By Chris Stewart – email
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) –
Protectors outside Deval Patrick’s Springfield office are hoping the governor hears their call.
“Hamden and Hampshire counties have really bad air quality in general,” says Max Anderson of the Sierra Club.
Asthma rates in western Massachusetts is much higher than in eastern Massachusetts, according to the Sierra club, who organized Saturday’s rally, especially in Holyoke.
“Over 20 percent," Anderson said. "Which is twice the state average.”
Protestors believe the cause for Holyoke’s air problems are tied to what comes out of the Mt. Tom coal-burning power plant.
The plant burns 1,200 tons of coal every day. The protestors hope the governor will apply new permits that will lead to the retiring of the plant and transition it to a facility that would generate a different form of energy like solar.
“We don’t want to go backwards,” Chris Matera of Mass. Forest Watch said, “We need to clean things up.”
The protestors also pointed to plans to build three biomass plants throughout Western Massachusetts. They believe the plants would add more pollution into the air and more problems for those that breathe it in.
“It’s worse for carbon dioxide, it’s worse for particulates, worse for volatile organic compounds,”; Matera said.
Those in support of the proposed biomass plants say the faculties will bring jobs to the area.
Backing up the dozens that stood together outside the state government building Saturday were thousands of signatures they say are from people standing with them.
These protestors say they can’t achieve their goal alone.
“I think people are going to have to get out and be more active and pressure their politicians and realize democracy is not a spectator sport,” Matera said.
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