Thursday, March 24, 2011 • 8:58 AM Comments ()

Power Plant Meeting Today

posted by Maureen Turner

This afternoon, two City Council committees will hold a joint meeting to discuss the controversial wood-burning plant proposed for East Springfield.

The meeting of the planning and economic development and public health and safety committees will take place at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. The agenda, as set by committee chairs Tim Allen and Tommy Ashe, includes a review of an assessment of the developers’ plan prepared by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, as well as an update “on [the] entire review process including: city process, state process and Air Quality review process.”

Not on the agenda: a vote to revoke the land-use special permit granted the developers, Palmer Renewable Energy, by the City Council in 2008. Plant opponents who have been calling for the Council to revoke that permit might have had their hopes falsely raised on that front, when a notice about the meeting apparently made the rounds calling the meeting a “revocation hearing.”

Earlier this week, Bob Arieti of the City Council office sent an email to a list of recipients including reporters and community groups, noting, “ It’s been brought to my attention that the Notice of Meeting you were emailed on Friday … has been forwarded to other groups and individuals with the words ‘revocation hearing.’ Please be advised that the attached Notice of Meeting does not in any way mention or suggest that Thursday’s meeting is a revocation hearing. Thursday’s meeting is only to discuss the items listed on the agenda and ‘revocation hearing’ WILL NOT be considered under Item #4 per Co-Chairmen Councilors Allen and Ashe.”

Meanwhile, the city’s Public Health Council is considering a call from the grassroots Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield to weigh in on the proposed plant and its potential effects on the health and well-being of Springfield’s residents.

In addition, the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on the plant on Tuesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Duggan Middle School. Earlier this month, the DEP issued a draft permit for the project, and is now conducting a 30-day public comment period on the permit. That public comment period ends on April 9.

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