Air Pollution

Palmer Renewable Energy

Opponents of a planned wood-burning power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts are turning to a local board that deals with public health issues in what may be a last ditch attempt to stop the construction of the biomass plant.

Nearly two dozen individuals and organizations have petitioned the Springfield Public Health Council to conduct a public hearing on the siting of  the 35-megawatt power plant that Palmer Renewable Energy wants to build on the city’s east side.

WAMC

A last- ditch court fight will be waged by opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts.

The  Springfield City Council, with the bare minimum of seven councilors present to be able to conduct business, voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to appeal to the state’s highest court the decisions of lower courts that directed the city to issue a building permit to Palmer Renewable Energy.

State health and environmental officials are urging New Yorkers to take steps to save energy and reduce smog following an air quality advisory Friday in the lower Hudson Valley.

Environmental Working Group

Hydraulic fracturing is responsible for a surge in domestic production of natural gas. Although the contentious process is in political limbo in New York, several upstate counties may be virgin ground for the mining of what's called "frac sand."

Activists may be breathing sighs of relief that the Empire State doesn't appear to be close to resolving whether or not it will allow hydrofracking, but environmentalists are warning New Yorkers they may have trouble breathing, if mining companies start digging for the silica sand needed by drillers for the fracking process.

The air in Albany's South End is safe to breathe. That's the word from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. That may be far from the last word, if residents have their say.

Photo of an Amtrak train.
wikipedia

Tonight, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck will host a public meeting to discuss Amtrak train emissions at the Rensselaer Rail Yard. The gathering is in response to residents' concerns about diesel smoke at the yard's Amtrak maintenance facility.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has released its updated Solid Waste Master Plan, which aims to increase recycling and reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills. But some aspects of the plan remain controversial among environmentalists.

The new master plan released this week has a goal of reducing waste in Massachusetts 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The plan will focus on controlling food waste, increasing recycling, and looking to new technologies to eliminate waste and reducing the toll on the state’s landfills.

The American Lung Association released its State of the Air 2013 report on Wednesday. Compiled with 2011 data, the report finds more than 131.8 million people in the U.S. live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

Ozone and particle pollution grades have improved in upstate counties monitored. Seiler says that although the grades given are better than in previous years, they are not grades that any student would want to brag about, with a few exceptions.

President Obama’s pick for EPA Administrator is receiving praise from a range of groups including state governments, environmentalists, and industry representatives.