Toxics Action Center
Toxics Action Center

Toxics Action Center Holiday Update 2018

Thanks to you, we’re working with activists on the frontlines of environmental threats across our region and beyond. We believe community organizing is the way to a future where we breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in healthy, just and sustainable communities. With you by our side, we’re working with the grassroots leaders who are building community power and making change happen. See what you’ve made possible in 2018.

Fighting Fracked Gas Pipelines and Advancing Clean Energy

This year the movement to stop fracked gas continued across the region, and activists in MA took important steps forward for clean energy. Hundreds of people wrote letters, made calls, signed petitions, met with elected officials, and rallied on the steps of the Statehouse at the end of a two-year push for clean energy laws that centered justice and equity. While we still have more work to do, we are proud to stand with Craig Altemose, Jenny Daniel, Adele Franks, Andy Gordon, Ben Hellerstein, Richard Juang, Cathy Kristofferson, Elena Letona, Vick Mohanka, Andrea Nyameke, Carol Oldham, Alan Palm, Jacob Stern, Susan Theberge, Laura Wagner, Joel Wool and other leaders in the Mass Power Forward coalition who won important changes that will mean more renewable energy statewide.

In Lebanon, NH, Ariel Arwen, Kathy Beckett, Stuart Blood, Philip and Judith Bush, Jon Chaffee, Geoffrey Gardner, Sarah Riley, Laura Simon, and many others are keeping up the fight to protect their town from fracked gas —advocating to protect our climate from the effects of polluting fossil fuels as the Upper Valley Pipeline Coalition. Leaders like Jom Michel and Boston Clean Energy Coalition have maintained fierce opposition to a pipeline in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. In Holyoke, MA, seasoned Neighbor to Neighbor activists—who we worked with to convert a coal-fired power plant to a solar farm—are organizing to stop a pipeline expansion. And there are many more activists standing up against fracked gas in our region.

In Providence, RI, Monica Huertas and the NoLNGinPVD coalition are keeping up the fight to halt massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tanks. In Weymouth, MA, Alice Arena and leaders from Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station are keeping the pressure on to stop a compressor—one of the most dangerous parts of a pipeline—from being built on the last piece of green space in the Fore River Basin.

National Clean Drinking Water Coalition Fights Toxic Teflon Chemical

In 2017, we co-founded the National PFAS Contamination Coalition with community leaders who found out their drinking water had been contaminated with the cancer-causing Teflon chemical known as PFAS, turning up in water near factories and military bases across the country. Today, with two dozen communities in 13 states (and growing!), from AK to MI to Cape Cod, MA, together we’re celebrating some national victories.

The Coalition made national news when we demanded inclusion in EPA’s National PFAS Summit—planned without inviting affected communities. We won a seat at the table, pushed EPA to commit to setting a federal standard for PFAS in water, and made it clear that we won’t be ignored. Our grassroots pressure helped convince the White House to release a hidden health study on PFAS—showing the chemicals are even more toxic than originally thought. Then the Coalition organized and mobilized impacted residents to attend regional EPA community meetings on PFAS held in NH, PA, NC, CO and MI, calling for strong standards to protect communities nationwide.

Thanks to Laurene Allen, Andrea Amico, Cody Angell, Lori Childers, Chris Clark, Alayna Davis, Emily Donovan, Mark Favors, Hope Grosse, Loreen Hacket, Kathy Hodge, Arnie Leriche, Kristen Mello, Pam Miller, Laura Olah, Sue Phelan, Karen Pighetti, Vicki Quint, Steve Seymour, Aaron Weed, Cathy Wusterbarth, and so many others who are leading the way for local and national change to win justice for PFAS-impacted communities.

Local Activists Leading the Way

Across the region, activists are standing up for their communities in the face of injustice and environmental threats. Deeper Than Water coalition is organizing with people imprisoned in toxic jails in Massachusetts to demand basic human rights and safe living conditions for prisoners. Many prisoners have been given toxic water to drink, kept in brutally hot conditions during summer heat waves, denied appropriate medical treatment and faced retaliation for speaking out. Thanks to Wayland Coleman, Greg Diatchenko, Adrian Coleman, Annie Atwater, Martin Henson, Jess Kant, Christine Mitchell, Elizabeth Rucker, and other activists bringing these issues to light.

Local towns and cities are leading the way to curb toxic pesticide spraying and go organic. Avery Kamilla, Maggie Knowles, and the Portland Protectors won one of the nation’s strongest ordinances banning toxic pesticides on all public and private property in Portland, ME. A group of VT neighbors, led by Elizabeth Deutch, Roger Donegan, Meg Handler and others, banded together to protect Lake Iroquois from pesticide spraying, and pushed the state to reject the permit, a first-of-its-kind decision. In Bar Harbor, ME, Angela Balacco, Jennifer Morgan-Binns and Erika Rosso are working together to keep their children, and their town, safe from pesticides after learning of toxic pesticide spraying on playgrounds. And in VT’s Champlain Valley, Wally Bailey, Jim Ellefson, Chris Fastie, and Lesley Wright are fighting back against pesticide spraying to control mosquitos that threatens local drinking water and the health of the community with support from Vermont Law School’s Environment and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

In Rocky Hill, CT, residents are working to stop a plan to dump contaminated soil on top of a landfill that would risk the community’s health. Thanks to leaders like Ed Chiucarello, Charles Wisnioski and others, residents are calling for a “No Pollution Solution” that keeps their community safe.

Halting Landfills and Incinerators and Advancing Zero Waste

Once again, residents of Bethlehem, NH voted to reject Casella’s landfill expansion, set to triple the size of a polluting landfill in the heart of the White Mountains. Congratulations to Andrea Bryant, Kelly and Jim McCann, Teresa Tupaj Wood, Kristina Zontini, and all the others who keep fighting for a better future in Bethlehem, including support from National Environmental Law Center. In Claremont, NH, activists celebrated as the owner of a shuttered incinerator finally surrendered its permit—making it unlikely that the facility will ever burn trash again. Congratulations to Katie Lajoie, Reb Mckenzie and John Tuthill for making sure this facility stays closed, and for watchdogging waste statewide. In Leverett, MA, activists like Pat Duffy and Nin Goodale are organizing to clean up pollution from a local landfill and ensure the healthy and plentiful drinking water that all deserve. In Saugus, MA, people are fighting back against the state’s decision to allow a polluting incinerator to expand its unlined ash landfill. We’re proud to stand with Alliance for Health and the Environment in their continued fight for environmental justice.

In Boston, we continue to coordinate the Zero Waste Boston coalition to keep pushing the city towards a Zero Waste future that includes good, safe jobs for industry workers, equity in sharing the benefits of a zero-waste economy, and a waste system that is healthy for all.

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