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For Immediate Release
Emily Dahl, Conservation Law Foundation, 978-394-3506, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Kirkland, Better Future Project, 646-623-5271, email@example.com
Jake Thompson, Natural Resources Defense Council, 202-289-2387, firstname.lastname@example.org
Civic and Business Leaders Will Urge Gov. Patrick to Reject Tar Sands-Based Fuels, Support Clean Energy
(BOSTON) April 15, 2014 – Prominent civic and business leaders will hold a press conference Thursday to call on Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to block the looming invasion of tar sands-derived fuels here in Massachusetts, which would undermine the Patrick Administration’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and expand the use of clean electric vehicles. This press conference will highlight the concerns voiced by the thousands of MA residents have written to Gov. Patrick, asking him to draw a line in the sand against one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet.
When: 10:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 17, 2014.
Where: Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter St, Boston. Dome Room.
- Moderator: Jennifer Rushlow, Staff Attorney for Conservation Law Foundation
- Massachusetts State Senator Marc Pacheco, author of the Global Warming Solutions Act and Chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture
- Tedd Saunders, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Saunders Hotel Group
- Kathleen Connors, Founder and CEO of Voltrek
- Craig Altemose, Executive Director, Better Future Project
- Stefanie Valovic, Mothers Out Front Leadership Team
Visual: There will be a photo op with civic and business leaders with an electric vehicle charging outside the hotel immediately following the press conference.
After Student Walkout, Gov. Patrick Agrees to Meet Activists About Ban on Construction of New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
Boston, MA– After roughly two hundred students from across Massachusetts walked out of classes today to call for strong action on climate change, Governor Deval Patrick agreed to meet with activists to discuss a ban on the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure.
“As a young person, I have an obligation to fight for a livable future, and right now, that means drawing a hard line in the sand against new fossil fuel infrastructure and committing to clean energy solutions,” said Martin Hamilton, a student at Brandeis University. “That’s why I walked out of classes today.”
The walkout, organized by Students for a Just and Stable Future, featured speeches from Newton North High School junior Kerry Brock, Wellesley College sophomore Ashley K Funk, and climate activist Tim DeChristopher.
The walkout came after months of campaigning by the grassroots organization Better Future Project and its volunteer-led climate action network 350 Massachusetts. Since summer 2013, activists have been calling on Governor Deval Patrick to “build only the best” by banning the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure and meeting all new energy demand through renewables and energy efficiency, using his authority under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act.
After rallying outside the Statehouse, the group of students waited outside as a smaller delegation of students entered the State House to request a meeting. They returned shortly with news that they had succeeded in securing an agreement to discuss the proposed ban with the Governor himself.
“Governor Patrick’s response to our walkout today only reaffirmed my conviction that he is the sort of moral leader we need to confront the climate crisis,” said Alli Welton, an undergraduate at Harvard College. “He has already been an outstanding champion of clean energy and climate action, and this ban would be the logical next step for his climate legacy.”
Students who walked out of classes said that they were excited for the opportunity to meet with the Governor, and had high expectations for the meeting.
“It’s a matter of common sense. Our generation understands that now is the time to stop pouring resources into new fossil fuel infrastructure that would lock us into decades of dangerous emissions and instead to start investing in a real transition to viable energy alternatives. Governor Patrick’s demonstrated foresight and leadership on climate make me believe he can take these bold actions and be our generation’s climate hero.” Henry Jacqz, a student at Tufts University.
Boston, MA – As the state Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) at a public hearing today moved to approve a settlement allowing Footprint Power’s proposed gas plant in Salem to move forward, a group of a dozen concerned students and community members raised their voices in song. The protesters called upon Massachusetts officials to transition the state beyond fossil fuels and towards a clean energy future, resulting in the temporary adjournment of the meeting.
“We don’t want no fossil fuels, we don’t need no gas, build only the best for Salem, and ban the worst in Mass,” sang the group. Department of Public Utilities chair andEFSB member Ann Berwick noted that she has misgivings about gas and that she sympathized with the protesters’ climate concerns, but stated that it was “fantasy” to keep the lights on with renewables alone as the board reconvened and approved Footprint’s proposal.
“If our legal process cannot protect us from the affects of climate change by ceasing to contribute to the problem with further investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, then our legal process is broken,” said Dorian Williams, Climate Legacy Coordinator for Better Future Project, in response to Berwick’s comments. “We know how to build clean energy projects that do not harm the health and safety of local communities or contribute to climate catastrophe. Those are the only investments we should be making.”
In testimony before the EFSB, Better Future Project board member Adi Nochur pointed to a 2013 Stanford study outlining how neighboring New York State can meet all of its energy needs from renewable wind, water and sunlight by 20301. “Given Massachusetts’ history of innovation and current leadership in clean technology, surely we can also do the analysis that will help us imagine a 100% clean energy future in Massachusetts,” Nochur said.
Salem resident and plant abutter Bill Dearstyne raised local concerns about the proposed gas plant’s impact on public health and energy reliability. “You are depriving me of my rights to appeal and protect myself,” Dearstyne testified at the hearing, noting that the settlement agreement negates local legal challenges to Footprint’s proposal.
