Breaking New England’s Coal Addiction

On paper, coal looks like one of the cheapest ways to produce electricity. But the heavy costs it exacts on New England’s environment, the health of our families, and our economy are too big to justify.

CLF in Action

With tenacious legal and policy advocacy, CLF challenged coal plants across New England for violating environmental regulations and harming public health. We showed that these outdated plants made people sick, were uneconomic, and stood in the way of progress towards clean energy.

CLF worked with local communities, decision makers, and the regional electric grid operator to pursue alternatives that would allow for a swift and responsible phase out of coal from New England’s energy mix. Our advocacy paid off: By 2017, Massachusetts’ “filthy five” coal plants were shut down for good – including New England’s biggest coal plant, Brayton Point Station in Somerset, Massachusetts.

Now we’re focused on our region’s last dirty coal plants in New Hampshire, including Merrimack Station, which are hanging on by a thin economic thread. We won’t stop until New England is entirely coal free.

What’s Next

In New England, emissions from coal-fired power plants once made up an outsized share of the climate-damaging pollution that contributed to global warming. Our communities, our climate, and our economy simply couldn’t afford to keep coal in business in New England – which is why we’re celebrating shutting it down. 

But our fight is far from over. Now, we need to move off all fossil fuels, including natural gas. We also need to ensure the energy sources we depend on are actually renewable, not the fossil fuel industry’s greenwashed attempt at maintaining the status quo. Their alternative fuels include so-called “renewable” natural gas and other biofuels – all of which still pollute the climate, the environment, and our air. CLF will fight to ensure that we will achieve our clean energy future with real and effective solutions, like solar and wind.