SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 11, 2013

State board OKs Salem power plant

(Continued)

She questioned the need for a new power plant in Salem. With Footprint purchasing the property right away, there wasn’t much time to explore other options for the site.

“The process itself feels unduly rushed,” said Haley, who recently moved to Marblehead from Salem.

Sue Reid, director of the Conservation Law Foundation Massachusetts, argued Footprint has “failed to demonstrate” compliance with Massachusetts’ Global Warming Solutions Act, a law enacted in 2008 to limit emissions. Reid spoke at both the morning hearing in Boston and the DEP’s meeting last night in Salem.

Robert Shea, EFSB presiding officer, said the agency found that Footprint’s plant would help the state meet its Global Warming Solutions Act emission targets.

The new gas-fired plant would be among the most efficient and lowest-emission plants in New England, Shea said.

“We wouldn’t propose to build something that wouldn’t address these problems (emissions),” said Silverstein. “Our plant, compared to nothing being there, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 450,000 tons per year (on average, for the plant’s first 10 years). That’s a good thing.”

Ann Berwick, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, voted in favor of the plant, but “not without misgivings,” she said.

“The difficulty is that we’re facing a situation where a coal plant is shutting down ... I’m unclear as to how we’d keep the lights on in the relatively near future (without the gas plant),” Berwick said. “Given our reliability mandate, I’m going to vote for the plant.”

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