For general media inquiries, contact Craig Altemose, Executive Director, 201-841-7105.
Hundreds Rally at Governor’s Office to Protest New Pipelines, Power Plants
Lunchtime stand-ins outside Baker’s office continue in 10th week with call for executive order on climate before UN Climate Conference Concludes
BOSTON, MA— After two months of politely asking Governor Baker to lead on climate and ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, aover 300 Massachusetts, will descend upon the Governor's office, asking him to executive order effectively banning new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
- 300 MA residents singing, holding signs and banners
Thursday, 11/16, 12:10pm-2:00PM Main Activities
Hallway outside of Governor Charlie Baker’s State House office, 3rd Floor, West Wing
300+ climate champions, including Ministers, Doctors, and Scientists in their professional attire, students, youth, parents.
300+ people holding signs and banners outside of Governor’s office, reading:
Trump Loves Pipelines. Massachusetts Doesn’t. #StandUpCharlie
- People Singing
Ministers in Collars/Robes
Doctors/Scientists in Lab Coats
In the wake of President Trump’s recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, acknowledging that climate change impacts “threaten the people of [Massachusetts] and put an intense burden on [its economy].”
Yet climate advocates say Governor Baker’s actions on energy and climate have more in common with Trump’s pro-pipeline stance than a Massachusetts eager to transition to a clean energy future. The Baker administration has continued to side with utilities and fossil fuel companies by promoting the myth that more natural gas is needed to meet Massachusetts’ energy needs, and supporting a natural gas infrastructure tariff known as the “pipeline tax.”
For the previous nine weeks, organizations including 350 Massachusetts, Toxics Action Center, the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Mass Action, and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club, Elders Climate Action, Sunrise Movement, the Episcopalian Diocese of Massachusetts, Mothers Out Front, the Jewish Climate Action Network, and more have been standing outside Governor Baker’s office, urging him to act on his public pledge that Massachusetts will “exceed reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.” Their letter to the Governor includes specific expectations for the executive order along with a draft executive order at each lunchtime stand-in. The size of each visit has also grown from about four people per visit one day per week to approximately 50 people per visit. Special past events included a youth day and a faith vigil in support of these goals.
Last week, after 6 people were charged with trespassing on state property and unlawful assembly, Governor Baker responded to a State House News reporter, saying that he didn’t want to take “any options off the table.”
The stand-in tactic was adopted by Mass Power Forward in the spirit of a recently completed 90-day anti-pipeline sit-in led by Massachusetts resident Andrea Honore, which is credited with leading to the Baker administration’s public health review of a proposed compressor station in Weymouth.
MEDIA CONTACT: Katherine Anderson, 350 Massachusetts, 339-368-1318, [email protected]
Massachusetts high school students call on Baker to speak up for Paris Agreement
Boston, MA--A delegation of high school climate leaders will visit Governor Baker’s office Wednesday to request that Baker add his name to a giant printed copy of a letter signed by governors across the United States that urges President Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Citing flooding caused by rising seas, droughts and other effects of climate change already damaging Massachusetts communities, youth leaders will call on Baker to stand up for their future by signing the 12 governors’ letter defending the Paris Agreement, and by getting Massachusetts back on track to meet state-mandated carbon reduction requirements.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 17, 4:30-5pm
WHERE: Governor’s Office, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA
WHO: A delegation of high school student leaders from the Boston Student Advisory Council, Alliance for Climate Education and Alternatives for Community and the Environment, led by four Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellows:
Isabel Huggins, 10th grader at Meridian Academy, leader of Meridian Environmental Action Committee, Model UN delegate, Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellow
Daniel Abdulah, 11th grader at Newton South High School, School Senate Secretary, Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellow
Chiamaka Obilo, 12th grader at Boston Latin Academy, Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellow
Qianqi Guan - 12th grader at John D. O'Bryant High School of Math and Science, Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellow, Alliance for Climate Education Action Fellow
BACKGROUND: On May 3rd, 12 U.S. governors--including Governor Jerry Brown of California, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York--signed a letter to President Trump urging him to stay in the Paris Agreement and keep U.S. commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
Despite presiding over a state known for its progressive values and climate leadership, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker did not sign the letter, contributing to a trend of what climate advocates describe as missed opportunities and dodging on climate and energy.
Advocates say Baker’s poor performance on a recent climate and energy scorecard, his refusal to speak out against federal rollbacks of critical climate protections—including the Clean Power Plan—and the fact that Baker does not have Massachusetts on track to meet state-mandated carbon reduction requirement, all paint a picture of a Republican governor out of touch with a state that is ready to move forward and fulfill its legacy of climate and environmental leadership.
Additional information on the 12 U.S. governors’ letter urging President Trump to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement is available from the Georgetown Climate Center here.
For immediate Release: 12 September 2016
Join National Day of Action Calling for Rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline
On Tuesday, September 13th, individuals and organizations - including 350 Mass for a Better Future and the Sierra Club - are participating in a national day of action in solidarity with tribal nations calling on President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline permanently. Last week, the Obama administration issued a halt to construction of the pipeline, opening the door to using a more thorough review process that takes climate and tribal consultation into account.
