Colin Durrant, CLF Director of Communications
Chelsea, MA (November 14, 2007) – In a victory for community and environmental groups, the developer of a proposed power plant in Chelsea, MA today said they were pulling plans for construction. The plant, a so-called “peaking” power plant used when electricity demand is at its highest, was planned for the banks of Chelsea Creek next to an elementary school in an area already overburdened by air pollution from trucks and airplanes.
“This is a major victory towards a cleaner and greener Chelsea,” said Roseann Bongiovanni, Director of the Chelsea Green Space Committee, which led the effort to oppose the plant. “The withdrawal of the power plant proposal sends a strong message to polluters who want to make Chelsea their home — that they are not welcome here. Residents in this community are working hard to improve Chelsea’s environment and public health and I congratulate all who participated in opposing the plant. Every little bit of energy was well spent!”
In May the proposed plant suffered a near fatal blow when Massachusetts’ top environmental official, Environment and Energy Secretary Ian Bowles, deemed the project “unlikely” to win state approval. Many Chelsea residents represented by Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), and environmental groups, including the Conservation Law Foundation, were fighting the plant because it was inappropriate for a city already suffering from high levels of air pollution. An EPA study cited during the debate found that diesel exhaust in Chelsea is five times higher than the U.S. average.
“The proposed power plant never made sense because of its negative impacts on already overburdened communities and its release of global warming pollution, said Eloise Lawrence, a CLF staff attorney that worked with residents to oppose the plant. “Fortunately, there are far better alternatives to meet electricity demands including untapped energy efficiency and clean energy such as wind and solar power.”
Eugene B. Benson, ACE Legal Counsel, said that “this victory by an environmental justice community is a victory for equity and fairness.”
The developer, Energy Management Inc., the same company proposing Cape Wind, under the guise of Chelsea Energy LLC, was supposed to file additional paperwork regarding the plant but has told the community it is pulling its proposal instead.
Milagros Gonzalez, a mother whose children attend the school next to where the power plant would be located and whose children have asthma, said she is relieved that the children attending the Burke Elementary School will not have an enormous power plant looming over them. “It is refreshing to see that the people who work so hard to protect Chelsea’s environment won such a great victory for our children. I am proud to have been involved in this campaign.”