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News Update 10 30 08
 

News Update 10 30 08

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In-Town Report 10-30-08

In-Town Report 10-30-08

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    News Update 10 30 08 News Update 10 30 08 Document Transcript

    • POWER PLANT INFO 10/30/08 N E W S f r o m B i l l e r i c a Po w e r P l a n t . O r g hPlease share with your friends, family, and neighbors. www.BillericaPowerPlant.org 27 October 2008 The hearings at the Energy Facilities Siting Board continued last week concerning the proposed plant in North Billerica. Consultants for the developer presented information about the proposal and responded to pointed questions from the Siting Board. Noise impacts and mitigation, and water transport were among the topics discussed. No decision has been reached by the EFSB and there may be additional hearings as the board seeks answers to its many concerns about the proposal. For those keeping track of the other power plant proposals around the state, Walpole residents learned this week that the developer of their proposed plant pulled out. Under public pressure and with an overwhelming vote by the town for a zoning bylaw change, CPV announced it would not at- tempt to “shove this project down residents’ throats”. Congratulations to Walpole and let’s hope our officials follow their good example. Click here to read the article. The proposal for the Brockton plant has also hit a snag. Brockton’s Conservation Commission has denied permits the proposed plant would need to be constructed. The proposal for the Brockton plant is currently being considered by the EFSB, similar to Billerica.Click here to read the story. At the Federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency is to decide this week whether to adopt a rule that would allow existing power plant emissions to remain at their current levels and not be re- quired to comply with stricter standards in the future. Click here to read the article. Please e-mail Representative Ed Markey and express your concerns regardless of your district. Mr. Markey is the Chair of the new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. We suggest asking him to oppose the proposed rule.
    • Politically Incorrect with Tom Christiano hosted a debate between Chelmsford State Representative Cory Atkins and Candidate Richard McClure. Both candidates expressed concern with the proposed power plant, and recognized that constituents have expressed many concerns with the proposal. Click here to view the segment. (For the whole debate Click here) For here Meetings/Events Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:00PM Billerica Conservation Commission The Billerica Conservation Commission will continue its discussion of the Notice of Intent filed by the developer and the review of the wetlands and stormwater management issues. Billerica Town Hall, 365 Boston Road, Billerica, MA Press Click on the News tab to access recent articles. **************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** Power Plant Update Proponents and Opponents Weight In Tewksbury Town Crier 10/23/2008 By Jayne W. Miller TEWKSBURY – Two groups are lobbying for support against a power plant proposed in Tewksbury's backyard, prompting deep concern about air and water quality, traffic, risks to first responders, and carbon emissions. The developer of the plant, DG CleanPower, LLC, continues to move forward with federal, state and local processes that ultimately lead to siting, permits, and eventually opening. DG CleanPower, LLC, together with Montgomery Energy Billerica Power Partners LP, proposed a 348 Megawatt quot;peakingquot; power plant for a site in North Billerica near Baker Commodities and Jack's Auto Parts, just over the Tewksbury town line. Entrance to the plant will actually be in Tewksbury. At 348 MW the plant would be the 13th largest power plant in Massachusetts. As a peaking power plant it will operate during periods of high electricity demand, typically winter cold snaps and hot summer days and on average 1,500 hours per year up to a maximum 2300 hours per year. The plant, should it pass the hurdles before it, will use natural gas to power the facility, with up to 200 hours of ultra low sulfur diesel operation during periods of peak natural gas demand. Two groups, the Billerica Watchers Group (BWG) and BillericaPowerPlant.org, were born out of opposition to the power plant proposal, and both seek the same goal, to stop the project.
