Today marks the launch of the Coal Free Massachusetts Coalition Campaign to Phase Out Coal, Protect Public Health, and Transition to 21st Century Clean Energy. Across the state, in communities where the remaining coal plants operate, local residents and supporters have joined to call for the end of coal. The campaign issued the following statement:
It’s time to end reliance on coal-fired power plants in Massachusetts according to a new state-wide coalition of environmental, public health, faith and community groups, and elected officials. Citizens gathered in coordinated events across the state in Somerset, Holyoke, and Salem to announce a new Massachusetts campaign to protect public health and communities, renew efforts to make the transition to energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources, and revitalize local economies to create more jobs.
Coal Free Massachusetts announced the following platform:
- Phase out all of Massachusetts’ coal-fired power plants by 2020;
- Advance energy efficiency and clean renewable energy like responsibly sited wind and solar to
support the transition from coal electricity generation in Massachusetts
- Partner with and empower community leadership and vision for clean energy and clean-tech
development for our host communities, including:
- Robust transition plans focused on the long-term health of the community
- Innovative opportunities for growing the green economy
- Support for workers and municipal revenues
Coal burning is highly polluting and devastating from a public health perspective. The coal burning plants in Massachusetts – Salem Harbor Station, Mount Tom (Holyoke), and Brayton Point Station (Somerset) – are the largest air polluters in the Commonwealth. In 2011, coal only provided 8% of the total energy in New England but still emitted more than 8 million tons of CO2 in Massachusetts alone. One in 10 New Englanders suffer from asthma and MA ranks 20th in mortality linked to coal plants. A 2010 Clean Air Task Force report showed that pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 251 deaths, 211 hospital admissions, and 471 heart attacks in Massachusetts every year. Nationwide more than 112 coal plants have announced retirement under pressure from local communities and efforts to protect public health. MA spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually – $252 million in 2008 alone – importing coal from other states and countries, including some places that are hostile to the US.
CLF has long worked to clean up dirty, polluting power plants, and is proud to be part of this continued effort to move Massachusetts away from reliance on coal and towards clean energy resources such as efficiency, conservation and renewable generation. Click on the links to find out more about what CLF and the Coal Free Massachusetts coalition are doing and how you can join!