P O W E R P L A N T U P D AT E
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6 October 2008
An Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) hearing concerning the proposed Billerica
power plant was held on October 2nd,in Boston. Senator Tucker and Representative
Greene were in attendance, as was Representative Miceli’s Chief of Staff. All made
statements of concern. Intervenors presented their arguments, and additional par-
ties were allowed to speak. Attorney Scott Harshbarger represented the developer,
who was also there. The hearing was continued until mid-October, at which point the
proponents will present their arguments.
We’d like to thank the local delegation for their commitment to this issue. Please
consider e-mailing them with your thanks for their support. Each of their offices has
confirmed that they read every e-mail they receive, and that people should always
feel free to contact them regardless of the issue. Contact information is on the Web
site under Community Information.
Andover Informational Session
We are hosting an informational session this Thursday at 7:00PM in Andover’s Me -
morial Hall Library in Elm Square. While the direct impacts to Andover are not as
severe as those to communities nearer to the site, there will be an impact, and there
are broader implications that will be discussed. Residents from all communities are
welcome to attend.
The Chelmsford Board of Selectmen sent a strongly worded letter to the EFSB this
week. They expressed their concerns for their community and for other communities
surrounding the proposed site. Representative Tom Golden also submitted a letter
on behalf of his constituents.
In other power plant news, the proposal for the Walpole power plant popped up
again. After a short hiatus, the plant developers resurfaced last week. The develop -
ers of that plant are trying to have a parcel of land in Walpole declared protected in
order to grandfather their use before the town attempts to pass a bylaw prohibiting
developments such as fossil fuel power plants. Click here to read the article.
Thursday, October 9, 2008 7:00PM
Andover Informational Session
We will conduct a power plant informational session. Residents from Andover and
other communities are encouraged to attend. The local legislative delegation will be
represented. Memorial Hall Library, Elm Square, Andover, MA
Continuation mid-October TBD
Energy Facilities Siting Board
The EFSB will continue the October 2 meeting and hear comments from the proponents. One
South Station, Boston, MA
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
*Note date change from October 22nd.
Click on the News tab to access recent articles.
28 September 2008
The next Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) hearing about the proposed Billerica power plant will
be held on October 2nd in Boston (this was rescheduled from September 25th). Many from our
local legislative delegation will be in attendance and many have submitted statements of concern.
Senators and Representatives from Tewksbury, Chelmsford and Billerica were invited, though
Lowell’s Representative Kevin Murphy and Senator Panagiotakos were disappointingly not included.
Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi were notified of the
meeting as well. Perhaps a quick note to their offices to ask them not to support a power plant that
takes us in the wrong direction would be in order:
Senate President: Therese.Murray@state.ma.us
House Speaker: Rep.SalvatoreDiMasi@hou.state.ma.us
The Tewksbury Board of Selectmen sent a very strongly worded letter to the EFSB this week ex-
pressing their concerns for their community and those surrounding the proposed site. The letter was
signed by the Town Manager and all members of the Board of Selectmen, Board of Health, the Plan-
ning Board, and the School Committee (less one member). We applaud their vocal position and
commitment to their residents, and encourage other neighboring communities to do the same, even if
previous letters have already been sent.
Chelmsford State Representative and State Senatorial candidates will be debating on October 16 at
the Chelmsford Police Station, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Fargo/Martinez,
Atkins/McClure & Arciero/Avella have been invited. The debate will be televised. If you have sug-
gested questions regarding a candidate’s stand on the power plant, please send them to info@Bil-
lericaPowerPlant.org and we will forward them to the screening people.
Candidate Jim Arciero of Westford, vying for Representative Geoff Hall’s seat, which includes
Chelmsford, was interviewed by Lynne Lupien on WUML’s Thinking Out Loud this week. When
asked about the proposed Billerica power plant he stated, “I am adamantly opposed to it. It’s an eco-
nomic and an environmental loser for our region.” You can hear the interview by clicking here
(note that it takes a moment to load).
A Billerica resident is collecting signatures for a town warrant article which has been drafted that
would create a new by-law requiring oversight and collaboration by various governing and permitting
entities within Billerica including the town manager, the police and fire departments, and the towns’
boards and commissions in the permitting process of any electric generating power plant facility in
the town of Billerica, as well as during the construction, operation and maintenance of the same.
