POWER PLANT INFO
We acknowledge, but do not generally accept the po-
April 2008 - Power Plant Forum
sition of DG CLEAN POWER LLC that the Energy
Billerica Town Hall
Center will not greatly compromise the quality of air.
We are greatly concerned with the impact of any re-
Residents from Billerica, Chelmsford, Lowell sulting increase in the discharge of “fine particulate
and several other communities took the matter” and other pollutants into the air during the
operation of the Energy Center.
podium to voice concerns and questions on
the gas-fired power plant being proposed by
While the projected concentrations are below the
DG Clean Power.
current standards, even a limited examination of
recent asthma related studies and documentation re-
veals a marked increase in asthma and asthma re-
Nora Fiore of Billerica brought her son lated deaths over the last decade or more.
Nicholas to the microphone and asked the en-
vironmental engineers if they could tell them This is generally attributed to the increased dis-
charge of fine particulate matter into the environ-
that their asthma wasn’t going to get worse if
ment. Dr. Ernest Wu, one of the members of our
the plant was built.
board is a pediatrician and has personal knowledge
Dr. Jack Spengler(Environmental Health and
of this increase in asthma among children over the
Engineering) told her he could not say it last ten to fifteen years.
Increased fine particle matter has also, according to
the Environmental Protection Agency, been demon-
strated to make lakes an streams acidic, deplete nu-
Rui Vieira, a Billerica resident, also has a child
trients in soil, and generally and adversely affect the
with asthma, and asked with the potential to in-
diversity of ecosystems. Examining the immediate
crease the carbon dioxide in the air, would it
geographical areas surrounding the proposed
result in more trips to the emergency room. Energy Center, the possibility of such contamination
“With the air quality we have now, you tell me cannot be ignored.
we’re putting in a plant that will double the pol- Peter Dulchinos
lution?” asked Vierra. “You say the effects are Chairman -Chelmsford Board of Health
minimal. We need a risk assessment.” 3/31/08
Foremost, I find that this power plant would have significant negative environmental impacts to our community. No
one can dispute that the technology still does not exist to make power plants environmentally friendly and safe.
That being said, it is my understanding that the power generated by this particular power plant will not even benefit
this region. In fact, it has been suggested that the power generated by this facility would be directed to another
state. If this is the case, why would we in this region bear the risks associated with this plant without receiving any
of the benefits of the production? Let it be built in the region in which it is going to be supplying its power. It is
completely unreasonable to ask our community to bear the risk of proximity to this facility without an assurance
that they will benefit directly and substantially from the plant’s production.
There have also been questions raised concerning the amount of harmful emissions from the plant’s smokestacks.
With the plan being the being operational 2300 hours per year with an allowance for 200 hours of operation on
diesel fuel, this raises serious questions as to the impact on our air quality. Many in the community are afflicted
with ailments that are exacerbated by any decrease in air quality, and area residents deserve independent valida-
tion that they will not be adversely affected if this plant is ultimately operating in its proposed location.
Philip M. Eliopoulos
Chelmsford Board of Selectmen
February 13, 2008
N E W S U P DAT E S F R O M
B I L L E R I C A P OW E R P L A N T. O R G
Please share with your friends, family, and neighbors.
The Massachusetts legislature continued its trend of voting against amendments intended to protect con-
stituents from the effects of fossil fuel burning facilities. An amendment from Senator Timilty of Walpole,
which was similar to Representative Miceli’s amendment for our area, was voted down.
This legislative session is now over. Efforts will begin again when the session re-opens. Send Senate
President Therese Murray an e-mail ( Therese.Murray@state.ma.us ) expressing your thoughts on the legis-
lature’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of the residents of the Commonwealth, consistent with
the vision that the Governor and his administration have laid out.
The Air Quality and Health Evaluation prepared by EH&E (Environmental Health and Engineering), the firm
hired by Billerica to assess the health and safety impacts of the proposed plant, reveals many concerns
with the proposal. An article in the Billerica Minuteman highlights some of these concerns.