In a historic moment of nonviolent resistance, thousands of people calling themselves protectors, not protestors, have gathered in North Dakota, to demand President Obama reject this dirty and dangerous proposal. If constructed, the Dakota Access pipeline would carry fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois, cutting under the Missouri River less than a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux’s drinking water supply as well as through the Tribe’s sacred and historical land. This pipeline is a threat to Native heritage, their homes, and will be a climate disaster.
For a full list and contact info for specific events, please see this map.
BFP contact: Emily Hill, 207.347.1362, [email protected]
For Immediate Release: June 9, 2016
Digital Climate Campaign Takes Aim at Baker's Pipeline Tax
With renowned activists Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and Lawrence Lessig, 350 Mass for a Better Future launched a digital campaign this morning featuring an animated video titled “Down the Tubes” designed to spread word of Governor Charlie Baker’s climate-disrupting pipeline tax.
The video was distributed using Thunderclap, a platform that allows supporters to mass-share content simultaneously. Activists McKibben, Klein and Lessig joined the Thunderclap, allowing its social reach to surpass one million users when it launched “Down the Tubes” on Youtube at 11 a.m. this morning.
Groups fighting Baker’s pipeline tax hope to spread news of the policy to more ratepayers while there’s still time to pressure the governor to stop it.
“Baker may think he can hide behind the administrators and agencies he appoints to do his dirty work, like the Department of Public Utilities and Energy Secretary Matthew Beaton,” said 350 Mass for a Better Future’s Craig Altemose. “We want to give Baker fair warning that responsibility for his absurd, climate-disrupting pipeline surcharge rests squarely on his shoulders. The buck stops with Baker.”
Statewide climate coalition Mass Power Forward and other pipeline tax opponents lobbied the state legislature to pass a pipeline tax ban amendment on the major energy bill voted on yesterday. In the end the pipeline tax ban amendment was set aside, so the Baker administration is free to move forward.
“Given the focus on the legislature as state lawmakers debate the energy bill, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Baker’s utility regulators greenlighted the pipeline tax in the first place," Altemose said. "Baker appoints and supervises them, so their actions are essentially his actions.”
Baker is enjoying approval ratings so high he’s been named America’s most popular governor, despite being a Republican governor in a heavily Democratic state. Greater awareness of Baker’s efforts to force ratepayers to subsidize another generation of heavy fossil fuel use could threaten that popularity.
“Most people don’t yet know about Baker’s pipeline tax. Given the pipeline tax’s costs to families, especially those already struggling to pay the bills, the governor has a lot to lose from a successful public awareness campaign,” said Ivette Hernandez of economic and climate justice organization Neighbor to Neighbor.
Campaign contributions from executives at Eversource and other companies that stand to gain from new pipeline infrastructure cast suspicion on the Baker Administration’s dedication to natural gas infrastructure.
“Baker’s pipeline tax doesn’t appear to help ratepayers or the climate, but it’s certainly a sweet deal for utilities and fossil fuel companies,” said Altemose.
In response to recent reports that tied Baker to a letter offering interviews with the governor in exchange for campaign contributions, Baker said “We’re an open-door administration. We meet with all kinds of people...I reject the premise that somehow we play favorites, because we don’t.”
But when it comes to citizens fighting his pipeline tax, Baker’s doors are closed, apparently. Altemose said 350 Mass asked to meet to communicate constituent opposition to the pipeline tax, but his office would not schedule a meeting with the governor even though the organization serves thousands of Massachusetts residents concerned about climate. "Sounds like donating to Baker’s reelection campaign would have helped,” he said.
The digital campaign is expected to amplify existing on-the-ground outreach to make residents aware of the pipeline tax. 350 Mass for a Better Future and partner coalition Mass Power Forward printed 10,000 satirical mock electricity bills for statewide distribution by local chapters on June 4th, and activists are mobilizing hundreds of people to march for five days along the route of Spectra’s proposed pipeline projects to reach the Massachusetts State House on July 18th.
Down the Tubes was produced by Big Tentacle, the political communications arm of Ben Hillman & Company. Over several decades, Big Tentacle has worked on causes ranging from shutting down the Shoreham nuclear power plant to defeating Scott Brown.
Down The Tubes Youtube Video
The Boston Globe: Top Donors Could Gain More Access to Baker, Officials
Monday, March 7, 2016
Scores of Protesters Prepare Demonstration and Testimony for 3/10 Hearing on Pipeline Tariff
WHAT: After stunning Department of Public Utilities (DPU) officials by turning out over 150 protesters at the 2/25 hearing on the pipeline tariff, a coalition of concerned ratepayers is mounting a second, larger action to demonstrate continued public opposition. Demonstrators will demand that Governor Baker’s administration cancel plans to burden ratepayers with the cost of building new gas pipelines.
WHERE: Department of Public Utilities, 1 South Station, Boston, MA 02110
WHEN: Thursday, March 10, demonstration at 1:30pm before hearing at 2:00pm
VISUALS: Eye-catching banners and signs, chanting and a giant -- and photogenic! -- Charlie Baker puppet will color 100+ person demonstration. Concerned residents will flood the hearing and present creative testimony.
