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Communities in Action
Congratulations to the Amazing Activism Happening Across New England: We celebrate grassroots efforts across the region.
Working for a Healthier Energy Future
The biggest news in Maine (and probably the biggest on the East Coast) was the City of South Portland passing a law to protect residents from the harmful effects of a proposed tar sands crude oil terminal this summer. Congratulations to Protect South Portland’s for their commitment and hard work to win this monumental victory! In September, members of Protect South Portland, Rachel Burger, Meg Braley, Cathy Chapman, Linden Thigpen, Karen Sanford, Crystal Goodrich, Marla Pastrana and Eben Rose took the good news to the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. 350 Maine organizer and South Portland resident Bob Klotz rode his bike from Maine down to NYC to join in the march!
This year has seen a tsunami of incredible organizing against unnecessary and dangerous new fossil fuel infrastructure, including plans to build fracked gas pipelines across the region. There are too many amazing activists to mention here in Massachusetts: Ken Hartlage, Emily Norton from Stop the Pipeline, Katy Eiseman from Mass Pipeline Awareness Network, Rosemary Wessel from No Fracked Gas in Mass, Mary King from North Quabbin, Jim Cutler, Ivan Ussach, Leigh Youngblood of Mount Grace, Jane and Bruce Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team and many, many, many more fighting the Northeast Direct pipeline, spanning 250 miles from the Berkshires to the North Shore to bring fracked gas in from Pennsylvania.
Community leaders and Toxics Action Center are leading the way towards a coal-free future across New England. Brayton Point coal plant, the biggest fossil fuel power plant in all of New England, announced plans to close by 2017 in Somerset, Mass., and Coalition for Clean Air South Coast continues to organize to bring clean energy and healthier economic development to Somerset. We’re working with Pauline Rodrigues, Dave Dionne, Joyce Mello, Connie Brodeur, Emily Johns, Rich Munger, Mike Sylvia, Jim Hornsby and many others to plan ahead for a just transition.
And this October, Holyoke, Mass. became coal-free! Congratulations ¡Action for a Healthy Holyoke! Carlos Rodriguez, Rosa Gonzalez, Carmelo Alavedo, Bob and Muriel, Rick, and Jane Anderson have been working hard with Toxics Action Center and Neighbor to Neighbor for responsible retirement of the Mount Tom coal plant and we look forward to supporting the cleanup and redevelopment. R.I.P. Vilma, te extrañamos. Many thanks to our statewide and national partners that have lent a hand in the fight to retire coal: Coal-Free Mass., Sierra Club, Conservation Law Foundation, Clean Water Action, Better Future Project and American Lung Association.
Congrats to the Healthy CT Alliance, working for a healthier and economically vibrant Bridgeport by transitioning away from coal-burning at the city’s aging coal plant, Bridgeport Harbor Station. They’ve made huge strides towards cleaner air in the past year! This great group of people couldn’t make it all happen without Sharon Lewis, Yolanda and Elaine from Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice; Roger Reynolds, Laura McMillan, and Lauren Savidge from Connecticut Fund for the Environment; Veronica Eady and Ivy Frignoca from Conservation Law Foundation; Diane Lentakis from 350 CTJay McCaffrey and Onté Johnson from the Sierra Club.
For nearly three years, Graniteville, Vermont residents have been valiantly fighting the perilous permit decision approved for the locating of an asphalt plant within a high residential neighborhood. Located in close proximity to many residents, the plant is permitted to emit more than ten tons of toxins per year. With our help, Lori and Marc Bernier, along with other residents, formed Neighbors for Healthy Communities, and are working tirelessly with the Vermont Law School’s Environmental and Natural Resources Clinic to stop this polluter – keep up the great work!
We’re proud to continue working with amazing leaders from Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield and Arise for Social Justice in Massachusetts, including Michaelann Bewsee, the Warner Family, John Miller, Jesse Lederman, Bill Gibson, Roxanne Langevine, and Frank Cincotta. Congrats on the Climate Plan and holding the line against the biomass incinerator! We’re also pleased to be working in coalition with Climate Action NOW! and the stellar leaders Susan Theberge, Jenny Daniels, George Aguiar and Marty Nathan.
Ensuring Clean Air
In East Providence, Rhode Island residents have worked for years to curb pollution from a bad corporate neighbor in town. A construction waste crushing facility that has polluted their air and homes with dust and toxins for more than a decade. We’re really impressed with the work of Ken Schneider, Jo-Ann Durfee, and many others who’ve worked hard to get local, statewide and federal politicians on their side and convinced local officials to stand strong. This summer the group help pass a new law that will require any construction and demolition waste crushing facility within 1,000 feet of a residential neighborhood must operate totally indoors to protect neighbors from air pollution. The residents thank Senator DaPonte, Representatives Kazarian, Melo and Amore for introducing this bill and getting this legislation passed. Unfortunately, the law is not being enforced and the East Providence Coalition continues to fight for the local polluter to be held responsible.