Hearings at the EFSB(Energy Facilities Siting Board) have been re-opened; the first session begins on
Wednesday, July 9th at 10:00AM at One South Station, Boston. These hearings are open to the public.
Interestingly, Montgomery Energy, the financial entity behind the proposed plant, has engaged the services
of Scott Harshbarger, former MA Attorney General, for representation at the EFSB. This a curious move
for Mr. Harshbarger given his chairmanship of the pro bono practice at Proskauer Rose and his previous
record of public defense.
Developer seeks variance for Billerica power plant
By Jennifer Myers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Last Updated: 07/08/2008
BILLERICA -- The Board of Health is taking its time in reviewing plans for the proposed Billerica Energy
a 348-megawatt natural gas-fired peaking power plant proposed for North Billerica.
The proponent, DG Clean Power LLC, has filed its notice of intent, with the Board of Health, Conservation
Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board, to begin the local permitting phase of the project.
The developers are requesting a variance from the Board of Health for work to be done within the flood
Health Director Rich Berube said the board is awaiting a report from their consulting engineer, Mike
Schrader from Woodward & Curran before proceeding.
quot;There are a lot of issues here,quot; Berube said. quot;We are going to proceed very carefully to make sure we are
covering all of the bases.
There is a lot of material to go through and we don't want to rush anything.quot; Berube added that he is not
sure of the timeline,
but that when a hearing on the project is scheduled it will be the only item on the board's agenda and it will
be held in the Town Hall auditorium.
The Conservation Commission is expected to discuss the notice of intent on July 16, and a preliminary
meeting with the Planning Board is scheduled for July 28.
L etter to the Editor
Power plant should not be built in Billerica
The Lowell Sun
Article Last Updated: 07/03/2008
In response to Mr. Perron's letter to the editor, I'd like to clarify some of his statements.
I've lived in Billerica for over 40 years and am one-third of a mile from this proposed power
plant. The fact is, we've paid competitive prices for our homes, and they were not less expensive
because of the area. We've been here long before this power-plant proposal and considered
commercial property in this area, but not in the realm of heavy industrial such as a power plant.
What opportunities and future does a polluting power plant bring to Billerica? Who would want to
move here in this unhealthy environment? There will be no employment from this project, as it is
to be unmanned. The future is to conserve, use green energy and not pollute.
Has Mr. Perron looked into the fact that ISO (Independent System Operators) of New England
has stated we have enough power through 2008 and beyond? Does he realize there are 12,000
MW of power waiting to be put on the grid from Quebec Hydro? This type of energy is clean; no
pollutants, no emissions, no harmful toxins going into the atmosphere. There is no carbon diox -
ide being emitted; but Dr. Spengler, a consultant hired by DG Clean Power, states the CO2 emis -
sions will double if this power plant is permitted.
Mr. Perron also states quot;our children will need this power.quot; Our children don't need this power, but
they do need a healthy neighborhood and community to live and play in. Is it worth the risk to
them, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems in Billerica and the Merrimack Valley
area? My neighbor has pulmonary fibrosis, and breathing in CO2 is a death sentence for her.
Has Mr. Perron had documentation we will really be getting $1.5 million in tax revenue? Those
are numbers tossed around by DG Clean Power to quot;tweakquot; our town officials into believing it will
DG Clean Power is requesting 2,300 hours of operation per year that quot;generatesquot; more than
electricity ... a financial profit in the vicinity of $80 million a year!
The fact is that Billerica is in a Stage II mandatory water ban. Why is it even being considered to
allow DG Clean Power 40 million gallons per year of our town allotment of water to use for this
project? Without that amount being used, the town will exceed our permit use by 2011.
I don't know where Mr. Perron looked for his facts, because recent articles in The Sun (March
26-27) stated a positive opinion. That's all it is -- opinions, not facts!
And yes, the Billerica Mall does need upgrading, but nothing as massive as a Home Depot in the
center of our quot;Yankee Doodlequot; town.
DONALD J. GADBOIS
I N T OW N N E W S :
Aggregate plan still concerns residents
By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer
Tue Jul 01, 2008
The Board of Selectmen continued its public hearing on Aggregate Industries’ request to in-
crease its fuel storage capacity at its Littleton Road site and heard again from residents who
are determined to stop the plan.
