Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jose Tosado: one more councilor opposed to the biomass incinerator

On Monday night, at Springfield City Council, Palmer Renewable Energy proponents will appear before the council to answer questions about whether or not their plant should go forward.  Those of us who've been working so hard to stop this plant from being built and polluting our air have lots of reasons why the plant is bad for Springfield, but Springfield city councilors will only be able to legally challenge PRE's project based on difference between their original permit, granted by the council in 2008, and their new proposal for what developers want to build now.  The council won't be able to take a vote to revoke the original permit on Monday, because PRE did not receive a full 14 days notice of the hearing.  Still, it's a big step in the right direction.  Whether we currently have a two-thirds majority of councilors in opposition is still not clear-- but hey, we're not done trying. 

Yesterday I received an advance copy of the following letter from City Council President Jose Tosado, who has been noncommittal about the plant until this point .  Mark down one more for being on the side of the residents of Springfield.
On Monday December 13 at 8 o'clock in the evenning the Springfield City Council will conduct a special meeting with representatives of  Palmer Renewable Energy.  The meeting will follow a hearings format where proponents and opponents will be allowed a set amount of time to speak.
When I voted for this project over a year ago it was based on the information available at that time which seemed like an environmentally friendly recycleing plant; however as time has passed there is much more information available and we have been provided with a mountain of information from citizens and public health officials about the negative impact that a bio mass plant located in a densely populated neighborhood would have on the health and quality of life for our residents. Springfield residents and our children in particular already live with their fair share of airborn pollutants.  A new biomass plant with ffity five schools within a five mile radius will exacerbate already unacceptable health disparities.
Beyond the public health impacts, research shows that prenatal and early childhood exposure to airborne pollutants has an impact on brain development, student achievement, attendance and other factors that predict the overall success off the next generation of Springfield residents.  Given our current education challenges, can we really afford to further stack the deck against our future generation of students?
I am grateful that our residents, community groups, regional health and environmental organizations as well as our Public Health Commission have mobilized to make sure that we have all the facts.
Over the course of the past several months I have had an opportunity to hear directly from opponents of this plant as well as from officials of Palmer Renewable Energy and based on all the information which I have recieved and reviewed, in good conscious I could not and cannot support this project.
Jose F. Tosado, President
Springfield City Council
Photo of Jose Tosado and E. Henry Twiggs, City Council Vice President, from Jose's website. 

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