Communities in Action

New England-wide: 25 Years of Calling Attention to New England's "Dirty Dozen":
Toxics Action Center celebrates 25 Years of the Dirty Dozen Awards with New Report Release

For years, Toxics Action Center has “celebrated” the Dirty Dozen Awards by profiling twelve egregious New England polluters who have failed to take appropriate action to address their pollution problems. This November, as Toxics Action Center wrapped up its year-long 25th anniversary celebration, we released a report, “25 Years of the Dirty Dozen: Past and Current Pollution Threats in New England”, profiling twelve of the most notorious pollution threats in the region and proposing solutions to long-term trends.

All twelve sites were chosen by a selection committee comprised of environmental and human health experts. The award winners included repeat offenders who have still not cleaned up their messes along with several emergent threats, and generally highlighted a wide array of toxic hazards ranging from leaking landfills to power plants, trash incinerators and hazardous waste sites.

“Over the last 25 years, we’ve made a lot of headway cleaning up pollution in New England, but we still have a long way to go. These Dirty Dozen winners are relics of the past. Their dinosaur business practices are becoming extinct. They can stave off extinction, but only by moving forward in adopting many of the recommendations we outline in our report,” said Sylvia Broude, Toxics Action Center Executive Director.

The report included recommendations for cleaning up hazardous waste, for  moving beyond burning and burying and towards zero waste, and for phasing out nuclear power, coal power, and persistent toxic chemicals.

On November 27th, Toxics Action Center staff held seven press conferences around New England to release the report and present awards to the “winning” polluters. Local leaders engaged in campaigns targeting the “winners” joined staff and environmental experts to speak on behalf of community groups, highlight their campaign progress and emphasize what still needs to be done to clean up their communities; all the while, encouraging award winners to put health and safety first. The report release and awards presentation got significant media attention, garnering over 50 total hits on print, radio, and TV outlets throughout the region.

The Dirty Dozen Awards went to Advanced Disposal, operating landfills in Moretown, Vt. and South Hadley, Mass.;  Brayton Point Coal Plant in Somerset, Mass.; Casella  Waste Management in Scarborough, Maine, who operate the Old Town landfill, among others; and the Central Landfill in Johnston, R.I. Awards were also given to the Connecticut Environmental Council in Marlborough, Conn., a front group for the pesticide industry; Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority in Hartford, Conn.; Entergy Nuclear, operating nuclear power stations in Vernon, Vt. and Plymouth, Mass.; and General Electric in Pittsfield, MA. Finally, the New Bedford Parker Street Waste Site and Harbor Superfund Site in New Bedford, MA, Public Service of New Hampshire Coal Plants in Manchester, NH, Raymark Superfund Site in Stratford, CT, and the ExxonMobil Tar Sands Pipeline running through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine were awarded Dirty Dozen awards.