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Communities in Action
On Massachusetts’ South Coast, Neighbors Unite Against Spectra Energy: The fight to stop dirty fossil fuels continues
When Wendy Graça learned that Spectra Energy wanted to build a new high-pressure pipeline through her driveway in East Freetown, Mass., she jumped into action. She helped found the community group South Coast Neighbors United (SCNU), and with your support has spent the past year engaging in a whirlwind of activity involving research, group meetings, testifying at public hearings, and educating her neighbors.
The fight that Wendy and SCNU are waging against Spectra is one piece of a much bigger battle. The pipeline proposal that motivated Wendy to get involved is part of a massive expansion called Access Northeast, which includes gas storage tanks, compressor stations and hundreds of miles of new pipeline. With coal-fired power plants and the dangerous Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station powering down, the fossil fuel industry has rushed to fill the void with billions of dollars of proposals like these across our region. Massachusetts and New England face critical decisions about what kind of energy future to invest in. The need for local, healthy and clean energy—and for groups like South Coast Neighbors United, which are making their voices heard—is more critical than ever.
Your support has helped fuel SCNU for over a year now. In August, the group organized a special town meeting for residents to vote on the town’s position toward the expansion. Ahead of the meeting, the entire Toxics Action Center team came from across New England to pound the pavement. In just a few hours, we were able to gather several dozen endorsements from local businesses for the campaign, and we trained group leaders to gather dozens more. After SCNU member Roger Cabral made a powerful speech, the town voted to oppose the project. Roger summed up the win by saying, “It was gratifying to see the strong turnout at the Acushnet Town Meeting at which the residents delivered a clear message to the Board of Selectmen—Now, hopefully the Selectmen will begin to listen.”
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