The warrant also requires that at least one of the entities of local authority evaluate 17 different spe-
cific criteria - one of those being the impacts to surrounding communities.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to help collect signatures of registered voters in Bil-
lerica, or to learn the dates and times of signature collection.
Aggregate study does not allay neighbors' concerns
By David Golann/Correspondent
Wed Oct 01, 2008, 10:43 AM EDT
New emissions tests, medical data and expert opinion didn’t satisfy residents who
turned out Monday night for another Aggregate Industries hearing.
“It all seems very professionally done,” said resident Matthew Cilento. “But when you
look at it closely it's a farce.”
Aggregate is seeking permission from the Board of Selectmen to roughly double the
capacity of asphalt and fuel tanks at its Littleton Road asphalt plant. The board has
held a series of hearings on the expansion, allowing a contingent of residents to voice
their suspicions about plant pollution and cancer.
On Monday night, Aggregate presented the results of a selectmen-ordered smoke-
stack test, demonstrating that its emissions were well below state mandated levels.
One by one, citizens took to the podium and assaulted the test’s results, arguing that
Aggregate paid for the procedure and might have influenced the outcome.
“They go into this saying the test was performed to demonstrate compliance, so they
went into this saying they need to make them pass,” said Littleton Road resident John
Wojcik, pointing to the study's written introduction. “These are the very first words out
of their mouths. You don’t have an independent study start out by saying that.”
To defend the report, Aggregate brought out its star witness: Toxicologist Laura Green
of Cambridge Environmental, an environmental consulting firm.
“Guys who test for a living are not English majors. A lot of the writing was not very well
done because that is not what they do,” said Green. “There were some mathematical
corrections too, which is normal.”
Green pointed out that the testing specialist, Dennis Roy, has an excellent reputation
in the region and was not hired directly by Aggregate. She discounted residents’ con-
cerns about periodic interruptions in the test, claiming that Roy waited to measure
stack emissions during periods of high asphalt production when the results would be
Green said emissions from the smokestacks disperse over the entire region, so they
could not be collecting in the neighborhood around the plant. She attributed the much-
discussed soot on houses and cars in the area to diesel emissions from the large fleet
of visiting asphalt trucks.
Nonetheless, she could not determine the soot’s origin conclusively.
“Everything that is black and associated with petroleum derived materials is exactly
the same and you would get exactly the same sort of elemental analysis,” said Green.
“Even if you wanted to test it you couldn't. There is just no fingerprint.”
Residents continued to present anecdotal evidence of high cancer, asthma and autism
rates in the area, but new state health data showed no difference between Chelms-
ford’s cancer profile and that of other towns. However, the selectmen are still waiting
for health data specific to the neighborhood near the plant and information on some
diseases, like asthma, is not available.
With fears over cancer and other medical conditions beginning to fade, the selectmen
focused on issues like the noise and soot caused by the plant’s heavy truck traffic. Ag-
gregate representatives claimed once again that larger asphalt tanks would cut the
amount of time trucks spent waiting to fill up, increasing safety and reducing diesel
The selectmen continued to voice suspicions that increased asphalt storage capacity
would lead inevitably to more asphalt production and more asphalt truck traffic. The
plant is now operating at roughly two-thirds of its legal capacity and production has
varied from year to year with changes in demand.
“There is no truck counting,” said Selectman Claire Jeannotte, taking issue with Aggre-
gate’s incomplete information on truck traffic in previous years. “It has been six weeks
since we asked for this data I thought it would be based on something other than a
formula I could have done myself.”
“Here’s the real issue,” said Board of Selectman Chairman Philip Eliopoulos. “Do you
allow extra silos which you know are going to increase the number of trucks if you can
decline the number of trucks idling on the site. Where is the trade off? That is what I
Aggregate continues to concern residents
By Rita Savard, email@example.com
Article Last Updated: 09/30/2008
CHELMSFORD -- The proof is written in the soot on their walls.
