Locals Extinguish Proposed Incinerator

The Springfield city council voted 10 – 2 to snuff out a proposed corporate incinerator May 23. The vote came after a four-hour-long public hearing before the city council on May 17. At the hearing, locals blasted the incinerator plan. Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield (STIP), an all-volunteer group, fought the proposal for several years.

“I’m proud of the city council for putting public health ahead of the threat of being sued by the developer,” said STIP spokeswoman Michaelann Bewsee.

Chris Matera of Massachusetts Forest Watch www.MAforests.org credited “an active citizenry, democracy and courageous public officials who represented the health and interests of their constituents over a fatter bank account for developers.”

Why did an incinerator corporation choose Springfield, the biggest city in western Massachusetts (population 156,000) as the location for a new incinerator? Could the choice have been related to the fact that 48 percent of Springfield residents are people of color? The percentage of families in poverty in Springfield is more than double the national average. Maybe the incinerator company’s lawyers thought poor people of color would be less likely to put up a fight. They were wrong.

STIP’s web site is at www.springfieldincinerator.info

One of the groups that is a member of STIP is the Toxics Action Center www.ToxicsAction.org

Bewsee said the incinerator corporation might try to appeal the city's decision but that such an appeal would be unlikely to succeed as long as the people of Springfield remain vigilant.


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