Brayton Point Station
Brayton Point Station, the largest coal-fired power plant in New England dwarfs the small town of Somerset, Massachusetts which it has occupied for over 49 years. The owner, Dominion Resources, with over $45 billion in assets, is one of the largest energy companies in the United States and is also one of the nation’s largest polluters. In 2003, Dominion entered into the largest settlement in the history of the Clean Air Act, agreeing to spend $1.2 billion to reduce its emissions.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of sulfur dioxide in the nation, and the second largest source of nitrogen oxides. In Massachusetts, Brayton Point is the largest single source of carbon dioxide (CO2), emitting over 6.3 million tons in 2010. Despite installing emissions controls, Brayton Point still tops the list of sources of toxic releases in the Commonwealth due to its generation of mercury, arsenic, lead, and ammonia among other hazardous pollutants. The plant takes a huge toll on the health of residents, especially the young and elderly.
Coal-fired power plants are no longer economically viable. Across the country, and across Massachusetts, companies are announcing the retirement of aging, coal power plants. Dominion shut down two units in Salem in 2011 and will retire two others in 2014. Brayton Point is already faltering as a result of historic lows in natural gas prices, the rising costs of coal, and reduced electricity demand. From 2005 to 2011, there has been a dramatic drop in its operation as shown in the chart to the right.
The writing is on the wall, and the time to mobilize is now. Join CLF in working with residents of Somerset and others to phase out dirty coal and plan for the revitalization of Somerset.