Monday, November 8, 2010

Biomass Incinerator: Springfield City Council finally hearing our opposition?

 Last Tuesday, Election Day, dozens of us flyered polling places in Springfield MA, urging voters to call their city councilors and say "NO!" to the wood-burning incinerator being proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE).  By the end of the week we had won over the remaining ward councilors, some of whom were going to sponsor a resolution for the December meeting, and then we received a message from at-large Council Tom Ashe, saying he was going to sponsor two resolutions for tonight-- one calling for a Full Environmental Impact Report of the proposal and the other saying that PRE has to come back to the City Council before their amended proposal is approved again.  Of course, PRE has to go back before the council in any case, which maybe Councilor Ashe doesn't know.

More than a dozen of us are signed up for the speak-out portion of the council meeting tonight.  We'll be focusing on the health impact a plant like this will have on our community.  We didn't expect to stick around for the rest of the meeting, but now that there's actually a resolution, we'll stay and see what happens.

I am not so naive as to think our battle is won-- the developers are smarmy and they'll have plenty to say-- but it's a step in the right direction.  I'll post about the results and next steps.

"We are talking about two grand projects in dispute. On the one side is the project of capital and imperialism, which signifies looting, which signifies death, and which signifies all of the false solutions to climate change that we reject entirely.

We assert that we need to change the system and not the climate. We assume the construction of another project: the project of life. A project based on principles that defend life, the Mother Earth, and that is based on another model of social, economic, political and cultural development. That is why we are here."
-Itelvina Masioli, a Brazilian leader of the international small farmer movement, La Via Campesina, speaking on April 20, 2010, at the People's World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Ronnie Cummins is attending the summit as a representative of the OCA.  Organic Consumers Organization

Photo from the City Project at Flickr.

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