Massachusetts: Biomass vs Biosphere
A grassroots initiative by Massachusetts-based StopSpewingCarbon looks to eliminate state subsidies for energy projects that produce more than 250 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. Such a policy provision would effectively limit subsidized renewable energy projects to wind, hydro, tidal or solar.
An initiative led by Massachusetts-based StopSpewingCarbon aims to strip bioenergy and other large renewables of state subsidies.
Margaret Sheehan, chairwoman of the anti-biomass campaign argues:
It is an unacceptable threat to the public health. All subsidies for these plants should be removed.
Others opposed to the referendum contend that similarly situated coal-burning plants produce exponentially higher emissions than targeted biomass facilities. Sheehan responds to these arguments asserting a high standard for “green” subsidies:
No matter what you’re burning, if you’re emitting climate-warming chemicals then you shouldn’t be considered a renewable energy source.
The group’s Biomass Busters newsletter claims 100,000 signatures to date in anticipation of placement on the November 2010 ballot, and indicates support by the Massachusettes Medical Society, publisher of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
A recognized leader in some policy arenas, Massachusetts’ unpredictable coalitions and confusing co-dependencies in others proves entertaining if not enlightening.
For a comprehensive overview of Massachusetts energy policy, see the Department of Energy’s Climate Policy Tracking. Read more on the statewide ballot initiative and its potential effects on community clean-tech projects in the Berkshire Eagle.
Related story: Is Burning Biomass ‘Just Lipstick on a Pig?’
Image: Flickr/David Paul Ohmer