Campaign To Shut Down New England’s Last Coal Plant Is Doing ‘What Must Be Done’ For The Planet

There’s one form of power that’s generated when hot water turns turbines to create electricity.

There are other forms of power held by investors, property owners and regulatory agencies.

And then there’s people power, which can be harnessed to affect decisions of investors, property owners and regulatory agencies — such that fossil fuel-burning operations cease running. That’s what the No Coal No Gas campaign seeks to do with its focus on shutting down New England’s last coal-burning power plant, Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire.

No Coal No Gas, which launched its first protest against the power plant in 2019, returned to Bow on Oct. 3 for a day of mass action. In addition to a rally on an adjacent ballfield and a flotilla of “kayaktivists” in the Merrimack River, campaign members planted gardens on company property, including a bed hacked out with pickaxes in the middle of an access road. 

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Report: Plastics To Outpace Coal In Driving Climate Change

Bennington, VT – Plastics are on track to contribute more climate change emissions than coal plants by 2030, a new report finds. As fossil fuel companies seek to recoup falling profits, they are increasing plastics production and cancelling out greenhouse gas reductions gained from the recent closures of 65 percent of the country’s coal-fired power plants.

The New Coal: Plastics and Climate Change by Beyond Plastics at Bennington College analyzes never-before-compiled data of ten stages of plastics production, usage, and disposal and finds that the U.S. plastics industry is releasing at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants.

And that number is growing quickly.

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Kayaktivists Are Working To Permanently Close Coal Power Plant

Julie Macuga paints two scenes when describing the Merrimack River – the first as a scenic site, where kayakers and canoers alike can float in nature. The second image is an ugly industrial site crowding the waterway with tall, brown smokestacks spewing clouds of carbon, polluting the water and air.

“It’s this beautiful place and it’s juxtaposed with this horrible coal plant,” she said.

Macuga was one of a group of protesters who paddled up and down the river on Wednesday in protest of the Merrimack Station power plant in Bow.

Just after the sun came up, she and eleven other “kayakativists” from the campaign No Coal No Gas took to the river at 6 a.m. in their latest demonstration in hopes of shutting down the plant.

The coal stack burned as the group sang and chanted, paddling up and floating back down in front of the plant.

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Cycle Tour Exposes Adani’s Destruction Of Country

Australia – More than 100 people embarked on the “Tour de Carmichael”, a 105-kilometre cycle for Country through sacred Wangan and Jagalingou land to Adani’s coal mine site in the Galilee Basin in early May. They reached the mine site on May 7.

The four-day action was led by Wangan and Jagalingou man, Coedie MacAvoy, son of Uncle Adrian Burragubba.

“It’s distressing to see the change in landscape. We don’t know what damage the mine will do to our sacred Doongmabulla Springs. That’s why we’re here — to expose Adani’s destruction of Country,” MacAvoy said.

The tour had previously stopped at a number of significant sites to the Wangan and Jagalingou people, and camped at “Dalgayu Dina”, the site on Adani’s pastoral lease where McAvoy and others have built a coroboree ground and campsite.

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Climate Activists Mount Utility Strike

Santa is not the only one giving out coal this year. Climate activists like Johnny Sanchez and Sonja Birthisel in Portland, Maine, recently sent their utility company an envelope of coal instead of payment towards their electric bill. This symbolic act of defiance, organized by the No Coal No Gas coalition, is part of a broad New England consumer strike against utility payments to protest the continued burning of coal.

The Strike Down Coal campaign launched on Sept. 1 and aims to continue until ISO New England — the system operator responsible for running New England’s energy grid and power system — agrees to stop subsidizing coal. By withholding payments, activists hope to send the utility company a message that burning coal is unnecessary, not to mention financially and morally irresponsible.

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Australia: Youth Sue To Stop Coal Mine Expansion

A class action launched on behalf of young people everywhere seeks an injunction to stop the Australian Government approving an extension to Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine, arguing it will harm young people by exacerbating climate change.

The injunction, filed in the Federal Court on Tuesday, is a first for Australia.

An expert says it could break new legal ground with widespread ramifications, causing problems for any new coal mine in Australia — and possibly any fossil fuel project — if it is successful.

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Climate Activists Are Closer Than Ever To Ending All Fossil Fuel Investments

When New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced last month that the state would divest its over $200 billion Common Retirement Fund from more than 20 coal companies, it marked an important milestone for a grassroots campaign that has seen a recent burst of new momentum. In an op-ed published on July 12, DiNapoli stated, “After a thorough assessment, the fund has divested from 22 thermal coal mining companies that are not prepared to thrive, or even survive, in the low-carbon economy.”

