By Elizabeth Saunders, Massachusetts State Director
We have seen many fruits of our labor in Massachusetts over the past 12 months thanks to strong teamwork and grassroots muscle. Years of dedicated staff, member, volunteer, and coalition efforts have paid off and we celebrated victories and progress in 2013 across a variety of our campaigns.
- The state approved a 3-year Energy Efficiency Plan with nation-leading investments in gas and electric savings to help reach greenhouse gas reduction targets;
- The South Hadley landfill shifted its planning from expansion to closure as local grassroots pressure forced the DEP to crack down on waste ban violations;
- There has been progress at all three of the state’s coal burning plants, including an announcement that Brayton Point Station in Somerset will close in 2017.
- The DEP hired 3 new waste ban inspectors to monitor trash coming into the state’s incinerators, landfills and transfer stations–and issue fines to violators;
- The City of Boston passed two ordinances critical to sustainability, health and achievement of its 2020 climate goals;
- Retail giants Walmart, Target and Proctor and Gamble made commitments to new personal care and cleaning product standards (we share this victory with partners across the country!);
- We settled three more Clean Water Act Citizen Suits in Massachusetts turning penalties for industrial pollution into watershed protection projects;
- Our endorsed candidate and environmental steward Ed Markey joined the U.S. Senate.
The bar is officially set high for 2014! Our incredible team of talented, visionary, and experienced staff, board and local partners will help lead Clean Water Acton forward to accomplish more victories next year and beyond.
We don’t take on these big tasks alone. Stopping the damage we are doing to the planet and our bodies, creating just and sustaining communities, and taking our government back from major polluting corporations all call for many hands. As one of my favorite sayings goes, “if you’re doing it alone, you’re not doing it.”
Clearly, we’re doing it. With our numerous and incredible allies in many corners, we have what it takes to strategically leverage community leadership and keep growing our list of 2014 victories (another key election year!) to include:
- Elect more pro-environment candidates for important Executive offices and Legislative seats;
- Pass new policies and convince more retailers to replace toxic chemicals like formaldehyde in every day products
- Continue to build for a just and supported transition in communities that host coal fired power plants;
- Move the work of Boston’s new Zero Waste Task Force forward to increase Boston recycling rates while respecting workers and benefiting communities;
- Prevent the passage of weak legislation promoted aggressively by manufacturers hoping to avoid responsibility for end-of life recycling of their products;
- Continue educating the public and elected officials on pipeline leaks with more ‘gas leaks safaris’;
- Host more ‘efficiency road shows’ that bring together a broad range of stakeholders to advocate with utilities for community needs;
We look forward to working and celebrating these and more opportunities with our Massachusetts members, allies and friends in 2014.