Opponents Speak Out Against Proposed North Springfield Biomass Plant

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(Host) Opponents of a plan to build a wood-chip-burning power plant in North Springfield dominated a public hearing at the Springfield High School last night.

Winstanley Enterprises of Concord, Massachusetts, hopes to build a 25-to-35 megawatt biomass facility in the North Springfield Industrial Park. They’re working with a partner, Weston Solutions of Concord, New Hampshire to develop the plant.

Winstanley, the industrial park’s owner, plans to sell power to the grid, and provide low-cost heat to the park’s tenants. The partners have filed for a permit from the Vermont Public Service Board, which conducted the Springfield hearing.  

Bob Kischko of North Springfield is a leader of the opposition. He says the plant is too big for a mostly residential neighborhood.

(Kischko) "From the emissions standpoint, the pollutants that are put into the air, the amount of water it takes to process through the plant for cooling – all those numbers scare me to death – not to mention the amount of truck traffic.  We’re located probably nine miles off the interstate where you have to go through four communities in order to bring wood in."

(Host) Chan Morgan is the project manager for the biomass plan. He says Winstanley has a record of attracting good jobs and successful projects.                           

(Morgan) " This project would not be something that the Winstanleys or Weston for that matter would be pursuing if it weren’t a very good project with limited impacts. There have been years of studies that have been done to figure out if this is a good project  and we also have the benefit of the data."

(Host) The company plans to sell electricity from the project on the grid, and use the heat to attract and retain businesses.

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