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I just got back from a protest at the largest coal plant in New England, the coal plant at Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts, right near Providence.

Here's some backstory on the protest:

I didn't go to the training yesterday.  I'm a mom, so I just went to the protest.  There was a pretty good crowd for being out in the middle of nowhere.  People came from all over New England.  I'd say there were about three thousand people, maybe more.  There were people of all ages there, from a baby in a stroller up to elderly people in wheelchairs.

Lots of cops!  Definitely over fifty cops.  There were regular police officers and a lot of what looked like National Guard in camo, and even a SWAT team!  Did I mention the wheelchairs and strollers?  I was surprised about the SWAT team.

I drove down to one of the parking spots and a school bus took us to the rally place.  It was a playground, a baseball field under the shadow of the coal plant.  We sang protest songs and listened to some excellent speeches--a speech from a local guy who had been fighting the coal plant for sixteen years, a union organizer for electricians wanting to get good union jobs in the area building the wind farm, a couple of very moving speakers from West Virginia who talked about mountaintop removal, finally, a young woman who had gotten herself arrested down in West Virginia and was going to get arrested shortly, and then it was time for the main event.

We marched very politely, eying the cops, with singing and chanting down to the coal plant itself, where we set up mockups of wind turbines and solar panels.  Forty brave souls in red shirts went further, as planned beforehand, and got themselves arrested.  We all cheered and thanked them.  Then we marched back to the park, bringing back the panels and turbines, and took the bus back to the parking lots.

I want to apologize to Bill McKibben.  A while back I wrote this:

Today, even though the turnout was even smaller, it was more focused.  Instead of feeling discouraged the way I did after that 2011 rally, I feel energized.  What we did today is what we should be doing, that, and going after their money with divestment and pressure on politicians to take back all that money they give away to the fossil fuels industry.

Here's hoping the local media does their part and actually reports on the action today.

There were a handful of locals looking for trouble as we marched on the way back.  They were sitting on the stone fence we were passing--one was wearing a 2nd Amendment T-shirt and the other was wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt.  But everyone was polite--I think they went away disappointed. is planning a bigger summer rally at the same place a month from now, when some athletic souls will then spend six days walking to where they will be building the new wind farm.

2:46 PM PT: The Boston Globe has reported on it:

There were definitely more than four hundred people there though!

Depressingly, the article appears nowhere on the local news page or even the local news for Massachusetts page.  :(  Par for the course.

3:07 PM PT: ARRGHHH!  This one is on the local news queue:

"Dozens demand that Governor Deval Patrick close Brayton Point power plant in Somerset"--Dozens my Aunt Fanny!

Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 6:36 AM PT: I've been thinking about my crowd estimate.  There were about twenty times the number of people there that got arrested, which means about a thousand people, not three thousand.  So I overestimated, just as the police underestimated.

Originally posted to cordgrass on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thank you! -nt (4+ / 0-)

    Building Community. Creating Jobs. Donating Art to Community Organizations. Support the Katalogue

    by UnaSpenser on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:34:22 PM PDT

  •  Probably not National Guard, just local cops. (4+ / 0-)

    All sorts of local police departments have camo and kevlar these days. This past weekend at the Lowell Folk Festival, there were National Parks police walking around in their "tacticals." Park rangers, dressed up like they were patrolling in Iraq.

    It's what the police do whenever there is a good-sized crowd, political or not, since the Boston Marathon bombings.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:01:26 PM PDT

    •  from the Globe: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumbi, ladybug53, Southcoast Luna
      Ferreira said around 100 members of law enforcement were on the scene from Somerset Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Environment Police, and the Southeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.

      Arrestees were taken to a “makeshift jail” set up by the sheriff’s office at a National Guard Armory in Fall River, Ferreira said. Police said one of those arrested was taken to Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River for treatment of dehydration.

