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Committee to look at biomass ordinance

GREENFIELD — Seven names have been submitted to a Town Council subcommittee for consideration as members of an advisory committee that will be involved in creating an ordinance to regulate large-scale biomass wood-burning power and waste-to-energy plants.

One of those names is Janet Sinclair, the Shelburne Falls woman who was raised in Greenfield and led the charge to kill the proposed biomass plant on Butternut Street.

At-large Town Councilor Patrick Devlin, who took the lead to find people interested in serving on the ad hoc committee, which will serve only as an advisory committee, said he and Town Council President Mark Wisnewski reviewed the list on Friday morning and submitted it to the town clerk’s office.

The two councilors also chose George VanDelinder, the town’s central maintenance manager, Carole Collins, the town’s energy and sustainability coordinator, and Mary Booth, a lawyer who lives in Pelham, but worked with those who fought against a biomass plant on Butternut Street, to serve on the committee.

They chose Glen Ayers, a regional health agent for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, who is a certified water supply operator and certified wastewater treatment plant operator. He will not be representing the FRCOG. Ayers has an extensive background in hazardous waste in water and spoke out against the biomass plant that was proposed for Butternut Street.

Donald Reid of Turners Falls and Robert Sagor of Greenfield are also on the list.

Devlin could not be reached for comment on Friday, so it is not yet known how many people sent letters of interest or what the criteria were for choosing the people who will be presented to the council for approval.

Devlin said in an earlier interview that he didn’t care whether committee members lived in Greenfield, because they weren’t going to be making decisions for the town, they would just be making recommendations. He said he wanted as many different viewpoints as possible.

He said he wanted the best people for the job, and that would include experts and people who have been researching and studying biomass and its effects.

The list will be presented to the council’s Economic Development Committee, which will review the candidates and their resumes today beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room on the second floor in 20 Sanderson St.

The EDC and Planning Board will be involved in creating an ordinance and will both hold public hearings to get public input.

But, it is the Town Council that will eventually vote a new ordinance. The EDC and Planning Board will bring their recommendations to the full council before that vote.

The advisory committee will work with the EDC and other town boards over the next year to create an ordinance.

The decision to form the advisory committee came after Town Council voted a 17-month moratorium on large-scale biomass wood-burning and waste-to-energy facilities in April. That moratorium will end in September 2014.

Town officials and residents hope to have an ordinance in place by then.

It is possible that the EDC or full council could choose to add names to the list or remove anyone they decide is not a good fit for the advisory committee.

Sinclair said in a recent interview that she would like to serve on the advisory committee and help her hometown craft an ordinance to protect it and its residents.

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