BACKGROUND: The Charlie Baker administration is trying to add a new charge to ratepayers' electricity bills to fund new gas pipelines, totaling billions in charges. According to a recent Attorney General report, new pipelines are not needed to meet demand in Massachusetts.
On 2/25, the MA DPU held a hearing about whether or not Eversource customers should be forced to pay for a new pipeline project. The 3/10 hearing will address whether or not National Grid customers should be forced to pay new pipelines. Decisions are expected this fall.
For Immediate Release
November 6, 2015
Better Future Project / 350 Mass: Keystone XL Will Not Be The Last Pipeline Stopped By The Grassroots Climate Movement
"Over the past six years, concerned citizens in Massachusetts and across the country have held rally after rally, vigil after vigil, and action after action to call on President Obama to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. When this campaign began, observers said that the pipeline was a done deal. Now, it's officially dead.
Over the coming months, we will build on this victory as we fight to stop new gas pipelines and other proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects across New England and beyond. Spectra, Kinder Morgan, and other fossil fuel companies should be getting very nervous right now: Keystone XL is one of the first fossil fuel projects to be stopped by the grassroots climate movement, but it will not be the last."
-- Craig Altemose, executive director of Better Future Project
For Immediate Release
September 23, 2015
Contact: Emily Kirkland, [email protected], 646 623 5271
Massachusetts Climate Activists Mobilize to Celebrate Pope Francis’ Visit to U.S.
Boston, MA - It often seems that nothing short of divine intervention could prompt the U.S. Congress to act on climate change.
In the absence of an actual miracle, a visit by Pope Francis might be the next best thing.
Pope Francis is scheduled to speak on Capitol Hill on Thursday on climate change and other issues, and Massachusetts activists are celebrating the pontiff’s leadership and using his visit as a long-awaited opportunity to bring attention to the urgent need to act on global warming.
Members of 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future, the statewide volunteer climate action network, are traveling to Washington, DC to greet Pope Francis at a massive climate rally and march on Thursday on the National Mall, timed to coincide with Pope Francis’ address to Congress.
“This is a unique opportunity to celebrate a great leader with a prophetic vision,” said James Michel, a member of the 350 Mass Boston node.
Others are commemorating Pope Francis' visit with events closer to home: climate activists are joining forces with local churches and community centers to organize vigils, panel discussions and screenings of Pope Francis' Congressional address. Events are currently planned in Boston, Lowell, Lexington, South Hadley, and many other places across the state.
Fran Ludwig, a 350 Mass member and retired science teacher, helped organize an event at St. Brigid’s, a Catholic parish in Lexington. She said: “As a Catholic and climate activist, I’m thrilled that the Pope is bringing his moral message to the U.S. By connecting the dots between the excesses of wealthy nations, climate change, and the suffering of the poor, he urges us all to rethink our relationship to the Creator, to the Earth and to each other.”
Religious leaders from across Massachusetts are also cheering the Pope’s visit and using it as an opportunity to advocate for immediate action on climate.
“The greatest moral issue humanity has ever faced is both a religious and a political issue – and the Pope is making that clear,” said the Reverend Doctor Jim Antal, Conference Minister and President of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. “The integrity, vision and commitment of Pope Francis – and now his presence in our nation’s capital – brings with it the hope of transformation.”
“Along with many other religious leaders, I am down in Washington, DC this week to celebrate the Pope’s visit to the US and to amplify his call for bold action on climate. Out of a deep sense of moral call, people here are fasting, praying, and lobbying for climate justice. Politicians need to understand that climate justice is the moral challenge of our time,” said Reverend Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.
"As a Christian minister, I am delighted that the Pope has so clearly articulated the connection between loving our neighbors, loving our Creator, and acting boldly on climate. I hope the Pope's words prompt all people of faith to bolder climate action, for the sake of all our neighbors, locally and globally," said the Reverend Reebee Kavich Girash, Associate Pastor, The Eliot Church of Newton, UCC.
For Immediate Release
September 21, 2015
Emily Kirkland, Better Future Project, [email protected], 646 623 5271
Darcy DuMont, Divest Our Pensions Now, [email protected], 617 210 2201
David Schildmeier, Massachusetts Nurses Association, [email protected], (781) 830-5717
Massachusetts Pension Fund Lost $521 Million on Fossil Fuel Holdings
Boston, MA — A new report released today by Trillium Asset Management reveals that the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) lost $521 million on oil, coal and gas holdings between June 2014 and June 2015.
“Over the last year, the Massachusetts pension fund lost approximately $10 million each week -- or close to $60,000 a hour -- on investments in oil, coal and gas companies. These same companies are the number one contributors to climate change, and they’re actively lobbying against clean energy solutions. It’s long past time to divest from fossil fuels,” said James Michel, one of the leaders of the state divestment campaign for 350 Mass for a Better Future.