“We are custodians of the town,” said Littleton Road resident Tom Fall. “Are we going to
leave a town that’s great for making asphalt or a town for raising families?”
As they have done at the previous sessions, residents urged the selectmen to consider what
impact the plant’s changes could have on the health of its neighbors.
Although they cannot prove a link between the smoke that emits from the plant’s chimneys
and the number of people with cancer who live in the mobile home park across the street,
residents believe expanded fuel capacity means more production and more pollutants in the
Officials from Aggregate stressed they would agree to a volunteer production cap and limit
its capacity to what is currently allowed. Any changes to production output would require
Aggregate to return to the selectmen for approval.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Phil Eliopoulos told the packed meeting room board mem-
bers will be meeting with officials from the Department of Environmental Protection to
review the documents Aggregate has provided in its application.
“Our goal is to use the application on the tanks to make things better,” said Eliopoulos.
Even if the plant adheres to DEP standards, residents who live closest to the facility say
they are tired of the odors which come from the plant, truck traffic along Littleton Road and
the ever-present black soot that seems to rain down on their cars and homes each night.
“A couple of weeks ago the smell was so bad I had to get in my car and get out of where I
live,” said Littleton Road resident Brian McKenney. “These people are entitled to make a
buck, but I don’t want to live like that.”
Eliopoulos said if the board agrees to the changes, it would make sure Aggregate does a
few things to appease its neighbors.
He said the company should set up a telephone hotline so residents who have concerns can
lodge complaints with the facility.
And, although not enforceable, the board would ask a sign be placed at the plant directing
trucks to take a right onto Littleton Road to get to Interstate 495 through Westford.
The board could also require the company to add a masking agent to its product to elimi-
nate the odors, said Eliopoulos.
Some residents didn’t believe cosmetic changes addressed their issues.
“We’ll be smelling roses but are we still going to get cancer? Is it still going to leave black
(soot) on our windows?” asked Littleton Road resident John Wojcik. “I want something safe
in the air.”
The board continued the public hearing on the plan until July 21.
Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at email@example.com
From March 2008
Energy Security and the Billerica Power Plant
By Fred Marcks
Much attention has been given to energy security and terrorism, especially recently in
light of the proposed Billerica Power Plant. Unfortunately, many people misinterpret
legitimate security assessments as examples of exaggerated threats popularized by
the politics of the post-September 11 United States. I write this article in the hopes of
bringing the conversation back to a productive level with objective descriptions, facts
and simple common sense.
First, it is important to note that terrorists aren't the only ones who can terrorize.
Threats against the energy sector are diverse and include energy company employ-
ees, disenchanted residents and environmental fanatics. Energy security experts
agree that four fundamental justifications motivate threats against energy infrastruc-
ture. First, to cause damage to an important element of our economy; Second, dis-
gruntled employees or disenchanted citizens seek retaliation or quot;to settle a scorequot;
over a specific demand, issue or general or personal grievance; Third, a desire to
cause a company or government to seem incapable of protecting resources and citi-
zens; and Fourth, a fundamental desire to spread panic by exploiting infrastructure
vulnerabilities that impact daily life. People, however, are not the only ones that create
tragedy, as was demonstrated by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. Katrina
wreaked havoc on gas/oil refineries and pipelines with costly spillover effects in the
regional and national economy. Lastly, a future characterized by energy volatility, re-
source shortages and conflict virtually guarantees consistent threats to our energy
One of the most significant and relevant security threats is the vulnerability of energy
companies' information technology systems. I have elected not to describe in detail
the name or operational capacity of this system for security reasons, but consistent
industry evidence indicates continued vulnerability. For example, in June 2001, the US
National Petroleum Council produced a report, quot;Securing Oil and Natural Gas Infra-
structure in the New Economy,quot; that concluded that the biggest threat to the energy
industry was posed by telecommunications and an over-dependence on information
technology. Particularly concerning is the ease by which vendors and others outside
of energy companies have access to these systems. The report concluded: quot;Cyber-
terrorism could shut down the oil industry, as well as many other business sectors,
and that can put you out of business. These are vulnerabilities that the industry
needs to address.quot;
How is this relevant to the Billerica Power Plant? Like other company managers, pro-
ponents of the Billerica plant have opted for cost-effective “virtual staffing” via online
monitoring. It is the vast use of remotely operated systems that makes these entities
so vulnerable, because these systems control flow of fuels, emissions, turbines,
chemical storage and pipelines. The energy industry has avoided changes to remote
systems as they have helped companies achieved greater efficiencies and higher
profits by having off-site computer monitoring instead of technical staff on location.
