Click our logo for the Sierra Club homepage.
Scrapbook: Sierra Club Calls for Massachusetts Coal Plant to Clean Up Its Act

« A Line in the Sand is a Powerful Thing | Main | Activists Help Craft New National Ocean Policy »

Sierra Club Scrapbook

July 08, 2011

Sierra Club Calls for Massachusetts Coal Plant to Clean Up Its Act


The Sierra Club recently teamed up with the National Wildlife Federation, the Holyoke chapter of Neighbor to Neighbor, and local partner Nuestras Raices to hold a media event in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to bring attention to the city's high asthma rates. One quarter of Holyoke's youth suffer from asthma, compared with a 10 percent statewide average.

Photo courtesy of CBS-3 News, Springfield

Organizing the event were Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign organizer Drew Grande, above, and National Wildlife Federation's Northeast Regional Outreach Coordinator Carol Oldham, formerly a Sierra Club organizer. That's Oldham, below at right, during her Sierra Club days, with Boston Sierra Club Chair Marry Ann Nelson and singer-songwriter Missy Higgins.


"We held the event in one of the community gardens of Nuestras Raices in order to make the point that even while people are trying to be healthy by growing and eating fresh veggies, it's difficult when pollution is constantly pouring down on them," says Grande.

Grande and Oldham called attention to the anticipated Ozone Alert days in Holyoke this summer, when the air is unhealthy for everyone to breathe and poses a significant health risk for sensitive groups like children, seniors, and people with respiratory issues. Below, neighborhood residents in the Nuestras Raices gardens.

Photo courtesy of CBS-3 News, Springfiled

"With the local television affiliates in attendance, we took the opportunity to point out that the Mt. Tom coal plant in Holyoke is a major contributor to smog and ozone in the city, which can trigger asthma attacks," says Grande. That's the Mt. Tom plant, below.

Photo courtesy of CBS-3 News, Springfield

"One out of four kids in Holyoke has asthma," Grande told CBS-3 TV News. "The Mt. Tom plant is putting out a huge amount of particulate matter that's exacerbating asthma in the area."

Photo courtesy of WWLP-22 News, Springfield

Vigermina Perez from Neighbor to Neighbor spoke about the five members of her family with asthma, including her 2-year old grandson Juniel. That's Perez with Juniel, below. She described how her infant great-grandson's asthma was so severe that he had to be hospitalized for three months when he was only 12 weeks old.


"It is tough for me—it's tough for all my family," Perez told CBS. "It's very hard to see somebody who cannot breathe. It affects children when you have to bring them to the emergency room, when they cannot breathe, when they can't sleep all night. Often you have to stay home with them because they're sick. We need to see a change here in Holyoke."

The EPA has just announced new regulations capping pollution from coal-fired power plants, prompting an outcry from GOP leaders in Washington, D.C. The Sierra Club is urging the agency to strongly enforce Clean Air Act protections in Massachusetts. "Improved air quality means an improved quality of life for families in the state," says Grande.

Photo courtesy of WWLP-22 News, Springfield

"Polluters like the Mt. Tom plan need to clean up their act," Grande told WWLP-22 TV News. "If you want to do business here, go ahead, but stop putting toxic pollution into the air that's making people in Holyoke sick."

Learn more about the Sierra Club's work to combat asthma and help move America beyond coal.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sierra Club Calls for Massachusetts Coal Plant to Clean Up Its Act:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2011 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.