"We are the largest organization of registered nurses in Massachusetts, and we're concerned about the impact of our reliance on fossil fuels on our environment and the public health, and now we are further alarmed to learn about these financial losses to our state’s pension fund. We already knew that fossil fuels were raising the prevalence of Lyme Disease in New England, flood-borne illnesses around the world, respiratory illnesses everywhere, and placing the long-term health of coastal communities like Boston at extreme risk. Now we know they're hurting Massachusetts pensions as well,” said Ryan Berard, Associate Director of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
The report comes as two bills that would divest the Massachusetts pension fund from all fossil fuels, S.1350 and H.2269(sponsored by Sen. Ben Downing and Rep. Marjorie Decker), await a favorable report in the Joint Committee for Public Service. Another bill, H. 2372 (sponsored by Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Ben Downing), which would create a commission to study divestment, may be acted on first by the committee.
“What is particularly surprising is that major financial leaders – such as former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson – have been warning about the danger of financial risk in coal and oil for more than a year,” said Bob Massie, board member of Better Future Project, one of the organizations leading the campaign for divestment of the state pension fund from fossil fuels. “As a result, institutions with hundreds of billions of dollars around the world have sold their coal and oil stocks. One has to wonder what information the PRIM board was examining or whose advice they were listening to that led them to retain equities with such poor prospects.”
In April, the Massachusetts pension board received a "D" rating on Carbon Risk Management from the Asset Owners Disclosure Project. Three months later, SEIU Local 509 and the Massachusetts Nurses Association submitted an open letter asking the board to address the financial risks posed by investments in oil, coal and gas. The letter was also signed by Educators for the Democratic Union, a caucus in the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and Divest Our Pensions Now, an organization of state pension fund contributors working to divest the pension fund from fossil fuels.
“It’s sad to hear that so much money has been lost. I don’t know why the PRIM board isn’t moving faster — what are they waiting for?” said Christine Crean of SEIU Local 509.
Four of the state’s public sector unions -- SEIU Local 509, SEIU Local 888, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and most recently the Boston Teachers Union -- have endorsed divestment, along with close to 50 legislators and dozens of religious, community and student groups. 14 towns and cities across the state have passed resolutions in support of divestment.
“The Boston Teachers Union is pleased to help further a discussion on how to take an investment approach that is both environmentally responsible and economically sound,” said Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union.
More than 175,000 teachers and state employees are part of the state’s pension fund, which has $62 billion in total holdings.
Last month, a similar analysis conducted on the California pension funds, also compiled by Trillium Asset Management, revealed a $5 billion loss over a one year period. On September 3rd, California legislators passed legislation that would divest the state’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, from coal.
Advisory for Wednesday Sept. 9th
Emily Kirkland, 646 623 5271, [email protected]
80+ Environmental Organizations, Clean Energy Businesses & Faith Groups to Launch Coordinated Campaign to Fight for Clean Energy
Simultaneous Press Conferences in Weymouth, Boston, Holyoke, Pittsfield, West Peabody and Fall River
WHAT: On Wednesday, 80+ environmental organizations, faith and community groups, and small businesses will join forces to launch Mass Power Forward, a brand-new statewide coalition that will provide a united front for advocates fighting polluting infrastructure and calling for a just transition to clean energy.
Advocates will come together at six simultaneous press conferences in Weymouth, Boston, Holyoke, Pittsfield, West Peabody and Fall River and unveil the full list of environmental organizations, community groups, small businesses and religious congregations that have endorsed the coalition’s principles.
Mass Power Forward will be particularly active at the State House, where representatives are currently considering several important energy bills. A major legislative hearing on energy is scheduled for September 29.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Wednesday, September 9
Boston: 9:15 am at the Greater Boston Food Bank Yawkey Distribution Center, 70 S Bay Ave, Boston
Holyoke: 9 am at Holyoke City Hall, 536 Dwight St, Holyoke
Weymouth: 11 am atNewell Playground, 184 Idlewell Blvd, Weymouth, MA
Pittsfield: 11 am outside the offices of Kinder Morgan, Kinder Morgan office, 137 North Street, Pittsfield
West Peabody: 9:30 am at Russell Trailhead at Independence Greenway, West Peabody
Fall River: time & location TBD
WHO: 80+ environmental organizations, faith and community groups, and small businesses from across the Commonwealth, including Environmental League of Massachusetts, Sierra Club, Toxics Action Center, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Clean Water Action, Conservation Law Foundation, The Acadia Center, Better Future Project / 350 Mass, Boston Climate Action Network, The Appalachian Mountain Club, and many more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Reaction to Decision by the California Assembly to Divest from Coal
The California Assembly just passed SB 185, a bill requiring the state's public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRs, to divest from coal. Better Future Project, which has been campaigning for divestment of the Massachusetts pension fund from all fossil fuels, released the following statement in response:
"The decision of the California Assembly to divest from coal is an enormous victory for the growing international divestment movement -- and a direct challenge to legislators in Massachusetts, who are considering a bill to divest the state pension fund from coal, oil and gas. As Massachusetts residents never tire of pointing out, Massachusetts has been first many times, from the American Revolution to modern-day battles over healthcare and marriage equality. Massachusetts could still be the first in the nation to divest from all fossil fuels, but with California moving towards divestment from coal, and other states actively considering even more sweeping divestment bills, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. Massachusetts lawmakers need to divest now -- or risk losing their reputation as national trend-setters." - Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator, Better Future Project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Claire Miller, Toxics Action Center, 781-775-1429, [email protected]
Linda Haley, 350Mass & Healthlink, [email protected]
Emily Kirkland, Better Future Project, 646 623 5271, [email protected]
47 Groups Sponsor Rally Outside Governors’ Energy Summit to Call for Renewable Energy Future
Hartford, CT - This morning, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy hosted an energy summit of five New England governors to address energy challenges facing the region. As the governors met, community leaders from across New England gathered outside to express their discontent with a decision-making process that has been entirely closed to citizen input, and to spell out what a sane and healthy energy future would look like.