To make matters worse, it is not uncommon for these operating systems to be linked
into financial systems, fuel suppliers and transportation vendors. This online linkage
may generate cost savings for the company; however, it also makes these systems
the weakest link in the cyber-chain. Energy companies have long detected attempts
by hackers to break into their operations through these systems. Just because no
major disaster has occurred does not mean that they cannot or will not happen.
In 2001, police in the Midwest stopped six men who were exploring energy facility lo-
cations and had in their possession photographs and details of a major pipeline
system. In an actual incident that same year, a gunshot caused more than 6,800 bar-
rels of crude oil to spill from a major pipeline into the surrounding environment. As a
result, the system was shut-down for three and a half days, causing widespread dis-
tribution interruptions and increases in the cost of oil. The FBI has issued several
warnings about attacks on natural gas pipelines and gas facilities.
Confirming that people with sinister goals are actively targeting the energy industry's
computer systems, the New York Times reported: quot;computers that control the electric
power system around the nation have been probed from the Middle East, and terror-
ists may have inspected the physical equipment.quot; The Times noted that while nuclear
power plants are perhaps the most attractive targets, power plants and pipelines were
not far behind. The reality is that federal officials continue to urge energy companies
that generate, transmit and distribute electricity to take steps to increase security.
In light of these concerns, managers of energy power plants need to conduct detailed
risk assessments to identify and prioritize potential vulnerabilities. According to the
proponents of the Billerica Power Plant, no risks exist and they have informed resi-
dents and officials that no negative results could occur in case of an accident, act of
sabotage or act of vandalism. Having a high-handed attitude towards the safety and
well-being of residents and the environment is wrong. Marketing and public-relations
efforts have no place in responsible security management discussions. Risk assess-
ments identify potential risks, establish risk boundaries, evaluate ramifications and
create prevention plans. None of this has been done to satisfy the many security and
environmental concerns raised by opponents of the Billerica project. Instead, propo-
nents of the facility committed to “briefing public-safety personnel about our plans,”
which include a worst-case scenario that identifies “no risks.”
Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 7 and the Homeland Security Act of
2002 identified seventeen critical infrastructure and key resource sectors that require
protective actions for a terrorist attack or other hazards. Those sectors included:
energy; public health; water; information technology; industrial facilities with chemi-
cals and pipeline systems. The Billerica Power Plant represents each of these sectors.
What is important to question is why the project was proposed the way it was. The ve-
racity to the claim that “we need more power” is questionable. Massachusetts has a
stable (or declining) population and has witnessed significant improvements in con-
servation. The Merrimack Valley was witnessed 0.04% population growth since 2000.
The only organizations lobbying for more growth is the energy industry and the
energy management company that has a financial interest in increasing production.
Despite the fact that more environmentally friendly technology exists to meet the
demand of increased energy consumption, the proposed Billerica “peaking plant” fa-
cility is among the least efficient and most polluting options available. Because peak-
ing plants are run at inconsistent times, developers do not build them to make them
as efficient as a base load power plant. In addition, more efficient equipment and
fuels cannot be used in peaking plants because fluctuating conditions can strain the
equipment. Peaking power plants are typically twice as polluting as base load plants
that run constantly and owners of peaking plants often request permission to run the
facilities far in excess of their original permit, generating increased and unanticipated
emissions. Nitrogen Oxide emissions can be substantial from peaking plants; other
pollutants emitted include carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic com-
pounds and sulfur dioxide.
