Palmer Renewable Energy gets back their biomass plant building permit

Aug 21, 2014 at 4:33pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

CLF has been working in partnership with Michaelann Bewsee and the community-based organization she leads in Springfield, MA – Arise for Social Justice – for the last several years. Michaelann, Arise, and a group of activists who have organized under the name Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield are fighting a biomass power plant that Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE) proposes to build in their community. The air pollution from this proposed plant would harm the health of Springfield residents – who already suffer from rates of childhood asthma and other respiratory conditions at much higher rates than other parts of the state. In the guest blog post below, Michaelann describes the legal challenge that she and other residents of Springfield, as well as the Springfield City Council, have been involved in read more…

Posted in: Uncategorized

Problems with Natural Gas Pipelines

Aug 13, 2014 at 3:47pm by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Jumping from the frying pan and into the fire is not helpful when it comes to meeting our region’s energy needs. In transitioning away from coal and oil, jumping head first into decades-long commitments to natural gas is proving to be both expensive and dangerous. The exuberance for natural gas is showing some telling tarnish. The high costs to our climate, our communities and our economy are becoming clearer to more people. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently penned a strongly worded opinion piece in the Berkshire Eagle, opposing a new pipeline planned to run through Western Massachusetts. She concluded: Before we sink more money in gas infrastructure, we have an obligation wherever possible to focus our investments on the clean technologies of the future — not the dirty fuels of the read more…

Please Note: Beach Status May Change on a Daily Basis

Aug 13, 2014 at 3:11pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Almost as soon as the State of Rhode Island was opening its beaches for swimming this summer, it was closing them again due to high bacteria counts in the water. On July 17, after several days of heavy rain, high bacteria counts prompted the State Department of Health to close Middletown’s Atlantic Beach Club Beach to swimming. Beaches in Newport, Warren and Warwick were also forced to close. Then, later in the month, Easton’s Beach in Newport and Atlantic Beach Club in Middletown were closed yet again due to polluted stormwater after heavy rain. With heavy rain flooding our streets today, we expect another round of beach closures tomorrow. Here we are, the Ocean State, with some of the most beautiful beaches and coastal areas in the country, with Newport read more…

Setting the Table for Clean Energy Progress in the Granite State

Aug 12, 2014 at 4:01pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Without much fanfare, New Hampshire lawmakers took important steps in 2014 toward clean energy progress. This spring, the legislature completed what is arguably the most successful session for energy issues in many years with a series of significant bills each addressing different parts of the clean energy puzzle: a pathway to ending the state’s inexcusable subsidies for its two coal plants, scaling up energy efficiency, reforming the process and standards for siting new energy facilities, ensuring sound utility planning, and protecting our natural resources from the ongoing risks of fossil fuels. Notably, this work steered clear of the risky and controversial gas and transmission infrastructure plans that captured most energy headlines. With Governor Hassan’s signatures this summer, these bills are now New Hampshire law: PSNH Divestiture: New Hampshire’s single biggest read more…

Boston’s Newest – and Yummiest – Day of Appreciation: Urban Agriculture Day!

Aug 12, 2014 at 11:22am by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

If you could name your own city-wide Day of Appreciation, what would it be? Cupcake Day? Pajamas-to-Work Day? While you’re mulling that over, I’ll tell you what the Mayor of Boston chose when given the opportunity: drum roll . . . Urban Agriculture Day! After getting his hands dirty at a ribbon-cutting event for Boston’s first urban farm allowed under the city’s new urban agriculture zoning article, Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed July 11 as Urban Agriculture Day. Mayor Walsh’s official Urban Agriculture Day Proclamation touts the importance of urban farms and urban agriculture entrepreneurs to Boston: “Urban agriculture improves access to fresh, local food within the city limits of Boston, reducing the distance food travels from farm to table, strengthening community, and developing neighborhood and city-wide resiliency. Urban agriculture entrepreneurs read more…

Dedication and Talent Obvious Among Commission Members Studying Ocean Acidification

Aug 7, 2014 at 2:02pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Did you know that climate change has made the Gulf of Maine 500% less productive at producing marine life? How much of that reduced productivity is a result of ocean acidification is a question that might be answered by Maine’s Ocean Acidification Study Commission, which met for the first time on August 1. The Commission, the second in the nation of its kind, is tasked with understanding the science behind ocean acidification, determining what we still need to learn to fully understand the problem, and recommending potential solutions. The Commission is composed of an impressive array of legislators, fishermen and scientists, most of whom are volunteering their time. At the August 1 meeting, which was open to the public, Commission members asked tough and detailed questions to a team of scientists read more…

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables Make Business, Environmental, and Culinary Sense

Aug 6, 2014 at 4:55pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Lately, everyone’s been talking about the “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables.”  Chances are you’ve encountered them by now – last week Grist covered them, and just this morning actor and Champion of the Internet George Takei shared their story with his more than 7 million Facebook followers.  So what’s the big deal? When the European Union declared 2014 the European Year Against Food Waste, French supermarket chain Intermarché responded with a campaign celebrating Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables.  These are foodstuffs that are perfectly good to eat but just look funny, like the “Grotesque Apple,” the “Hideous Orange,” and the “Disfigured Eggplant.”  Despite being safe to eat and in fact often quite delicious, these unfortunate foods are often thrown out by grocery stores based on looks alone.  This practice adds up to hundreds read more…

Posted in: Farm & Food

Drinking Water – Too Precious to Pollute

Aug 5, 2014 at 2:19pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The tragedy this past weekend that left more than 500,000 Ohio and Michigan residents without safe drinking water shows the real dangers of polluted runoff. Toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie left drinking water with dangerous levels of microcystin. More than 100 people visited area hospitals, with upset stomachs, dizziness, and vomiting after drinking contaminated water. The dangers of toxic algae blooms are not limited to Lake Erie. Excess nutrients – especially phosphorus – from agricultural runoff pollute Lake Champlain. Nutrients meant to feed farm crops instead runoff into Lake Champlain where they cause excessive growth of algae and other weeds. Toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain have caused beach closings and are dangerous to people and animals. In 2012, Missisquoi Bay suffered a large fish kill as a result read more…

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Misses in Latest Ruling

Aug 5, 2014 at 2:00pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The most vulnerable and environmentally over-burdened communities across Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns suffered a great loss last week. The Supreme Judicial Court had an opportunity to bring real teeth to the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice Policy, a landmark policy that has a lot of heart and good intentions, but like most uncodified policies, lacks any bite. Instead, the Court undermined the clear intent of the policy and left communities of color and low-income communities across the state in even greater peril than before the high court rendered its decision. At the center of the case is the Energy Facility Siting Board’s approval of a 350-megawatt natural gas power plant to be located in Brockton. This densely populated, largely low-income community of color – a place with elevated rates of asthma and read more…

Breaking News: NESCOE Suspends Votes on Tariff Proposals

Aug 1, 2014 at 1:38pm by  | Bio |  9 Comments »

The New England States Committee on Electricity (“NESCOE”), an entity created to carry out the policy directives of the New England governors, had been hurtling down the track towards forcing electric customers to pay for a massive, new natural gas pipeline as well as new transmission projects to import large-scale Canadian hydropower. This morning at the monthly meeting of the voting participants in the New England Power Pool (“NEPOOL”), NESCOE signaled that the train is going to slow down. In a surprising and welcome move, NESCOE announced at the meeting that it is delaying action on both the gas and electric proposals that it has been pursuing–proposals that have the potential to put billions of customer dollars at risk. NESCOE formally requested that all of the votes that had been read more…

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