“The EFSB’s ruling today only inspires us to redouble our efforts to call upon Governor Patrick to ensure his Climate Legacy by halting the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts and prioritizing only conservation, efficiency and renewables moving forward,” concluded Williams. “Our communities and future generations are counting on it.”
Better Future Project is a non-profit based in Massachusetts that organizes and mobilizes a grassroots movement to confront the climate crisis and rapidly and responsibly transition beyond fossil fuels.
400 RALLY FOR GOVERNOR PATRICK TO BLOCK NEW GAS PLANT IN SALEM
Activists Ridicule Company’s Claim that Natural Gas is a Climate-Friendly “Bridge Fuel”
Salem, MA—Rallying despite the cold, around 400 MA residents gathered in Salem on Saturday February 8th against a contentious proposal from New Jersey-based Footprint Power Corporation to replace the city’s closing coal plant with a new natural gas plant.
Activists say that building a new gas plant will make it impossible for Massachusetts to meet the mid-century emissions reduction targets set by the Global Warming Solutions Act, a law that Governor Patrick’s administration is legally bound to follow.
“The best footprint is no footprint—it’s time for Governor Patrick to commit Massachusetts to a full clean energy future,” said Craig Altemose, Executive Director at Better Future Project, which organized the protest with its volunteer-led network 350 Massachusetts and Salem-based Grassroots Against Another Salem Power Plant (GASPP). “We must not allow companies like Footprint Energy to worsen the climate crisis with short-sighted investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure.”
“After decades in the toxic shadow of a coal plant, we have the chance to build a brighter and healthier future for Salem,” said Sue Kirby, a former General Electric worker and volunteer with 350MA on the North Shore. “We should replace the plant with sustainable development such as marine-related industry or research, or a hub for off-shore renewable energy generation.”
After gathering on the Salem Common and hearing from speakers, protestors marched to the gates of the Salem Harbor coal plant where they dwarfed a small group of pro-gas plant plant counter-protestors (roughly 50 people, according to The Salem News). The activists then marched to Derby Wharf and acted out a theatrical skit on the pier in which a mock gas industry executive attempted to climb out on the “bridge” of gas that no one else could see and, discovering that the bridge was in fact a cliff, plunged into the freezing ocean.
Footprint’s plant proposal is the subject of a lawsuit filed last November by the Conservation Law Foundation which the MA Supreme Judicial Court is set to hear in March. State Representative John Keenan recently sparked controversy in the legislature by attaching a rider to an unrelated bill that would have fast-tracked plant approval and bypassed the permitting process.
Photos here, credit to Kate Toomey.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2014
Contact: Alli Welton, 509-322-8755, email@example.com
MA RESIDENTS PUSH GOVERNOR PATRICK TO DEFINE HIS “CLIMATE LEGACY” DURING FINAL MONTHS IN OFFICE
Community Members and Students Meet with Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Plan Major Action for February 8th
Cambridge, MA– Massachusetts residents are campaigning for Governor Patrick to strengthen his climate and clean energy legacy before he leaves office.
“With eleven months left in office, Governor Patrick still has the chance to build on his existing achievements in clean energy and truly turn the tide on fossil fuels in Massachusetts,” said Dorian Williams, Climate Legacy campaign director at Better Future Project.
Proposed by Better Future Project and its volunteer-led network 350 Massachusetts, the “MA Governor’s Climate Legacy” platform consists of policies to promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that Governor Patrick can enact through executive authority alone.
On Tuesday January 7th, a packed room of MA residents representing all corners of the state and students from fourteen different schools met with Richard Sullivan, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, for an initial discussion of the platform. At the end of the meeting, Secretary Sullivan committed to advancing the group’s request to meet directly with Governor Patrick
“I think Secretary Sullivan and his staff were impressed by the wide geographic distribution of our representatives and the depth of our concern about global warming,” said Turner Bledsoe, a retired physician and coordinator of the 350MA South Shore node.
The Climate Legacy platform is built of three planks. The first, titled “Ban the Worst”, calls for Governor Patrick to ban the most extreme polluters of coal, tar sands oil, and natural gas fracking from the state. The second, “Build Only the Best”, asks for a commitment to meet all new energy demand through expanding renewables and energy efficiency rather than building more fossil fuel infrastructure. The final plank, “Begin to Price the Rest”, centers on ensuring that the process to price carbon and shift consumer behavior is done in a socially just and economically competitive manner.
On January 22nd, Barbara Kates-Garnick, the Undersecretary for Energy, will join Craig Altemose, the Executive Director of Better Future Project, on a panel to discuss future climate action in Massachusetts as part of Brookline’s Climate Action Week.
The Climate Legacy campaign is also working with Grassroots Action Against Another Salem Power Plant (GAASPP), a North Shore citizens group opposed to the natural gas plant proposed in Salem, to organize a large demonstration in Salem on February 8th against new fossil fuel infrastructure.