-up funds should not have to redo the permit process while they put their financing together.  A worthy goal, yes?  But what does this loss of local power mean in practical terms?

In Springfield MA, those of us who've been fighting Palmer Renewable Energy's proposal for an energy and toxic air-producing incinerator have been looking forward to the expiration of its land use permit.  PRE would have had to go back before City Council to seek a good faith extension before October 15, 2010, and we've been telling City Council not to renew their permit.  Now councilors don't have to make that tough decision, because the state has made it for them.

So what's next?  We are now asking City Council to REVOKE PRE's permit for good cause.  We want City Council to hold a public hearing to explore grounds for revocation.

I've already heard from a few city councilors who seem nervous about this idea.  Is it because we're asking them to do something they actually have the power to do?  And just what constitutes "good cause?"

Well, let's have the hearing and find out!  As far as I'm concerned, any proposal that plans to add a ton of lead to the city's air should never have been granted a permit in the first place.

Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield has already collected more than 1,000 postcards to our city councilors demanding a public hearing to consider revocation.  Tomorrow at 11 a.m., we'll be on the steps of City Hall for  press conference-- and then we'll deliver our postcards to the City Council office. Come on down and join us.  Want some postcards for your neighborhood or civic organization?  all 413 734-4948 and we'll be happy to get them to you.

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