I write with some exciting news: Brayton Point, the largest coal-fired power plant in New England, announced that it will close by June 2017.
All summer long, our network has been rising up against this coal-and-gas-fired power station. In May, it was described as a David vs. Goliath struggle when our courageous friends Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara took to the water and used a lobster boat to block a coal shipment to the plant
. In July, they were joined by hundreds of us who rallied against the plant and 45 who were arrested
for trespassing on its grounds. And in August, 300 of us marched from Brayton Point to the future site of Cape
Wind on the Energy Exodus
, building political momentum for a clean energy future.
Brayton Point’s owners have cited economic factors as their motivation for closing the plant. And make no mistake about it: economic factors, chiefly the low price of natural gas, played a big (quite likely the biggest) role in this decision. But
through our steady drumbeat of actions this summer, we gave the owners of Brayton Point something else to consider
; that there were hundreds of dedicated people across the state and the region who would make personal sacrifices and work tirelessly to close this plant. It is hard to imagine how that knowledge was not a factor in their decision to give up the fight.
As important as our contributions were, credit is shared widely. Our actions built on the efforts of local activists - several of whom have been fighting for over a decade to close the coal plant - including members of the Coalition for Clean Air. Without their dogged persistence and visionary commitment, along with our partners in the Coal Free Mass Coalition, today’s victory would not have been possible.
And, as important as today's announcement is, we still have much work to do. First, we must ensure that the plant does in fact close by 2017 (it sounds like some appeals are possible) and that Governor Patrick and the Mass legislature ensure a just transition for the plant's workers and the community of Somerset. Second, we must not let our guard down and allow one fossil fuel to be replaced by another—already, there are three natural gas plants slated for construction in the state. We must not let them be built.
We must stand strong for a just transition and fight for the true solutions of efficiency, conservation, and renewables, because that is the only fair and just way we can meet our energy demand without destroying our communities, poisoning our air, and risking climate disaster. Fighting for those true solutions is our charge moving forward. It's a challenge we heartily embrace in our Deval Patrick Climate Legacy Campaign
Today, we should celebrate. Our movement has real power, and change is in the air.
Tomorrow, we will build on our success and fight for the better future we all need and deserve. Will you join us?
Here's how you can help:
1) Sign up
to join the Climate Legacy campaign and push Governor Patrick to ensure a just transition for workers and Somerset and make sure we replace coal with conservation, efficiency, and renewables, not natural gas.
2) Sign up
to join the State Campaign Summit on November 2nd, where leaders around the state will come together to learn about and engage in our two campaigns, the Climate Legacy campaign and the State Divestment campaign to push MA to be the first state to divest from fossil fuels.
3) Tweet! Here are three sample tweets for Governor Patrick:
@MassGovernor #braytonpoint is closing. Let's ensure a just transition for workers and Somerset. This is your #ClimateLegacy @350Mass
@MassGovernor #braytonpoint is closing. Let's replace w/ efficiency/conservation/renewables. No new gas. This is ur #ClimateLegacy @350Mass
@MassGovernor #braytonpoint is closing. Let's put the nail in the coffin and ban coal. This is your #ClimateLegacy @350ma
Onward and upward!
P.S. We’ve got some exciting plans coming up this fall, with our fossil fuel divestment campaigns heating up across the state and the launch of the Deval Patrick Climate Legacy campaign, which will put Massachusetts on the right track for a clean energy future. Can you please make a donation to help us build on our summer’s success and keep building the movement to move the Commonwealth beyond fossil fuels?