While some residents are satisfied that the facility will generate electricity by burning
natural gas instead of coal, the fact remains that creating electricity by burning fossil-
fuels is the wrong direction for Massachusetts. Because natural gas is increasingly
used, it has become more expensive and additional imports have been sought. Natu-
ral gas imports into the US are expected to grow by at least 8.2% a year over the
coming decade. This highly volatile fuel source virtually guarantees that electricity
costs will increase exponentially, adding further burdens to already struggling resi-
dents saddled with rising costs of living. From a security standpoint, in an era of in-
creased terrorism, creating more opportunities for terrorists to strike our vulnerable
energy infrastructure, especially when they are located near residential neighbor-
hoods is a mistake we cannot afford. As we enter an era of limited resources and
energy volatility, the archaic and flawed North East Grid, the system that provides our
electricity, is in dire need of modernization and technology that will help it function
more safely, more effectively and with less impact from traditional energy volatility.
The energy industry has already demonstrated that they will continue to build what is
most profitable to them. It is up to a robust political process and informed voters to
ensure that sustainable facilities such as Grid Energy Storage options are mandated.
These opportunities are significantly more environmentally-friendly and are far safer
than traditional fossil-fuel plants. These facilities store excess energy during the ma-
jority of operation and, during times of peak demand, release electricity into the
system. Grid Energy Storage facilities can also use photovoltaic cells to further maxi-
mize efficiency and create “free” electricity.
For those who remain skeptics this approach or who doubt security risks, a disaster
scenario was developed for Massachusetts by James Fay, of the Massachusetts Insti-
tute of Technology. A former chairman of the Massachusetts Port Authority and a
member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Professor Fay remains concerned
about energy security. His model predicts large areas of Rhode Island and Massachu-
setts being devastated by an attack on or accident at a natural gas facility. Specifi-
cally, Professor Fay described the vulnerabilities of the transport and storage
terminal in Everett, where supplies for the Billerica Plant originate. Even if the facility
in Billerica is not targeted specifically, electricity rates would skyrocket if any sub-
stantial event occurred at a natural gas facility in the Eastern United States.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, recognizing the potential for economic and physical
devastation, stopped natural gas transport and storage in Boston Harbor citing safety
concerns. quot;Everyone should be concerned about it because the Coast Guard, Boston
fire department and other agencies do not have the equipment if something did
happen with…natural gas. Everyone says there is no problems, but what happens
when something does happen?quot; Menino was quoted as saying at the time of his deci-
sion. Joining Menino were representatives of many Boston-area communities who
unsuccessfully attempted to stop natural gas operations in the area after September
11, 2001. Professor Fay of MIT agrees. quot;Federal officials are in a state of denial right
now. One must question our own emergency response capabilities if the Mayor of
Boston feels that his city is ill-equipped to handle the problem.
Hopefully, this report will provide residents with the beginnings of a complete under-
standing of this issue, leaving out the biased and money-fueled public relations
agenda of the Billerica Power Plant proponents. It is important to remember that they
are in business to promote and construct these plants. They seek only to establish
and expand their bottom-line. They can use negative labels and tired innuendo to crit-
icize public input and to deflect questions, but the fact remains that their mandate is
not to protect you, but to prioritize profits. As a public policy consultant, I am con-
cerned with effectively protecting the hugely important energy sector from the threat
of terrorism and, as tragically demonstrated by Hurricane Katrina, natural hazards
such as hurricanes.
Further, I aim to provide public policy solutions that respect and preserve our envi-
ronment and quality of life so that you, as voters, feel empowered to facilitate
progress in our political system. Teddy Roosevelt argued that protecting our environ-
mental resources was our greatest challenge and that it underlies all other public
challenges facing America. In order to preserve our quality of life and the well-being
of future generations, we must enact and support sustainability policies that meet the
needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs. Considering these facts, I cannot support the Billerica Power Plant
because I believe that it is ill-conceived and unsafe. In response, I encourage all resi-
dents and town and state officials to work together to ensure that safer, more environ-
mentally-friendly programs be our first priority.