Even after air-quality tests came back in favor of asphalt manufacturer Aggregate Inc.,
dozens of residents lining up to speak to selectmen last night argued that fumes and
dust blowing over from the plant at 16 Oak St., have changed their quality of life.
quot;How can we trust (Aggregate)?quot; asked resident Denise Sorese. quot;They've lied to us
After reaching a pollution settlement with the state, Saugus-based Aggregate has
been trying to obtain permission from town officials to upgrade its Chelmsford plant.
Last night marked another round in an ongoing public hearing that began in June.
Selectmen will ultimately have to decide on whether to allow Aggregate to increase its
number of above-ground tanks storing liquid asphalt and waste oil from five to seven.
But residents say more storage capacity will mean increased production at the
Chelmsford plant, which was slapped with a hefty fine by the Department of Environ-
mental Protection in 2005 for exceeding the state's safety limits on emissions.
According to a series of tests conducted by the Canton-based CK Environmental Inc.,
Aggregate is operating in compliance with state environmental laws. Three one-hour
tests were performed on the plant's 57-foot smokestack on Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.
But selectmen said they still have to comb through reports from the state Department
of Public Health, which arrived yesterday afternoon.
Many residents allege fumes from Aggregate have been causing illnesses, including
Chelmsford Health Director Richard Day said some of the state's data did show higher
levels of pediatric asthma at the nearby Byam School from 2004 to 2005, the same
time that Aggregate was operating at its highest production -- about 750,000 tons of
Overall, scientist and environmental consultant Laura Green, of Cambridge Environ-
mental, said state public-health records show that cancer reports in Chelmsford are
not out of the ordinary, meeting the state average, which is about 200 cases reported
per community each year.
Green also said the air-quality tests show Aggregate's emissions are four to five times
cleaner than average for companies in its class.
But selectmen and Town Manager Paul Cohen interrogated company representatives
when learning that Aggregate wanted to amp up its production from 360 tons of prod-
uct per hour to 500.
Cohen wondered how the company planned to be quot;truck neutral if it increased its pro-
Aggregate Production Manager Jeff Ciampa said that by replacing the company's ex-
isting horizontal tanks with vertical storage units that use less energy and have more
insulation, the Chelmsford site will become cleaner, safer and more environmentally
But many residents say the mysterious soot is still evidence that the asphalt manufac-
turer poses a problem for neighboring homes and businesses.
While Green said the soot cannot be traced to Aggregate, Chelmsford resident Rachel
Harvey said that didn't stop the town of Ashland from fining the company after the
town discovered its state park was coated with a black dust.
Selectmen said they will need more time to look over health and environmental reports
before voting. They will resume the issue at their next meeting on Oct. 27.
Begin forwarded message:
From: John Wojcik <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 5, 2008 8:50:16 PM EDT
Subject: Sunday work schedule / dust issues
Good evening everyone,
Sorry for the mass e-mail, however I was wondering if anyone can tell me if Aggregate is open for
business this evening?
I am out in the yard doing some work in the dark and have had multiple paving trucks bombing up
and down the road the past hour.
If anyone sees or hears production going on over there, I would sure be interested in hearing back
from you. I would take a quick trip up the street myself, however I am unable to do so at this time.
Also, for everyone and anyone who is interested in the question of dust, dirt, and airborne particles.
I have noticed in the past two days ( noticed because I am paying a bit more attention to the details
these days ) while driving past the Aggregate site on Littleton Road, there is quite a bit of dust and
grime built up on the road surface leading in to and out of Oak Street.
This is something so very easy to see and stretches just about up to the body shop building and the
I would think this would answer one of the questions about some of the pollutants in the air, not to
mention the road.
The road surface is a mess. So much for watering down the situation. ( literally ) Sounds like water-
ing down the road works a bit until the water dries up.
Take a look if you are in the neighborhood, let me know what you see.
( more trucks going by the house )
I would like to just add a plain and simple statement before I sign off;
More capacity will lead to more trucks, more trucks will lead to more traffic and pollution along their
entire traveled route. More stacks will lead to more issues that we perhaps can not even foresee at
this point in time.
This is not good for this town.
It is proven the Town of Chelmsford does not have the capabilities either now or in the future to
police infractions related directly or indirectly to the Aggregate facility. Perhaps major infractions will
get some notice if we report them, however smaller onesie twosie infractions will just make us sound
like nit picky residents, soon to be labeled as the quot;boy who cried wolfquot;
Sunshine paving used Littleton Road as their own private race track on Friday. 75% of the trucks
Friday were sunshine paving trucks and most if not all of them were far exceeding the speed limit.