This victory is thanks to a near decade-long effort by activists who have been pressuring New York to divest from the companies most responsible for causing the climate crisis. A surge in youth-led activism has brought new energy to this campaign, putting pressure on both the comptroller’s office and state legislators. While New York still has not ended its investments in oil and gas companies, DiNapoli’s decision to divest from coal shows climate activists are having a real impact on one of the largest state pension funds in the United States.

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Little Village Covered In Dust During Respiratory Pandemic

Chicago, IL – City officials on Sunday sought to lay the blame for the massive dust cloud that descended on Little Village on a “dishonest” developer that demolished an old coal plant smokestack the day before.

But the city had an active role in the demolition, Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged, by approving permits and overseeing the work Saturday.

In the midst of managing the city’s battle against the deadly coronavirus “literally robbing people of their ability to breathe,” Lightfoot had to scramble to contain the damage from Saturday’s emergency.

Activists had begged the city not to allow the demolition, but it instead proceeded with representatives from the city’s Department of Health, Buildings and Fire Department on hand to watch.

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Siemens Annual Meeting Protested Over Support For Coal Mines

With hundreds of protestors chanting outside and an over-the-top security presence inside, Siemens annual general meeting (AGM) in Munich yesterday was dominated by stern criticism, by both institutional investors and ordinary Germans, of Siemens’ decision to stick with a contract to supply signalling technology for the Carmichael coal rail line.

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Hope Of A Sustainable Future In West Virginia’s Coal Country

An intimate portrait of West Virginia’s “coal country,” where locals plan for a sustainable future amid the devastation wreaked by the fossil fuel industry. On the national stage, there is not a lot of chatter about coal anymore. Once the fuel that drove the engine of US “progress,” coal use has plummeted primarily due to market forces and the difficulty in extracting the coal that is left. Despite the propaganda line, the one thing that has not killed King Coal is regulation — the little that ever existed.

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The Refugee Industry & Australia’s Still Burning – Coal

Caged for seeking freedom – migrants and refugees in the land of the free. Next, zooming out on the global refugee industry – because yes, that too – is a booming business. Finally, global droughts, and the fires of human folly; coal scare tactics leading Australia’s climate policy and how grassroots climate activists are fighting a massive mining project in the midst of a firestorm.

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Coal Train Protesters Target One Of New England’s Last Big Coal Power Plants

Climate activists halted a coal train bound for one of New England’s last large coal-fired power plants by building a barricade on the tracks and sitting on it for about eight hours this week. The delay was temporary, but it was the fifth time activists had stopped a coal train in the region in less than a month. The protest is part of an ongoing effort to eliminate coal-fired power production in New England. It also draws attention to what activists say is a costly and unnecessary subsidy for coal-burning power plants that consumers ultimately pay.

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FERC Props Up Coal And Gas In Clime Crime Decision Subsidizing Them Against Clean Energy

Federal energy regulators issued an order Thursday that likely will tilt the market to favor coal and natural gas power plants in the nation’s largest power grid region, stretching from New Jersey to Illinois. Critics say that it effectively creates a new subsidy to prop up uneconomical fossil fuel plants and that it will hurt renewable energy growth and, ultimately, consumers. The new rules, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, are designed to counteract state subsidies that support the growth of renewable energy and use of nuclear power.

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Coal Resupply Train Blockaded In Two States

This weekend across two states, a community of climate activists stopped 10,000 tons of coal in its tracks in three successive train blockades. This is the next step in a campaign that started in August to shut down the Merrimack Generating Station in Bow, New Hampshire – the last large coal-fired power plant in New England without a shut-down date. There is no justification for burning coal in 2019: it’s far too late for that. And taking responsibility in 2019 means taking action.

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How Britain Ended Its Coal Addiction

At Aberthaw Power Station on the coast of South Wales, Tom Glover examines a dwindling pile of coal for what may be the last time. At its peak in 2013, the coal-fired power plant generated enough electricity to keep the lights on in 3 million homes every year. But today—after almost half a century in operation—all is quiet. The furnaces are not running, there are no plumes from the smokestack, and there is no soot resting on the vehicles in the car park. The plant is simply trying to use up its remaining stockpile of coal before it closes for good early next year.

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