Blockading A Coal Plant in Massachusetts (Breaking news)

Environmental activists have just taken up a position off shore of the Brayton Point coal plant, near Fall River Massachusetts, in an effort to block access by a ship attempting to deliver coal there.

This is the boat. This is the boat.

THIS is their web site, where there is a live Ustream.

One of the activists, Jay O'Hara, is tweeting from here: @oharjo and using the hashtag #coalisstupid

Here is a press release related to this event:


Activists have begun a blockade of an incoming coal ship at the Brayton Point Power plant, outside Fall River, Massachusetts.


At 9 am this morning, environmental activists Ken Ward, 57 of Jamaica Plain, MA, and Jay O’Hara, 31, of Bourne,MA, anchored their 32’ lobster boat, the Henry David T, in the channel opposite the Brayton Point coal power plant.

They intend to block the “Energy Enterprise,” a coal tanker en route to deliver fuel to the power plant. The boat is transporting “mountain top removal coal” from Hampton, Roads, Virginia –and is expected to arrive later today.

Activists are calling for the immediate closure of BraytonPoint Power Station in order to avert catastrophic climate change.

“The world is teetering on the brink of climate chaos from which there will be no retreat,” said Jay O’Hara, captain of the Henry David T, a 1965 wooden lobster boat. “We know exactly what must be done to avoid the very worst. And the single most important action is to stop burning coal.”

The Brayton Point plant is the single largest coal polluter in New England.

In a separate announcement, members of 350 New Jersey and 350 Massachusetts today released a letter that was hand delivered to Dominion President and CEO, Thomas F. Farrell II and New Jersey-based Energy Capital Partners founder and Senior Partner Doug Kimmelman, opposing the sale of Brayton Point and calling on Dominion Energy to work with Massachuetts Governor Deval Patrick to close the plan.”

At 9:30 am, Ken Ward called the Somerset police to inform them, “We are conducting a peaceful nonviolent protest against the use of coal. We have anchored near the pier atBrayton Point.”

The men were inspired to take action by co-founder Bill Mckibben’s call for a summer of climate action, and galvanized by the proposed sale of the BraytonPoint Power Station by Dominion Energy to Energy Capital Partners.

Image from the power station's web site.

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They all sound fairly idiotic. If they want to do something constructive than study some good science, get off your butts and vote in something better. Vote in real tax relief for people to change their homes and cars for better efficiency.. Vote in and build an off shore wind farm and then vote for the closer of the plant. If I was there and depended on the plant then I would be laughing at the silly people and ignore them completely.. With nothing there to replace it they are wasting their time they might as well go to church and pray that it closes, it will be just as effective.

I think this particular action is one prong in a multi-prong effort that includes things like what you are suggesting. Flamboyant civil disobedience by itself doesn't in the end get you much, and awareness raising is overrated as a strategy by itself. But it can be part of a larger strategy to cause change.

Greg, thanks for posting!

L. Long, we see the role of direct action is to create the conditions where there might be a possibility some day to vote for people who will do the things that you suggest. I have voted for politicians who support efficent homes and cars. I have voted for politicians who support Cape Wind, where I am from. Yet we are not doing enough, fast enough, to get to where (in my understanding) the science says we need to be going to prevent the worst outcomes of climatic disruption. At this point there isn't anyone running to close the plant, and that's why we did this action. We see the role of direct action to be creating the movement that makes those sorts of things possible. It galvanizes people. Gives people who haven't before the courage to speak out. We had people coming out of the woodwork in the neighborhood with stories of cancer and thanking us for there being someone finally with the courage to stand up to "the plant".

By Jay O'Hara (not verified) on 16 May 2013 #permalink

It all brings me back to my first job in Massachusetts, to survey the future site of the Fall River Heritage Park (which by the way included a bit of one of the Borden family mills active back in the day of ... the incident ...)

While working on that project I stopped at a tavern north of Fall River for lunch on the way home and managed to see the first live reports on the news of the president being shot.

During that reporting was the famous moment when Frank Reynolds sternly said "Let's just get this right" (following the reporting of Brady's death, which were greatly exaggerated).

We live in a society in which common sense is rarely the point of discussion in our media, we orient towards the sensational, and rarely get things right, from ax murders to assassinations to climate change. There is no particular strategy that should not be used. And yes, the problem is we are moving too slowly. We're only going to act as a society when conditions are extreme.

We can wait for those extreme conditions to fall upon us as climate change progresses, or we can create the extreme conditions with our activism. The later is the preferred rout.