Citizen Activists call on Governor Patrick to Shut Down the Salem Harbor Coal Plant

by Kelly Mitchell

February 21, 2011

Activist Sandra Winter calls Governor Patrick outside the Massachusetts Statehouse.

The final stop of the Coal Free Future tour is coming to a close. This week, we’ve been supporting efforts to shut down the Salem Harbor coal plant in Massachusetts. For over a decade, citizen activists in Salem and Marblehead have sacrificed time with their families, their hard-earned money, and their health working to shut this plant down. (You can read more about Greenpeace’s most recent involvement in that work here, here, and here.)

After years of fighting, victory is within sight. The plant’s owner, Dominion Energy, has asked for permission to retire the plant! You can read (and watch) more about these latest developments here

Unfortunately, the fate of Salem now rests in the hands of bureaucratic agency (ISO-NE) that feels no sense of urgency to create a transition plan for closing the plant, and an energy company that will suck every last dime out of local ratepayers until the plant retires. Without strong leadership from the highest levels of state government, Salem Harbor could still remain open for years, with local residents footing the bill for a coal plant no one wants and no one needs.

It’s time for Governor Patrick to step up and become a real champion for the people. He must use his power and authority to make sure Salem Harbor closes by the end of next year, and then move forward with a plan to create a coal-free Massachusetts.

On Friday, Greenpeace joined forces with Salem and Marblehead residents for a rally outside the Massachusetts Statehouse. In the lead up to the event, concerned citizens asked Governor Patrick to meet with them and voice his commitment to shutting down the coal plant. To the disappointment of all in attendance, he refused to even send a representative.

The Governor has a long history of standing up for public health and the environment. We’re not ready to give up hope. However, the people of Salem and Marblehead can’t wait much longer for a real solution. For years, they have sacrificed too much to fight this coal plant on their own. With the resources at his disposal, surely Governor Patrick could share some of that burden.

Sandra and other Salem-area residents will be returning to the Statehouse in a couple weeks. I can only hope that – next time – Governor Patrick will answer their call.

For more information about groups working to shut down Salem Habor check out:

Kelly Mitchell

By Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell is the Climate and Energy Campaign Director for Greenpeace, based in Chicago. Since 2006, she has worked with activists and organizations across the country to confront corporate polluters and transform U.S. energy policy. She currently leads Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100 percent renewable energy, pushing some of the largest companies in the world to embrace wind and solar and working alongside communities to develop a just and democratic energy system.

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