    •  They were totally over-policed-up (4+ / 0-)

      As I noted in last night's diary, the local paper described the massive police presence they had planned to deal with this "confrontation." It turned out pretty low-key; they left most of the gear at a nearby school, just in case, I guess. The police chief told me he found us "very professional and disciplined" and I have to say they were as well, mostly directing traffic. It bodes well for future protests there as there's more trust on both sides.

      I've just put up a photo diary.

  •  Thanks for doing this! (5+ / 0-)

    It brought back memories of when I protested at Seabrook Station in NH back in the eighties.

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 05:09:52 PM PDT

  •  Anybody Gonna Show Up for This? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cordgrass, bumbi, Simplify

    Mass DEP regulatory hearings on GHG regs (RGGI and SF6)
    Monday, 29 July, 2013
    10:00 AM
    Mass DEP Headquarters, One Winter Street, Boston

    The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is proposing two regulatory actions:
    First, MassDEP is proposing amendments to the CO2 Budget Trading Program regulations (310 CMR 7.70). 310 CMR 7.70 implements the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in Massachusetts. The proposed amendments would implement program changes resulting from the 2012 RGGI program review. A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held on July 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM. Please feel free to contact Bill Lamkin ( or 978-694-3294) if you have any questions about this proposal.
    Second, MassDEP is proposing a new regulation titled Reducing Sulfur Hexafluoride Emissions from Gas-Insulated Switchgear (310 CMR 7.72). Gas-insulated switchgear is used in high-voltage electrical applications. A public hearing on the proposed regulation will be held on July 29, 2013 at 2:00 PM. Please feel free to contact Will Space ( or 617-292-5610) if you have any questions about this proposal.

    The hearing notices, along with copies of the proposed regulations and background information, are available on MassDEP's web siteat The hearings will be held at MassDEP's Boston office (One Winter Street). Directions to the hearings can befoundat
    Written comments on either proposal may be submitted by mail or to until 5:00 PM on August 8, 2013.

    Event Contact Info
    William Lamkin

    Or take a look at the ISO-NE plan to close all the old coal and oil-fired power plants in the area by 2020?

  •  Sequester the CO2 and burn all the coal... (0+ / 0-)

    ... you want.

    I would take careful mining, and clean burning of coal over frakking and damaging our water supply any day.

    I'm all for using solar and wind and tide and geothermal power to the max, but it is unrealistic to think in this century, even with a sudden 100% societal effort, we can meet our needs with just non-fossil fuel means.

    The far simpler and more realistic strategy is to implement sequestering so our efforts stop damaging the atmospheric chemistry of Earth, and eventually we will shift a huge % of production into renewable's.

    Half the propaganda about coal is evil.... comes from the GAS industry. We mine'd coal for over 100 years without destroying the water supply, GAS fracking can accomplish that in just a few years if we don't knock it off.

    Further, one of the side issues of moving to both renewables locally, and electric transportation is... the LOCAL power wiring in the US cannot handle the shift and will all need to be replaced, literally 100's of thousands of miles of wiring.... and we don't hear a peep about that scientific reality.

    •  So you like wasting money. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      Every utility that has built a coal plant in the last decade has had huge rate increases. Coal is not cheap. Proposed carbon capture coal plants have been abandoned because it can't be done economically.

      Compared to renewables, building coal with carbon capture produces energy that's far, far more expensive. It will also take much longer to build, especially once you factor in the billions it will take to build new CO2 pipelines cris-crossing the country to sequestration sites.

      So if you want to have higher electric rates (wind is cheaper than new coal), waste billions of dollars and STILL have dirty energy that poisons water with carcinogens then it makes sense to push for carbon capture. It has to be the most moronic energy option on the table.

    •  Mining coal doesn't hurt the water supply? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sequestering carbon and making coal-burning clean is "simple?"

      I'll take careful mining and clean coal burning any day, too. I'll also take weight-reducing ice cream, and liquor that makes me a better driver.

      You're right the the gas companies are pushing information that coal is evil. The thing is, they're right.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:25:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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