Toxics Action Center
Toxics Action Center

Energy

The Problem: Dirty energy pollutes our air and water, impacts our health, and contributes to climate change.

Over the past 30 years Toxics Action Center has helped communities all over New England retire dirty power plants responsibly and halt dangerous new pipeline and power plant proposals.

In Connecticut, residents were burdened with six dirty power plants collectively known as the Sooty Six. We worked with frontline activists in these communities and built a statewide coalition that was ultimately successful in passing a state law to protect air quality. Watch the video here:

Today, its a big deal to people who live around there, because they breathe easier. And that was the whole goal. 

In Maine we worked with the citizen activists in South Portland to reject a dangerous plan to make their community a shipping hub for tar sands crude. Canadian tar sands is one of the most carbon intensive and polluting forms of energy on the planet. The potential local impacts included increased air pollution and the threat of spills along the path of the pipeline. We worked to pass a local law to stop the project in its tracks. You can read more about how we took on big oil and the chemical industry here.

While not a fossil fuel, nuclear energy is not a safe or viable solution to meeting our energy needs. With no secure place to store the waste, hundreds of communities across the country are housing spent radioactive fuel rods that often do not have secure enough facilities.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont, had a decades-long history of controversy and dispute. Starting in 1971, anti-nuclear protests began on site. In 2007, a cooling tower collapsed, in 2009, an underground pipe leaked, and throughout this entire time, there were radiological safety concerns. Thanks to the hard work by anti-nuke activists, a vote of no confidence by the Vermont legislature, and sustained activism the plant was powered down in 2014. We are now working with the groups on the ground to safely decommission the site.

Nuclear power is so risky is simply could not exist in a real market. It survives today only because taxpayers and ratepayers have been forced to throw good money after bad, propping the industry up with subsidies. Nuclear power makes no sense economically, and it is also unsafe.

The history of nuclear power in the United states is a story of handout after handout from taxpayers and a permanent legacy of lethal waste. The nuclear industry still has not found a proven safe method for disposing of the spent fuel.

Today, the industry is attempting to ride the current energy “crisis” and the growing imperative to reduce global warming emissions to argue that we need to extend the life of existing plants and create a new generation of nuclear plants. Under no circumstance should we consider such a foolish investment.

We are at an energy crossroads in New England.

As old facilities go off-line, the dirty energy industry is pushing to replace them with new forms of fossil fuels. We are working with front-line communities to resist fossil fuels and promote clean energy solutions such as making the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative (RGGI) work for those who are impacted by fossil fuel pollution the most, putting a price on carbon pollution, and working at the local level to pass local ordinances to incentivize investing in clean solutions rather than dirty fossil fuels.

We’ve also been working towards a coal-free New England, and we’re proud to say that as of 2017, Massachusetts has become coal-free! While we work to clean up our environment, we also try to implement cleaner forms of energy that will benefit our communities and their environment in the long run. You can read about how we turned a coal plant into a solar farm here.

In Massachusetts, we have brought together a coalition of over 150 organizations, community groups, and businesses to push for clean energy. This movement is called Mass Power Forward. 

We are thinking globally and acting locally to put the brakes on carbon pollution and transition to a cleaner energy future.