Pittsfield Generating Air Quality Permit


Public Hearing on renewal of
Pittsfield Generating Air Quality Operating Permit

December 7th, 6:30 PM
via Zoom or phone

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 868 9893 0512
Passcode: 515635

Telephone Dial-in: 888 330 1716 US Toll-free
Conference code: 971116

*(Spoken comments at hearings are often limited to 3 minutes, depending on the number of hearing participants.)

Written comments due Dec. 15, 5:00 PM
MassDEP requests that written testimony be submitted electronically via e-mail to: marc.simpson@mass.gov. Written testimony may also be sent to Marc Simpson, Air Quality Permit Chief, Department of Environmental Protection, 436 Dwight Street, Springfield, MA 01103.
**(Written comments are not required if oral comments are made during the hearing, but they don’t have any limit to length. Submitting by both spoken and written comments is allowed – as is submitting multiple written comments.)

A direct link to the Pittsfield Generating public hearing posting: download (mass.gov).
A direct link to the Pittsfield Generating public Fact Sheet: download (mass.gov)

– What the hearing is and isn’t about:
The regional office had a call with BEAT to stress that this hearing is on whether or not the plant is in compliance with its permit, not on whether or not it should be allowed to operate.

When asked about DEP’s schedule of declining emissions limits (that they put in place after Conservation Law Foundation SUED them for non-compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act), DEP pointed out that regulations to enforce those limits were never put in place. They don’t have the regulations to enforce their own mandated emissions limits, so they don’t have the ability to limit the plant’s emissions beyond their current permit or to shut them down.

We do not support the renewal of the Air Quality Permit for Pittsfield Generating. It would allow the facility to continue emitting for another five years while the state is supposed to be dialing back emissions toward 50% of current levels by 2030 and to Net Zero by 2050. Even though it’s currently infrequent use is keeping overall yearly emissions low right now, when it was operating at just under 20% of the time, it was the highest emissions source in Berkshire County, even surpassing Specialty Minerals mining and processing operation in Adams.

DEP Regulations need to change:

There’s another piece of this puzzle that needs to be addressed. DEP has been holding Stakeholder Meetings for 310 CMR 7.74, regulations regarding emissions limits from electric generation facilities since March, but widespread public announcements were not made.

One of the main points made by DEP officials during a recent Stakeholder Meeting was how surprisingly few comments there have been in the process, and how the regulations probably won’t need to change much – given that “low level of interest”.

Comments on this proceeding are being accepted until Dec. 9. The regulation is fairly technical, mostly on mechanisms of reducing emissions and how stringent they should be.

If you could send a simple comment to ask for an extension of the comment period until December 31st, it at least opens a chance for more meaningful participation by community members who deal with emissions from power plants across the state.
» Written comments should be sent to climate.strategies@mass.gov by 12/9

» See a copy of our comments here
» Download other comments submitted so far

More information is on DEP’s website, here.

» Pittsfield Generating’s Air Quality Permit application
Filed with DEP on April 19, 2021

»»» During continuing talks with Hull Street, please use these talking points to reach out to them, our state legislators and MassDEP.