“I traveled two hours to be here and I hope that my governor, Charlie Baker, knows that we came," said Linda Haley of Salem, Massachusetts in behalf of Healthlink and 350Mass. “We need our governors to be working together on how to upgrade our electric grid, repair leaks in existing gas lines, double down on energy efficiency, and put us on track to get to 100% clean renewable energy,” Haley added. “New England families should not be forced to pay to build any new or expanded fossil-fuel infrastructure.”
Huge corporations have proposed new fossil-fuel power plants and pipelines all over New England, sparking fierce resistance from local residents concerned about public health, climate change, and environmental degradation. Over the last year, grassroots groups have formed several new cross-state coalitions in order to fight proposed fossil-fuel infrastructure in a unified way.
“I got the wake up call when Kinder Morgan proposed to build a pipeline in my neighborhood. My group, StopNED, is connecting across state lines just like the governors are,” commented Cathy Kristofferson from Ashby, Massachusetts. “I live in Massachusetts, but I’m now connected to concerned residents across the region who want to see real solutions for our sustainable energy future.”
In a press release from Connecticut Governor Malloy, the governors’ meeting was described as a “private roundtable where the governors will discuss common solutions to energy challenges facing the region…”.
"New England has become a prime target for sale of highly radioactive fracked gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Our region is being assaulted with hazardous pipeline projects, toxic compressor stations and an alarming increase in antiquated energy infrastructure that will keep us bound to dirty energy sources. It's time for New England leaders to finally turn their backs on polluting fossil fuels of the past and invest now in clean, safe renewable energy of the present,” Jen Siskind, local coordinator Food & Water Watch Connecticut.
“While the governors have private roundtables, I am seeing concerned citizens gathering in living rooms to discuss real visionary solutions,” said Claire Miller, an organizer with the regional group Toxics Action Center. “Today’s action is a grassroots collaboration of 47 groups, from folks living along the Kinder Morgan and Spectra pipelines to people living next to dirty power plants, and this was with only three days notice. I hope the governors know that this is the tip of the iceberg.”
“Connecticut is pushing homeowners and businesses to convert to gas to create 280,000 new customers for the gas companies. Meanwhile, these conversions are funded in part by us and involve building 900 miles of new intrastate pipeline through our state. More than half the gas going across Connecticut is destined for export, so these are customers just to pick up what’s leftover. This energy plan that Governor Malloy advocates doesn’t make sense. The winter of 2014 was colder than the winter of 2013, yet the cost of energy went down without more gas pipelines,” Martha Klein, Connecticut Chapter Sierra Club, Communications Chair.
GROUPS SUPPORTING THIS STATEMENT
NEW ENGLAND WIDE: Toxics Action Center, Food & Water Watch, New England Regional Environmental Ministries, Mothers Out FrontMA: Grassroots Against Another Salem Power Plant, Climate Justice at Boston College, StopNED (Northeast Energy Direct), The LEAH Advocacy Group, Westfield Concerned Citizens, West Roxbury Quarry Neighbors for a Fossil Fuel Free Future, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, MA Interfaith Power & Light, Climate Action NOW (Western MASS), Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Plainfield Opposition to the Pipeline, No Fracked Gas in Mass, Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), Northfield Pipeline Awareness, North Quabbin Pipeline Action, Boston Climate Action Network, Move On Pioneer Valley, Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network, Arise for Social Justice, Boston University Students for a Just and Stable Future, The Enviro Show, WXOJ & WMCB, Better Future Project, 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future, Compressor and Pipeline Opposition in Windsor MA, Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, Nashoba Conservation Trust, CT: CT Coalition for Environmental Justice, Capitalism Vs. the Climate, Connecticut Chapter Sierra Club, RI: Fossil Free Rhode Island, Occupy Providence, Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition, NH: 350NH, STOP THE NH PIPELINE, NH Pipeline Awareness Network, Winchester Pipeline Awareness, 350 Maine, Community Water Justice, NY: Stop Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), Coalition to Protect New York, Frackbusters NY, VT: Just Power in VT, Rutland Area Climate Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 30, 2015
Contact: Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator for Better Future Project, 646 623 5271, [email protected]
As President Obama Visits Boston, Concerned Citizens Call on Him to Reject Keystone XL
Dozens of people greeted President Obama today upon his arrival in Boston for the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, calling on him to go beyond his veto of Keystone XL legislation and reject the pipeline entirely.