Did anyone else happen to take notice of this?
I was going to call and ask for an officer to do a quick radar trap, however trucks have radio's and as
soon as the first truck saw the officer .....I guess we all know what happens after that now, everyone
slows down till he leaves.
What will happen once the bike path is in full operation.
Will we have the capabilities of policing that along with answering all the complaints about Aggre-
How about including future traffic issues on Chelmsford street in the summer months if Aggregate is
allowed ( more trucks going by the house ) to expand and there is a new coffee shop and retail store
in full bloom at the Skips old location causing congestion in town? Now we have trucks stacking up
in the center of town.
Has anyone given ths scenario any thought?
Like I said this past Monday evening at the Selectmens meeting, perhaps Aggregate should come
back in five years and apply for the expansion at that time.
Lets figure out exactly where this town is headding before we cut off the blood supply by polluting
and grid locking the town to death.
Have a good night everyone.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Jim Pinder <email@example.com>
Date: October 6, 2008 12:49:24 AM EDT
Subject: Re: Sunday work schedule / dust issues
I am less than a mile from the Aggregate operation and a little after 10:00 PM, while out walking the
dogs, I noticed the typical aspahalt stench so I am not surprised you saw some steam coming from
By the way, wasn't that doctor at the last BOS meeting convincing... she had very strong opinions but
a couple of additonal facts are:
1) she was being paid by Aggregate to give such quot;professionalquot; opinions
2) she dosen't live anywhere near the Aggregate plant
Also, I thought Clare Jeanotte's questionoing of the Aggregate chief was terriffic!!! She exposed
that company and its management for what it really is... untrustworthy, deceiving, and dangerous to
us! With all the rigorous questioning, she exposed their approach to increasing production. That
was great work!
Begin forwarded message:
From: John Wojcik <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 6, 2008 11:17:37 AM EDT
Subject: quot;For the recordquot; / Dr Green Monday morning dust issues
Good morning all,
Just a follow up on the dust conditions at Oak Street.
I took a drive back up to Oak Street today at 7:30am and again at 8:30am.
Each time as I approached Oak st. you could see the dust being kicked up off the road from passing
cars and trucks.
For anyone at the BOS meeting who had doubts, whether a resident or a board member, I would say
to them to please take a moment out of their morning to drive past Aggregate Industries and see for
themselves what some of the dust/pollution is all about.
Can someone on the BOS please answer this question in regards to Dr. Green and her testimony?
She responded to my questions about the verbiage in the CK Environmental introduction statement,
specifically the quot;voluntarily performed to demonstrate that the plant quot;ISquot; operating at or below emis-
sion limits, and stated that the people writing this report are not English majors and they just wrote it
Shouldn't we be looking for a report that comes from an industry professional and not a company
who hires uneducated people to represent the views and statements of the company they work for?
I thought there were some inconsistencies with data taking also, do we assume the data takers are
not trained for this task either?
How professional and accurate was this test?
How is it that Dr. Green can make the following statements;
She answered a question asked to her by Phil E. about whether or not the information was manipu-
lated in any way.
HOW is she qualified to respond to this question, she didn't take data and she didn't write the report,
she wasn't on hand for the test, so how can she make a statement about whether or not the data
I would like to ask to have the following put quot;on the recordquot; and perhaps the previous manipulation
CK Environmental did not conduct the test in accordance to what should have been done to properly
and accurately gather the requested data.
The three tests should have been done in consecutive order, possibly without breaks in between and
certainly without breaks during the test.
Test number three should have been immediately after test number two, not a day later.
It is suspect that the testing was started and stopped to prevent the numbers from going over the
permitted limits. If you read the data shown in the handwritten portion of their report, you will see that
the numbers increase as the time interval gets closer to the one hour cut off.
By Jeff Champas own admission it only takes five minutes to clear out a silo, why did they have to
stop the test for such a long period of time, remember now, they told us in the report this was due to
material backing up in the silo. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the next incremental read-
ing, seeing how they are taken in five minute intervals????