    • Billerica Watchers began as a group of Billerica residents that organized early on in the process and is the only group that has legal quot;intervenerquot; status with the state Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) process. Over the course of the project thus far, BWG has added to its ranks with members from other towns, including Karyn Sliva from Tewksbury, and played a prominent role during hearings, succeeding in substantially slowing down the permitting process. Joseph Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of DG CleanPower, credits BWG with slowing down the process primarily at the state level. The EFSB process can take an indeterminate duration. The next hearing is slated for this Thursday at 10 am at EFSB offices in South Station. quot;We're going forward. We've made a couple of updates and changes, for example we've reduced emissions on the plant in response to concerns raised by BWG,quot; Fitzpatrick told the Crier, describing plans for the plant. quot;It's obviously impacted the schedule; we are certainly not ready for 2009, and now are slipping into 2010-2011 time frame.quot; Fitzpatrick says that delayed action at the state level slows things down at the local level in as much as local officials like to know what the state wants and where the state stands on the project. But he lauds the EFSB and the thoroughness in recent weeks, saying, quot;quot;I think the state is doing everything it can to make it clear that due process is a big issue with them.quot; At the last EFSB hearing the board allowed parties without intervener status, such as State Senators and Representatives and other interested parties, to speak on the record before the board. Because BWG is the only group with legal intervener status, it plans to incorporate those comments into the official record as part of its Response Brief one the EFSB makes its decision. As to delaying the process, its clear that Billerica Watchers is raising many doubts through the process. In a written statement to the Crier BWG writes, quot;It is also apparent that the EFSB is no longer considering the verbal, unsubstantiated statements from DG Power [sic] as fact… Our group's patience and diligence seem to be coming full circle as at the conclusion of the last hearing DG Power was instructed to provide proof of the assertions they were making to the EFSB relating to safety and that the Board was not interested in merely their opinion.quot; Going forward, if the EFSB approves the project, BWG wants to create a combined effort with all local boards to quot;take full advantage of the power granted to the Billerica Watchers, representing 22 interveners from Tewksbury, Billerica and Pepperell, to hold DG Power accountable for every unsubstantiated assurance they have made which are unenforceable. Our goal and the goals of all neighboring boards is to protect the quot;quality of lifequot; for all the residents of the Merrimack Valley.quot; BillericaPowerPlant.org (BPP) began as the
    • brainchild of Paige and Victor Impink, Tewksbury residents that learned about the project by accident. As residents living near the town line with Billerica, Paige often takes her children to the Billerica library and it was there she first encountered notices about the proposed power plant. Today BillericaPowerPlant.org focuses primarily on outreach and education about the project throughout communities neighboring Billerica. The group has held very well attended information sessions in Tewksbury, Wilmington, Andover, Chelmsford and Lowell, increasing resident awareness and potential impacts to each community. State and local elected officials often attend the meetings, which lately have been broadcast on community cable access channels to reach an even wider audience. Further, and perhaps even more successful, the BPP offers a subscription email service reaching a quot;very large audience, and growing.quot; Though Paige Impink declines to release the specific number of persons reached through the email, she will say that her audience is throughout the Merrimack Valley and beyond. BPP does not have intervener status and recognizes the technical and legal work the BWG is doing through the various federal, state, and local processes. quot;There's room for everybody here,quot; said Impink. quot;Everybody has the right to oppose this project, if that is their inclination, in whatever manner they see fit.quot; Moreover, Impink sees room for major reform within the siting and permitting of power plants in today's world. quot;The process is broken,quot; said Impink. quot;A power plant should not be in a densely populated area, only hundreds of feet from homes, with the developer only required to notify people in a half mile radius when the impacts go far beyond that. How is it even allowed to waste a single taxpayer dollar on the consideration of siting a power plant that close to people?quot; Impink also points out that a mere week is required from the date of notice until the date of comment is closed, and that information is only required to be posted at the local library and in the paper in that town. Impink, as a resident of Tewksbury, naturally does not read the Billerica paper. The criteria for the decision are also managed in silos so that the total impact is not measured together. Impink raised the issue of increased truck traffic in the region due to the proposed plant, an area that other local officials and town boards have expressed concern from the construction process through to day-to-day operation. While Impink cites a 500 trucks per day figure during construction, which would drop to upwards of 38 per day during operation, Fitzpatrick says that his company is on the record with no more than 20 trucks a day, maximum, and only in extreme situations of when water is scarce or if the plant has to use diesel fuel.
    • Both groups also make inherency arguments against the power plant, that the power is not needed anyway with a declining population in Massachusetts. ISO-New England, is an independent, non-profit organization that manages New England's power grid (more than 350 generating plants and more than 8,000 miles of high-voltage power lines) on a minute-by- minute basis to ensure there are enough resources to meet the demand for electricity, and that the power flows to where it is needed when it is needed. quot;It is a role somewhat like that of an air traffic controller,quot; wrote ISP New England spokesperson Marcia Blomberg in a written response to Crier questions. quot;ISO New England also plans for the region's future needs and oversees the wholesale competitive markets for electricity.quot; ISO New England expects peak demand for electricity in increase by an average annual growth rate of 1.2 percent per year between now and 2017, or just less than 400 MW per year. The forecast for average annual growth is 0.8 percent. Blomberg added that peak demand in New England typically occurs in summer during daylight hours when the weather is hot and humid. Demand for electricity continues to rise, even though the growth rate has slowed down, is driven not only by population in the six New England states, but also by increasing use of air conditioning, computers, plasma televisions, and other consumer electronics. Blomberg did not directly respond to the claim made that the Billerica Energy Center will likely run at night once every ten years or that older, dirtier plants would be taken off line when this cleaner power generating facility turned on, as ISO New England does not directly control the power plants. She did state that, quot;demand for electricity is usually highest during the day. Also, electricity cannot be stored – it must be generated in the moment it is needed.quot; Additionally, it is clear that market forces can dictate which power plants will be in demand, if newer plants can generate the power cheaper, since quot;fuel costs make up 85 percent of the wholesale cost of electricity.quot; To that end, it is interesting to note that, according to ISO New England, in May 2008, the average price of Natural Gas, the fuel proposed for the Billerica Energy Center was $11.98 per Million British Thermal units, which oil was $14.40/Mmbtu and diesel a whopping $26.80/Mmbtu. For more information check out BillericaowerPlant.org, dgcleanpower.com, and stopthebillericapowerplant.org (Billerica Watchers Group).