On February 24, President Obama vetoed a bill that would have issued an immediate approval for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Despite the veto, his administration still has not announced a final decision on the federal permit for the pipeline.
"President Obama took a stand last month by vetoing the bill that would have approved Keystone XL. We're calling on him to finish what he started by rejecting the pipeline once and for all,” said Shea Riester, Campus Divestment Organizer at Better Future Project and one of the organizers of today’s protest.
“For years, President Obama has been greeted by #NoKXL activists almost everywhere he goes, from Ohio to Massachusetts to South Africa and everywhere in between. We’ve rallied in the snow and in the summer heat, and the recent veto is proof that our grassroots movement is working. We’re here today to remind the president that we plan to keep fighting until he rejects Keystone XL,” said Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator at Better Future Project.
There have been dozens of Keystone XL protests, rallies, and vigils in the greater Boston area in recent years, including more than 25 arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience at the Westborough offices of Transcanada, the company responsible for building the pipeline.
The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would transport 800,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. The 1,700 mile pipeline route crosses farmland, ranches, hundreds of lakes and streams, and even the enormous Ogallala aquifer, one of the country’s most important sources of freshwater. The corrosive bitumen carried by the pipeline would heighten the risk of leaks and spills. In addition, the pipeline would encourage further development of the Alberta tar sands, one of the most carbon-intensive fuel sources on earth.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Emily Kirkland, 646 623 5271, [email protected]
Statement on the Boston Snowfall Record
Last week, Boston broke the all-time seasonal snowfall record, prompting celebration from city officials like Mayor Marty Walsh and prominent Bostonians like Harvard President Drew Faust. Many people, including some of Boston's leaders, have failed to connect the dots between climate change and the devastating impact of this winter’s storms. The following press statement was issued in response:
“Boston has made history, but it has come at a steep cost: this winter’s blizzards, which were fueled by climate change, meant lost jobs, missed school, and skipped doctor’s appointments for many people across the city. It may seem counter-intuitive, but global warming is bringing increasingly extreme weather to Massachusetts, including massive blizzards. Intense storms have increased by 71% in the Northeast since the 1950s. This winter’s record should be a wake-up call: we need to cut climate pollution by transitioning away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible.” - Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator, Better Future Project
"Historic numbers of homes, schools, and commercial buildings were damaged as a result of the record-breaking storms. Our state economy suffered from lost wages and profits, as well as the unprecedented cost of removing snow from city streets. Here’s what we know: as global temperature increases, we will experience more extreme weather. Our infrastructure will be increasingly challenged by temperatures, winds, intense precipitation, storm surges, and floods that we simply didn’t design for because they were not part of our past experience. I hope we take this opportunity to address the causes of climate change, while becoming more resilient to the impacts we can no longer avoid." Juliette Rooney-Varga, Associate professor at UMass Lowell, director of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative
"Mayor Walsh may not care much about city superlatives beyond sports teams and snow totals, but the Hub is also home to the nation's fastest growing homeless population, the highest poverty rates since the 1960s, and the greatest income inequality for a city its size. I'd encourage His Honor to look out his back door and recognize the majority of residents who rely on our city's crumbling infrastructure and criminally inadequate transportation system to commute to jobs not protected by paid time-off. I'd ask Mayor Walsh to remember that these people, families, and communities most affected are disproportionately people of color. And that we matter. Maybe if he did he'd realize this winter in Boston has been nothing to celebrate." - Seneca Joyner, director of The History Collective and lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Boston.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Emilia McGrath, 207-522-8168, [email protected]
Lesley University Sells Direct Holdings in Fossil Fuels
Student Leaders Call on Board of Trustees to Divest the Remainder of the Endowment
Cambridge-based Lesley University just became the first school in the Boston area, and the second school in Massachusetts, to divest any portion of its endowment from fossil fuels.
School administrators have said that Lesley has sold all of its direct holdings in the top 200 publicly traded oil, gas and coal companies -- a total of $7 million worth of investments, out of a total endowment of $189 million.
The partial divestment comes in response to a year-long student campaign that has included petitions, rallies, and meetings with administrators and the Board of Trustees.
Student leaders of the school's divestment campaign said that they would continue to call on the trustees to divest the remainder of the endowment, including indirect holdings.
"While we're incredibly proud of Lesley, the fight is not yet over," said Emilia McGrath, one of the student leaders of the campaign. "It is immoral to continue to invest in an industry that directly undercuts Lesley's mission to contribute to shaping 'a more just, humane and sustainable world.'"
The Lesley Board of Trustees is meeting today and tomorrow. Students, faculty, and community supporters will rally today at 1:30 pm at 33 Mellen St in Cambridge, outside a meeting of the school's investment committee.