Where in the report is the test data for the waste oil that was burned during the test???? I can not
find any data which pertains to this.
Is it possible CK Environmental conducted the stack test without testing the fuel source and simply
taking Aggregates word for the fuel source, this really needs to be proven and not assumed for the
test to be legitimate?
Also, on the record please, Jeff Champa was asked Monday night by a resident if the trucks driving
in and out belonged to Aggregate. He stated they were not Aggregates trucks, however by one of his
previous statements Aggregate contracts out for deliveries of materials ( therefore Aggregates re-
sponsibility ) and sometimes contracts out for road work projects.
So, some of these trucks do belong to Aggregate. Jeff's reply to the resident was somewhat false
and very misleading to the public.
This is for Claire.
Claire, you made statement about a 3000 gal fuel license in responding to one of my questions
about the plant being grandfathered.
Can you please let me know where you got this information from.
I would like to determine the date this license was issued.
I have been unable to find any information in regards to a licensed asphalt plant at the current Oak
street site prior to the 1970's.
As a reminder to all of us, the area surrounding Oak st. has alway had a residential neighborhood
surrounding the area.
Bill Dalton made the statement to us all Monday night that back in the early days of the plant there
were no residents in the area.
First, how about the Garrison House? Hasn't that been there for hundreds of years? My house has
been here on 110 for over 130 years along with %50 of my neighboring houses.
The Chelmford Drive In was there through the late 60's to the 80's
I think we can easily prove there was quite a bit of residential presense prior to the 70's, or prior to
any type of business that dealt with paving or asphalt production.
Thank you all,
Looking forward to answers for any or all the above.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Debbie Dery <email@example.com>
Date: October 6, 2008 4:57:12 AM EDT
Subject: RE: Sunday work schedule / dust issues
I was unable to attend the last BOS meeting but I did watch it. There is no doubt in my mind that they
are not planning on expanding their operations. What was interesting is that the mention of the ex-
pansion of route 495 to five lanes of traffic. I shudder at the thought of how many more trucks will be
barreling down 110 and the pollution that the residents will have to endure.
The courts closing the Boston plant only leads me to believe that the fines that they must pay has to
come from somewhere. The increase of asthma in the Merrimack Valley is related to traffic. The
noise and pollutants with the expansion of 495 should not be taken lightly.
The noise echoes and is constant day and night. I thought they reassured the board that they would
use additives so there would not be any more obnoxious smells, am I right? Are they allowed to op-
erate the plant on Sunday's? We do not have the man force to constantly monitor the plant. The
proven track record of this company leads me to believe they do not operate with integrity and to
allow them to expand in an area that is becoming primarily residential should not be taken lightly.
The ideal situation would have them building a new plant closer to the highways which would not
only curb the traffic on 110 but also reassure the residents of this direct location of not having to
breathe the pollutants from the plant nor the diesel fumes from the trucks on a daily basis. It would
be easier at this point not to allow them to expand their storage and monitor the trucks which by law
should not be idling, than to increase the size of their storage facilities which will lead to future pro-
duction of the plant that we really can not monitor.
The town needs revenue but at what price are we willing to sacrifice the safety of it's residents? The
BOS have taken this matter seriously and their decision is going to affect the residents for genera-
tions to come.
The mention of the development of the former Skip's property brings to mind what I observed two
weeks ago. I was on Chelmsford Street passing Dunkin Donuts at 6:00 in the morning when the traf-
fic on Chelmsford Street seemed to come to a standstill. There was a large truck parked on Chelms-
ford Street with cars backing up trying to make the left hand turn. I don't usually go out this time of
the morning but needed to go to the Laundromat. On my return trip at 8:15 once again the road was
at a standstill with the drive thru traffic this time blocking the road, stopping all traffic in either lanes
from proceeding. Once again there was a large tracker trailer truck obstructing the view parked just
before the entrance. I wish I would have had a camera because the thought of another drive-thru
across the street which will not allow trucks to proceed to enter a drive-thru has me more concerned
now then when this plan passed. The plan of expanding business within our town needs to be looked
at for the long term and not at short term gains. Our bylaws were put in place for a reason and we
rely on the boards in town to due their due diligence to protect our interests but sometimes it is for-
gotten that the residents didn't want to live in a city but a town to call home.