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Audible Cafe Radio Show and Podcast

Jan 25, 2021

In today's show, I talk with Laura Haight, U.S. Policy Director at the Partnership for Policy Integrity, or PFPI. PFPI uses science, policy analysis and strategic communications to promote policies that protect climate, ecosystems, and people.

From the PFPI website: Laura Haight has extensive experience working on environmental, energy, and health care policy, and has been instrumental in passage of dozens of state and local laws to promote clean energy, reduce pesticide use, increase recycling, prevent pollution, and clean up toxic waste sites. Starting her career as a community organizer with the Sierra Club Radioactive Waste Campaign, she has held senior level positions at the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Environmental Advocates of New York, and the New York Public Interest Research Group. Prior to joining the staff of PFPI, Haight served as Vice President for Public Policy at the New York State Association of Health Care Providers. She brings to PFPI a wealth of experience in environmental advocacy, policy analysis, campaign coordination and strategic communications. Haight received a Bachelor’s degree in American history and literature from Harvard University and a Master of Science degree in environmental studies from the Bard Graduate School of Environmental Studies.

Laura is knowledgeable about so many environmental issues around the world. Today, we discussed the biomass industry, its destructive practices, and the government regulations that encourage it.

We discussed:

  • the biomass industry, and especially the forest biomass industry, which not only clearcuts forests, but basically vacuums up all the material leaving a virtual moonscape behind.
  • We also discussed legislation in Massachusetts called the Next Generation Climate Roadmap bill. This bill was vetoed last week by Governor Baker, apparently because it calls for more stringent green building codes that the construction industry opposes. But it has already been refiled.
  • Changes proposed by the Baker Administration to MA Dept. of Energy Resources regulations would make biomass "renewable" and consider it “green power” and open it up for lucrative subsidies that will make biomass plants profitable, and encourage their construction.
  • The proposed Palmer biomass burning plant in Springfield, MA. This plant is being opposed by residents and organizations alike for environment justice and pollution threats.

Thanks for listening to Audible Cafe!

This show originally aired on WBCR-lp Great Barrington 97.7FM. Visit to find out about the station or make a much-needed and much appreciated donation!



Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) website

Overview of H.853: An Act to Assure the Attainment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goals in the Alternative Portfolio Standard (Rep. D. Provost, D-Somerville)

New CSSN Report: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts? Twelve Findings

Burned: Is Wood the New Coal? a documentary film

About the Palmer Paving Corporation’s proposed biomass plant in Springfield, Mass:

Arise for Social Justice website

Scrutiny persists over biomass plant in Springfield.” Daily Hampshire Gazette. December 31, 2020.

Mass. Has Strong Rules About Burning Wood For Electricity. In 2021, It Plans To Roll Them Back.” WBUR report. December 22, 2020.

“MA Pushes to Greenlight Subsidies for Polluting Biomass Power Plants.” Press release from Biomass Energy Subsidies section of the Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) website, December 22, 2020

Theme music by BRIAN EDDY