Students are asking Lesley to freeze all new investments in oil, coal and gas companies and commit to a 5 year plan for full divestment from the top 200 publicly traded oil and gas companies.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Emily Kirkland, Better Future Project, 646 623 5271, [email protected]
Hundreds Rally on Boston Common to Call on National Grid to Save Cape Wind
“We Are Not Giving Up”, Jim Gordon Says
More than 300 people gathered on Boston Common today to call on Marcy Reed, President of National Grid in Massachusetts, to save the nation’s first offshore wind farm by reinstating National Grid’s contract to buy 50% of the power produced by Cape Wind. Rally attendees chanted, sang, and planted 130 colorful three-foot-tall pinwheels in the snow to symbolize the 130 offshore wind turbines of Cape Wind.
Over the last week, 93,000 people have signed a CREDO Action petition calling on National Grid to save Cape Wind, and more than 3,000 people have signed a similar petition created by Better Future Project.
Cape Wind has been in trouble since early January, when National Grid and Eversource Energy backed out of their contracts to buy power from Cape Wind after a series of lawsuits funded by oil and gas billionaire Bill Koch made it difficult for the project to secure full financing.
“We are not giving up -- we have just begun to fight,” said Jim Gordon, the developer of Cape Wind, at today’s rally.
“Oil and gas billionaire Bill Koch has openly acknowledged that his whole strategy has been to delay, delay, delay through endless lawsuits until Cape Wind is worn down. We cannot allow him to win. We cannot set a precedent by allowing a fossil fuel billionaire to kill the first offshore wind project in the United States,” said Carolyn Barthel, a volunteer leader with 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future.
On February 18, National Grid announced that they would be purchasing a 20% stake in the Access Northeast gas pipeline expansion, one of several new gas pipelines proposed for Massachusetts. Rally attendees called on National Grid to invest in wind turbines, not gas pipelines -- starting with Cape Wind.
Vanessa Rule, co-founder of Mothers Out Front, said: "We, as mothers and grandmothers, are calling on business leaders and elected officials to exercise bold leadership to protect all children's future. They must choose clean renewable energy end the era of fossil fuels. They must choose Cape Wind over new fracked gas pipelines."
“As people of faith, we believe that investing in clean energy is right for the people of our state and the future of our planet. We are all part of the interdependent web of existence and we must not be deterred by those who would sacrifice our collective future for individual, short term gains,” said Laura Wagner, LICSW, Executive Director of UU Mass Action.
If built, Cape Wind would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, providing enough power to meet 75% of electricity demand on Cape Cod and the Islands. The project would also create 600 to 1,000 jobs in Massachusetts.
“To reach 100% renewable power, Massachusetts needs to get more than half of its electricity from offshore wind, and building Cape Wind is a vital first step,” said Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator for Better Future Project.
Better Future Project organized the rally, along with partner organizations Mothers Out Front, Climate Action Business Association, Jewish Climate Action Network, Healthlink, UU Mass Action, and the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, plus sponsor Clean Water Action and endorsers Cape Downwinders, Commit2Respond and Environment Massachusetts.
CONTACT: Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator, Better Future Project
[email protected], 646 623 5271
Hundreds Will Rally on Boston Common To Call on National Grid to Save Cape Wind
Nearly 100,000 Have Signed Cape Wind Petition
WHAT: Hundreds of people will gather on Boston Common to call on Marcy Reed, President of National Grid in Massachusetts, to invest in wind turbines, not gas pipelines -- beginning with the reinstatement of National Grid’s contract to buy 50% of the power produced by Cape Wind.
After a brief rally, activists will plant 130 colorful oversized pinwheels in the snow to symbolize Cape Wind’s 130 offshore wind turbines.
WHERE: Boston Common
WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 1 pm
GREAT VISUALS! Hundreds of people, including students, children, and families, rallying on the Common and planting 130 oversized pinwheels in the snow
Over the last week, 93,000 people have signed a CREDO Action petition calling on Marcy Reed, President of National Grid in Massachusetts, to save the nation's first offshore wind farm by reinstating National Grid's contract to buy 50% of the power produced by Cape Wind. Another 3,659 have signed a similar petition created by Better Future Project.
Cape Wind has been in serious trouble since early January, when National Grid and Eversource Energy backed out of their agreements to purchase power from Cape Wind, after a series of lawsuits funded by oil and gas billionaire Bill Koch made it difficult for the project to secure full financing.
Better Future Project is organizing the rally, along with partner organizations Mothers Out Front, Climate Action Business Association, Jewish Climate Action Network, Healthlink, UU Mass Action, and the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, plus sponsor Clean Water Action and endorsers Cape Downwinders, Commit2Respond and Environment Massachusetts.
February 6, 2015
Susan Dowds, 617-460-6133, [email protected]
Emily Kirkland, 617-623-5271, [email protected]
Activists Will Rally at MA State House for Global Divestment Day
Financial Panel, Rally, Procession and More to Highlight Growing Support for Divestment
WHAT: From February 12-14, tens of thousands of people worldwide will join “Global Divestment Day” rallies, marches, and events to call for divestment from fossil fuels. Here in Massachusetts, hundreds of people will gather at the State House on February 12 for a full day of events hosted by 350Mass / Better Future Project. The events will show the strength of the growing movement to divest the state pension fund from oil, coal and gas companies.