    • InTown News AGGREGATE applies the jake brakes to expansion project ******************************************************* Asphalt maker puts Chelmsford storage-expansion plan on hold By Rita Savard, rsavard@lowellsun.com 10/24/2008 CHELMSFORD -- A tug-of-war between Aggregate Industries Inc. and abutters over whether the asphalt manufacturer should be allowed to store more hazardous materials at its Oak Street plant has ended -- for now. Representatives for Aggregate announced late yesterday afternoon that they are withdrawing their request to increase storage because of the sputtering economy. quot;While we acknowledge that much time and effort has been exhausted throughout the ongoing public hearing and approval process, the cur - rent economic conditions have forced us to re-evaluate all active capital expenditure projects,quot; Aggregate Vice President Robert Andersson wrote in a letter to Town Manager Paul Cohen. Members of the citizens' action group CASE (Chelmsford Advocates for a Safe Environment), which has been fighting an expansion at Aggre - gate, rejoiced at the news.
    • quot;Wow! This means they won't be cranking up production and that's great,quot; said Denise Sorese, a resident of the adjacent mobile-home park. quot;But there are still concerns that need to be addressed. There is some - thing in the air. We can smell it and see it on our homes.quot; CASE, which qualified for free legal representation through the Boston- based nonprofit agency Alternatives for Community and Environment, alleges that chemicals emitting from Aggregate's smokestack have been causing illnesses, including cancer, and have been covering homes and businesses with a mysterious black soot. Aggregate say allegations made by CASE are completely false, and that there is no evidence to back up the group's claims. The Board of Selectmen required Aggregate to test the air quality near the plant's 57-foot smokestack. According to a series of tests conducted by the Canton-based CK Environmental Inc. last month, Aggregate is op - erating in compliance with state environmental laws. Overall, scientist and environmental consultant Laura Green, of Cam - bridge Environmental Inc., said the air-quality tests show Aggregate's emissions are four to five times cleaner than average for companies in its class. But CASE doesn't believe it. Sorese said the group was meeting last night to talk about hiring its own independent environmental engineer to test air quality at the plant. The Saugus-based construction-material supplier was seeking a license to install new storage tanks at the Chelmsford site, and replace the five existing tanks with seven new units. Some of the tanks hold liquid as - phalt, while others are used to store emulsion, heating oil, or refined- specification oil, which is a product derived from waste oil. The new tanks would more than double the capacity of the company's 20-year-old tank, from 70,000 gallons to 170,000 gallons. Even though Aggregate has vowed not to increase productivity, resi - dents were skeptical, saying more storage will ultimately result in more production. Aggregate Production Manager Jeff Ciampa said by replacing all of the
    • company's existing horizontal tanks with vertical storage units that use less energy and have more insulation, the Chelmsford site would have become cleaner, safer and more environmentally friendly. quot;It was a good project for the Chelmsford plant,quot; said Tim Jones, Aggre - gate's environmental permitting specialist. quot;We're not closing the door on the project forever. We will revisit it when economic conditions im - prove.quot; In April, Aggregate was fined $587,000 by the Department of Environ - mental Protection and ordered to step up compliance with environmen - tal laws to settle Clean Air Act violations alleged at 10 of its 28 facilities in Massachusetts. The alleged violations included, in 2005, burning waste oil with more sulfur than was allowed under its air-pollution-con - trol permit. Since then, the company said it has taken aggressive action to comply with all of the state's environmental requirements. The recent air-quality test at the Chelmsford plant is proof of due diligence, Ciampa has said. Cohen said selectmen most likely wouldn't have taken a vote on the issue, which was scheduled as a public hearing on Monday's meeting agenda. Town officials were still waiting on a review from the DEP re - garding emissions testing at Aggregate. quot;It didn't come as a total surprise,quot; Cohen said. quot;With the slowdown in the economy, and scaled-back funding from the state, there's not much private work going on.quot; Comments on Aggregate at October 27th Board of Selectmen’s meeting CLICK HERE for VIDEO LINK
