SOMERSET, Mass. – Dozens of climate activists were arrested Sunday at a rally protesting a coal-fired power plant in Somerset.
Forty-four protesters demanding cleaner, alternative fuel sources were arrested at the Brayton Point Power Station and charged with trespassing.
Up to 400 activists from across New England and the Northeast gathered at the power plant site. The protest was organized by 350.org Massachusetts.
Bruce Henderson, of Bennington, Vt., said he’s very concerned about the use of fossil fuels and the negative impact he says they’re having on the environment.
A march was led by 44 protesters wearing red shirts identifying them as willing to risk arrest by carrying models of windmills and solar panels as they marched onto the power plant’s property.
Organizers of the event, which was part of national actions by 350.org, worked with police in planning the protest. No injuries were reported.
Dominion, the owner of Brayton Point, is selling the plant to a private equity firm as it focuses on businesses in other states with regulated energy markets.
The use of coal has been declining in New England. In 2000, coal was the third-most-used fuel for electricity in the region, accounting for 18 percent of New England’s power.
As of last year, it produced 6 percent of regional power, according to grid operator ISO New England.
Several factors have cut its use: the expense of upgrading older plants, regional energy preferences and pressure from anti-pollution activists such as 350.org, But the biggest influence is the low price of natural gas.