10 am - 11:30 am, Gardner Auditorium: Carbon risk panel with top financial experts, including Tom Francis of Fossil Free Indexes, who will share an exciting announcement about FFI’s latest research on the world’s top fossil fuel companies. (Panel sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Downing, Rep. Marjorie Decker and Rep Frank Smizik)
Noon – 1:30 pm, Gardner Auditorium: Voices for Divestment rally featuring community leaders and speakers from faith, labor, and social justice groups, including Reverend Jim Antal, Boston City Councillor Michelle Wu, and Tim DeChristopher, who famously spent two years in federal prison for his climate activism
1:30 – 2:00 p.m: Procession from Gardner Auditorium to a rally in Nurse’s Hall
3 p.m. - 5 p.m, Gardner Auditorium: Youth rally
VISUALS: Hundreds of activists in Gardner Auditorium, all dressed in orange; procession from Gardner Auditorium to a rally in Nurse’s Hall
Both SD 625, filed by Sen. Ben Downing of Pittsfield, and HD 1530, filed by Rep. Marjorie Decker of Cambridge, would divest the MA pension fund from fossil fuels. Since last year, the movement to divest the state pension fund has grown tremendously, with nearly a dozen towns, scores of legislators, and a wide array of student, faith, labor, health and environmental groups calling for divestment.
The divestment campaign highlights a conflict that most politicians are reluctant to address: if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming, most known fossil fuel resources need to stay in the ground. Yet fossil fuel companies continue to extract and sell their existing reserves, and are exploring ever more sensitive areas to find new ones.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2015
Contact: Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator for Better Future Project, [email protected], 646 623 5271
Climate Activists Launch “Hail Mary” Campaign to Save Cape Wind
With Cape Wind facing canceled contracts and growing obstacles, climate activists have taken a page from the NFL’s book and are launching a “Hail Mary” effort to save the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
Over 1,000 people have already signed a petition calling on Marcy (“Mary”) Reed, the president of National Grid in Massachusetts, to reinstate National Grid’s contract to buy 50% of the power produced by Cape Wind. On February 28, hundreds of concerned citizens will gather on Boston Common to throw “Hail Mary” passes and call on Marcy Reed to make the winning catch and save Cape Wind and the thousands of offshore wind jobs that it represents.
“Reed has been a long-term and enthusiastic supporter of offshore wind. Now, Cape Wind’s fate lies in her hands. By reinstating National’s Grid contract with Cape Wind, she can save the nation’s first offshore wind farm, help create thousands of jobs, and move toward securing Massachusetts’ clean energy future,” said Craig Altemose, Executive Director of Better Future Project, which is spearheading the petition drive and rally.
National Grid and Northeast Utilities, which had agreed to purchase power from Cape Wind, backed out of their agreements in early January, after a lawsuit funded by oil billionaire Bill Koch made it difficult for the project to secure full financing. Now, after 14 years of effort, Cape Wind is on life support, at best.
“Unlike Tom May, the CEO of Northeast Utilities, who has opposed Cape Wind since the beginning, Marcy Reed is on the record calling for more offshore wind in Massachusetts. This is her chance to act on her convictions, with support from people across Massachusetts and beyond,” said James Razsa, Director of Campaigns at Better Future Project.
For Massachusetts to get all of its power from renewables, as much as 55% of our electricity will need to come from offshore wind. The activists are calling on Reed to focus on renewables instead of building dangerous and unnecessary new gas pipelines and plants.
“Gas is not the solution to our energy problems: gas drilling wells, pipelines and plants pose unacceptable health and safety risks to surrounding neighborhoods and communities, and extracting, transporting and burning gas contributes to climate change, fueling mega-storms like this week’s blizzard,” said Altemose. “We need to invest in a clean energy future, and the best way to start is by building Cape Wind.”
January 12, 2015
Contact: Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator for Better Future Project, [email protected] , 646 623 5271
Vigils Across the State to Protest Keystone XL Pipeline
WHAT: As leaders in Washington, DC grapple over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, Massachusetts residents are standing vigil to call for the rejection of the pipeline and a ban on tar sands oil.
WHY: The controversy over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline heated up once again last week: the Nebraska Supreme Court issued a ruling that would allow the pipeline to go forward, and the House of Representatives passed a bill approving the pipeline, defying President Obama’s veto threat.
If the pipeline is approved, as much as 18% of Massachusetts’ oil could come from the tar sands by 2020, according to a January 2014 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Concerned citizens are calling for President Obama to reject the pipeline once and for all, and are calling on state leaders to ban tar sands oil here in Massachusetts.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Tuesday, January 13, 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Courthouse steps, Main and King Streets, Northampton
Tuesday, January 13, 6pm – 7pm
City Hall, 455 Main Street, Worcester
Tuesday, January 13, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Coolidge Corner, Harvard Ave & Beacon St, Brookline
Tuesday, January 13, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Harvard Square T Station, Harvard Square, Cambridge
VISUALS: Each vigil will feature dozens of people with signs, candles and banners demanding a ban on tar sands oil and the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.