    • Chelmsford and the 40B Law From Tom Christiano’s Politically Incorrect TV show October 28th Tom talks with “40B” consultant Fred Marcks on the current status of the law along with efforts of grass roots groups like “Slow Growth Initiative” to get support to reform or repeal 40B. Tom also talks with Mike Jennings who lives across the street from the proposed Boston Road 40B development CLICK HERE for VIDEO LIN K Watch the whole show now Playing on Channel 8 at the following times: Tues & Weds 8:30 PM; Thurs 7:00 AM; Sundays 11:00 AM OCT 28th - NOV 9th on the Politically Incorrect The following was sent out by Chelmsford’s Slow Growth Initiative in the mail last week concerning the costs of 40B projects to the town
    • How 40B Costs Chelmsford Taxpayers Chelmsford has more 40B developments than any of the 141 communities in Greater Boston Chelmsford is no more affordable now than it ever has been despite record numbers of 40B developments. Below is a calculation of the cost of 40B construction to Chelmsford taxpayers in excess of what the town collects for residential taxes and fees over a decade. Each 40B Unit Costs Taxpayers 40B Units in Chelmsford Total Cost to Chelmsford $30k-$50k $35,400,000.00 885 units X $40,000 = The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), the agency that manages 40B, is supposed to limit 40B developments to 8 units per acre. Because developers profit by regularly building at much greater densities, the DHCD just increased the density limit from 8 units to 44 units per acre! Developers will now be allowed to build projects in Chelmsford with as many as 44 units/acre and they will. In fact, predatory developers are already rushing to take advantage of the new “guidelines.” Here’s how bad it is going to get: The state is telling Chelmsford that for us to even try to become “10% affordable” according to 40B, developers will need to build in excess of 3,235 new units! There are no guarantees that by doing this that we’ll even hit 10%, just like there are no guarantees that they won’t change the rules on us again, but if we accept what they are telling us at face value, it will cost you the following: New 40B Units Planned Cost Per Unit To Taxpayers Total Cost to Chelmsford $129,400,000.00 3,235 units X $40,000 = It’s time to stop the insanity. In addition to the unsustainable costs imposed by 40B, don’t forget: Chelmsford already has many more homes than the maximum desirable build-out scenario recommended in our Master Plan. 75%-80% of each 40B project for our town consists of expensive and unnecessary market-priced housing with the bare minimum required number of affordable units. This practice virtually guarantees constant new development. Town officials must exercise every available option to protect us from these financial burdens. It is unnecessary to forfeit control over our community to the state and its friends in the development industry while allowing unnecessary growth that fuels higher taxes and burdens town services. To protect our best interest, we must require local officials to assert themselves against the state. Chelmsford taxpayers had the good sense last year to provide policy guidance to local boards via our Slow Growth Petition. Our plan demands three affordable units for every market-rate unit in 40B projects – a very sensible proposal. Unless town officials hear from more residents, they will continue to ignore us and endanger the fiscal health of Chelmsford. Call our Community Development Office right away at 978-250-5247. Demand that Chelmsford enforce normal zoning for market-priced homes and only give excess density for affordable units. If you don’t, the town will be allowing the developer of the most recent 40B project to stroll to the bank with a $7.6 Million profit at your expense.
    • TOWN HAPPENINGS! Let’s talk Turkey Second Annual Walk (and Talk) Turkey Day Before Thanksgiving Walk in Thanksgiving Forest. The Godfather of Chelmsford ;-) has quot;an offer you can't refusequot;.....He hopes to see you, and your family (including your dogs) at this special day before Thanksgiving event on Wednesday, November 26th, at 2:00 PM at the Janet Road entrance to Thanksgiving Forest in Chelmsford. A shorter walk will leave from the Gary Road entrance to the forest at 2:30 PM.
    • Guest speaker Becky Warren(Chelmsford Land Conservation Trust and Chelmsford Historical Society) will be back this year to quot;talk turkeyquot; about Thanksgiving Forest, Chelmsford's past and some of the town's little known traditions. Refreshments will be provided by Jones Farm alongside a campfire at the rock outcropping. The walk is about a mile on some fairly flat paths. Last year we had about 200 people there and they all seemed to enjoy this Holiday kickoff party. The Godfather will be there to give you his Thanksgiving quot;blessing.quot; 8-) Tom Christiano AKA:
    • D O N ’ T F O R G E T T O V OT E TUESDAY NOVEMBER 4th Like your really going to forget ;)