Springfield Biomass Project Denied for Undue Interference- Town Plan cited

November 11, 2013 in Community Development by Jen

After listening to much testimony and wading through thousands of pages of documents, the Hearing Officer for the proposed North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project (NSSEP) handed down his decision on Friday.  His conclusion on the large scale biomass plant: “the Project would unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region and therefore recommend that the Board not issue a certificate of public good for the Project”.

The 124 page document* cites the Springfield Town Plan, which is designed to layout the vision for the community, as a primary source for the decision. Two key areas of concern were large truck traffic and the use of existing structures. The Town Plan notes that ‘large truck access to the industrial park is a problem because of the small residential streets leading to the park. As a result, the plan states a preference for activities in the park that do not rely on large truck access” (p 23). Additionally, “the Town of Springfield Plan states the priority for growth in the industrial park is reuse of existing structures for industrial purposes” (p.23).

The conclusion reiterates these concerns. “Given the Springfield Town Plan’s stated policy favoring reuse of existing structures in the industrial park, it wouldn’t be appropriate to create the potential for additional unused structures” (p.114). Such structures would include the 140 foot high stack, ACC cooling towers, the generator, the boiler, the 50,000 gallon distillate fuel storage tank and the 15,000 gallon anhydrous ammonia storage tank.

Despite ongoing challenges posed by the North Springfield Action Group’s (NoSAG) , last week Dan Ingold, spokesperson for the NSSEP, stated at the Springfield Regional Development Corporation’s annual meeting, that he expected the project would get a favorable ruling from the Public Service Board. There is still a possibility that the Public Service Board will ignore the Hearing Officer’s decision.

North Springfield (VT) Biomass Plant decision

*Full decision pdf: Springfield Biomass PSB Hearing Officer Decision

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