Protecting Clean Water
Russ and Judy Fradin, Stephen Levy, and indeed, the entire board of Woodridge Lake Conservancy in Goshen, Conn. have been pushing for a lake and watershed free from toxic pesticides. They have been working tirelessly to bring residents together around a vision of a safe, healthy, and engaged lake community. With a interim commitment from their community’s board not to apply herbicides, they are turning their attention to the bodies of water that feed the lake that they are proud to call home
South Coast Alliance for a Clean Tomorrow in Dartmouth, Mass. continues its incredible work to prevent two million tons of contaminated soil from being dumped in an aquifer zone near their neighborhood. Gloria Bancroft, Terri Brum, Mike Roy, Claire, Arthur, Todd, Matt, Joe and more, your work is making waves.
Cleaning up Hazardous Waste
In Framingham, Mass., Sidney and Junia Faust, Anne Sullivan and Alex Volfson and members of Framingham Action Coalition for Environmental Safety (FACES) worked to shut down and clean up General Chemical, a hazardous waste facility that polluted their neighborhood three years ago. Since then, we continue to work with FACES to watchdog the cleanup process, monitor other environmental threats in Framingham, and ensure community input to hold General Chemical accountable.
SaveStratford.org continues to advocate for the strongest possible cleanup of a Superfund site in Stratford, Connecticut. Over the last year, they pushed officials to consider alternatives that could actually clean up the Raymark Superfund site, polluted with asbestos, PCBs and other toxins spread throughout residential and commercial neighborhoods and parks. We salute Tom Smith, Tom Nichols, Erin Holroyd and others who have been vigilant watchdogs of the clean up plans.
Moving Away from Burn and Bury and Towards Zero Waste
We’re thrilled for residents in Argyle, Maine who recently stopped a new landfill in its tracks. The win was made possible by a coalition of concerned and committed residents in Penobscot County. Argyle might be an unorganized territory, but it wasn’t an unorganized resistance! Paul and Greta Schroeder’s Happy Acres Hall hosted numerous potluck town meetings. Bob Duchesne and Ed Spencer brought their experience fighting other dangerous landfills. Galen Young brought his farm-raised pork to share. Peter Crockett, Joan Trial, Mike Sapiel, Steve Coghlan and countless others testified at the “informational” meetings and then at the DEP public hearing in Old Town where the Penobscot Nation arrived in force to oppose the project!
The Boston Recycling Coalition and Zero Waste Task Force are focused on increasing Boston’s recycling rate – with an emphasis on good, green jobs along the way. This year, the Coalition released expert recommendations to the City for moving towards Zero Waste, and ramped up local engagement efforts to demonstrate strong community support. We’re excited to hear from the City that our community Zero Waste plan may be policy by the end of the year! We thank MassCOSH, CERO, Clean Water Action, GAIA, and Boston Workers Alliance for their part in this effort. We also congratulate the Yes on 2 campaign for its heroic effort to take on Big Money and expand the Bottle Bill.
The town of Milton, New Hampshire had already fought off an earlier landfill proposal, but some bad ideas don’t stay dead. When residents found out that an out of state trash company was meeting with local officials they knew it was time to expose the new proposal. Eric Knapp’s farm would be closest to the new site and he wasn’t buying the trash company lies. Tim and Janice Long, Cinny Wyatt, Les Elder, Kari Lygren and others formed Citizens against Landfills in Milton. C.A.L.M. showed up at public meetings in force to ask the questions that the state and company officials didn’t want to answer. Thanks to the continued work of dedicated residents Milton will not become a destination for out of state construction trash.
We’re so impressed with the hard work of Rick Blake, Raoul Cervantes, Martha Douglass, Mark Fischer, Max and Sandy Fortune, Susan Nadeau, Stephen Shaefer and many more concerned residents in Moretown, Vermont. C.L.E.A.R. (Citizens for Landfill Environmental Accountability & Responsibility) was successful in bringing attention to the issues and violations of MLI (Moretown Landfill Inc.).This has led to a suspension of accepting waste of the facility and continued requirement by the ANR to comply with rules and regs. Additionally, C.L.E.A.R. successfully canvased over 600 Central Vermont businesses and individuals, gaining their support for the state public mandate to protect Vermonter’s health and environment and bring zero waste models to Moretown and beyond; including reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost as a better alternative to expansion. MLI has re-submitted the application for Cell 4 expansion and we ask all to support CLEAR in its continuing effort to bring permanent closure to this facility.
From all of us here at Toxics Action Center, we wish you the very best in the upcoming year!
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