End the Era of Coal!

We have a huge opportunity to speed Massachusetts to a coal-free future!

Dominion, the owner of the largest coal-fired power plant in the state, Brayton Point, is putting the plant up for sale, along with two more coal plants in their portfolio. This could be the nail in the coffin for coal in our state, and would echo loudly beyond our borders, but only if we speak out for what we know our communities need.

The Commonwealth’s leaders need to hear from us about our vision for a clean up the site, retraining of the workers, and new economic investments to “make whole” the communities that have borne the brunt of the plant’s pollution and that have depended on the plant’s tax payments to maintain the roads, schools, and hospitals that have been the foundation of Dominion’s profits.

Please read the press release from the Coal-Free MA coalition below. We don’t yet have a specific action in response to this news but you can demonstrate your support for a speedy and just transition to a coal-free MA by signing on to two e-actions from coalition member groups Toxics Action and Clean Water Action:

1) ask Governor Patrick to make aggressive carbon reduction a condition of the plant’s future operation:
https://secure3.convio.net/engage/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6309

2) ask our federal Senators to tighten regulations on coal ash
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2155/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11381

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9/06/12

Coal Free Massachusetts responds to Sale of Brayton Point

Today Dominion Resources, Inc. announced the sale of three coal plants as they divest from their merchant fossil fuel plants in de-regulated states. Included in the sale announcement are the Brayton Point coal plant in Somerset, Massachusetts and two plants in Illinois.

In response, the following members of Coal Free Massachusetts stated:

“Certainly we know that coal-free is the future, and Dominion’s plans to sell Brayton Point only reinforce our message,” said Pauline Rodrigues, a leader of the local group Coalition for Clean Air South Coast. “The Town of Somerset has to make arrangements now for how to prepare for this economic transition, to bring in good new jobs and replace lost municipal revenues. We need to plan ahead so we’re not left holding the bag.”

We hope that Dominion will be a better neighbor on the way out of Somerset than they were for us here in Salem,” commented Pat Gozemba, Co-Chair of Salem Alliance for the Environment. “A legacy fuel and a legacy mess are what we have had on hand, and we want better for our neighbors on the South Coast. The redevelopment of Dominion’s sites into productive and healthy economic centers for our communities relies on full cleanup and accountability for any mess left behind after years of profit-making.”

“Let the buyer beware,” said Shanna Cleveland, staff attorney with Conservation Law Foundation. “Dominion’s retreat from the merchant coal plant business is a clear indication that they see the writing on the wall for coal power. Coal’s share of the nation’s energy mix and New England’s has been steadily declining while clean energy like wind and solar is becoming cheaper. Coal power’s days are numbered, and we will continue to work to hasten the retirement of these aging, polluting plants in Somerset and beyond.”

Cindy Luppi of Clean Water Action said, “After years of working on these issues, you can’t help but wonder what the ‘For Sale’ sign at this plant will read. ‘Wanted: Clean Energy Future?’ Even at minimal capacity, Brayton Point—New England’s largest polluter—is toxic to our health, communities and pocketbook. Let’s hope this marks the shift to a more innovative future. We need a new paradigm for power.”

Sylvia Broude of Toxics Action Center said, “Somerset deserves a better neighbor. We urge whomever chooses to purchase the dirty and aging Brayton Point coal plant to be a good neighbor by working together with the Somerset community and plan for a responsible transition away from dirty coal and a smart, beneficial re-development for the site.”

“Dominion’s attempt to sell Brayton Point signals a recognition that Massachusetts and New England are rapidly building toward a coal-free future. We congratulate Dominion on trying to dump their toxic assets, and encourage them to use the funds they receive to invest in safe, healthy, and renewable energy,” said Craig Altemose of Better Future Project.

Jay McCaffrey with the Sierra Club said, “This should also be a signal to Governor Patrick that it’s more important than ever to make Massachusetts a coal free state. We need a plan to responsibly transition away from the dirty coal plants that have been a toxic burden on Massachusetts families too long and invest in clean, renewable energy that will mean healthier air, good-paying jobs and an economy that’s built to last.”

“It’s heartening to see Dominion getting out of the coal business in Massachusetts. But make no mistake, a new owner doesn’t mean the plant will shut down. This is the perfect opportunity for Governor Patrick to demonstrate his leadership and call for retirement of all of our coal plants,” said Ben Wright, advocate with Environment Massachusetts.

“We know that burning coal has serious impacts on our health and contributes significantly to global warming. For the sale of Brayton Point to be a complete win, we need a robust plan for helping Brayton Point workers transition to new jobs and for keeping the town of Somerset whole,” said Nancy Goodman of Environmental League of Massachusetts.

“Dominion’s actions indicate they are aware of the dim future for coal in the United States. As the rest of the country follows New England’s lead and phase out dirty power sources, plants like Brayton Point will become more and more rare. We look forward to working with the new owners of the Somerset plant to ensure a clean alternative to the region’s power needs,” commented Rob Garrity, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network.

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