Local environmental groups oppose proposed natural gas power plant proposed for Salem

March 27, 2012

By Justin A. Rice, Town Correspondent, Boston Globe

Several local environmental groups have raised concerns about a proposal to replace the coal-and oil-fired Salem Harbor Power Station with a natural gas facility.

SAFE, HealthLink and Clean Water Action released a statement on Monday saying they oppose New Jersey-based Footprint Power’s pending plan to buy the old fossil fuel plant and convert it into what  a more environmentally friendly facility. Read more.

Healthlink, SAFE and Clean Water Action state position

Groups Announce Opposition to Current

Natural Gas Plant Proposal in Salem

SAFE, HealthLink and Clean Water Action today announced opposition to the tentative proposal outlined by Footprint Power, proponents of a 600-720 MWh natural gas and diesel-fueled power plant on the site of the current Salem Harbor Station. The groups cautioned that the details of the proposal remain sketchy at this point, adding to the level of public concern. Serious questions regarding the health and safety of the area’s residents remain, following two public presentations by Footprint.


“We have deep concerns about the potential local impacts of the proposed plant,” said Jeff Barz-Snell, Co-Chair of SAFE.  “There is no natural gas capacity currently at that site. Will a pipeline need to be drilled under residential neighborhoods?  Will LNG tankers need to deliver fuel through the harbor? Is Salem being targeted to become an LNG port?”


Key questions concerning the proposed power plant include:

•             Is this plant needed since the current power plant has received authorization to close by the region’s electric grid managers?

•             Are taxpayer or ratepayer dollars being used to make this a profitable venture for a private developer?

•             How noisy would plant operation be for nearby neighbors?

•             What are the risks of explosion given the proximity of schools and homes in the area?

•             Will natural gas and or diesel fuel be stored on site?

•             How will a natural gas and diesel plant of this size affect neighborhood property values?


“There are elements of this proposal that are very positive, including the commitment to remove the current power plant and remediate the site for next phase use,” said Pat Gozemba, Co-Chair of SAFE. “We applaud this concept and feel that it’s key to moving forward to a new era for this valuable waterfront property. However, I fear that a power plant of this size will have a negative impact on the exciting marine developments proposed by the Salem Reuse Study Committee, on which I served.”

“After so many decades of working to protect the health of area residents, we cannot sign-off on more fossil fuel burning at such a large plant for another 60 years,” said Jane Bright, HealthLink spokesperson. “Had this been proposed in 1990, it could have made sense then. Today, we know too much about the devastation pollution causes to our bodies and our climate to support this for our densely populated north shore.”


“We appreciate the public briefings and the understanding on the part of the plant developers that there needs to be a serious community dialogue,” remarked Cindy Luppi of Clean Water Action. “Based on the information they have shared so far, too many concerns remain about a plant that would be a fixture in the neighborhood for decades to come.”


Dolores Jordan, an 83-year-old member of SAFE who has lived next to the power plant site for her entire life noted that, as proposed, this plant could be fired up several times a day. “These gas burning units can be as loud as jet engines,” Jordan said. ”How will that impact our neighborhood? Additionally, I’m concerned about the burning and storage of diesel fuel just a block from my house.”


While our organizations recognize that Salem needs the tax revenue that new harbor development would bring, we believe that the economic, health and safety risks associated with Footprint Power’s current proposal are still unanswered and may far outweigh the potential benefits.


SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment) is a group dedicated to addressing environmental issues through education, advocacy, and community organizing.

HealthLink is a non-profit organization on the North Shore working to protect public health by reducing environmental  toxins and pollutants through research, education and community action.

Clean Water Action is an organization of diverse people and groups joined together to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life with 30,000 members in Massachusetts.

March Heat Wave

From thinkprogress.org

By Joe Romm on Mar 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

2012 Heat Records Demolish Cold Records 14-to-1

It has been a summer to remember. In winter.

Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. As Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro says of the current heat wave:

This remarkable warmth is associated with a bulging ridge of high pressure aloft that is exceptionally strong and long-lasting for March. While natural factors are contributing to this warm spell, given the nature of it and its context with other extreme weather events and patterns in recent years there is a high probability that global warming is having an influence upon its extremity.

Read more.

Poisoned Weather: Global Warming Helped Fuel Killer Tornadoes

Mar 8, 2012


By Brad Johnson

Carbon pollution from fossil fuels is poisoning the weather, helping drive the conditions that created the killer tornado outbreak last week across the heart of the United States. More than 85 tornadoes killed at least 38 people and devastated communities in ten states. The furious storms formed as a strong cold front from the north crashed into high humidity and warm temperatures from the south. Read more.

Massachusetts, ISO New England officials reviewing potential power plant project

North America Power Partners
February 28, 2012

Officials in Massachusetts are backing proposed plans that would transform a coal-and-oil fired power plant into a natural gas facility.

The Boston Globe reports that Salem mayor Kim Driscoll is supporting a plan that would modernize the Salem Harbor Power Station. Whether utility company Dominion decides to sell the plant would dictate such a transformation, but supporters said it would effectively reduce the facility’s environmental toll and help bolster the region’s power generating capacity. Read More.

Greening the North Shore Community Development Coalition

The North Shore CDC has recently completed installing $323,745 of new heating systems and energy efficient weatherization techniques into many of its buildings in Salem. The North Shore CDC was awarded funding for this major rehabilitation project by Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), administrators of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Expiring Use energy efficiency program for low-income multifamily properties.  Read more.

Green Salem Business Challenge

“Good for the Environment – Good for Salem – Good for your bottom line”

3rd Annual Green Salem Business Challenge
Achieving Greater Shades of Green
April 1st – April 30th

Welcome to the Green Salem Business Challenge!

Launched during the summer of 2010, and now in our third year, the Green Salem Business Challenge (GSBC) is a joint partnership of the City of Salem, Salem Chamber of Commerce, Salem Recycles, Salem Renewable Energy Task Force, and North Shore Transportation Management Association (TMA). Our goal is to support – you, our Salem businesses, in your efforts to reasonably and practically reduce your environmental footprint, adopt green best practices, and increase environmental awareness among employees, patrons, and the general public. Challenge yourself to: initiate green practices and measure and assess your current green status through the GSBS survey and Greater Shades of Green palette . For previous GSBC participants this is an opportunity to measure your progress! Read more.


Court settlement with Salem power plant ends city’s coal era

February 7, 2012

By Tom Dalton
Staff writer Salem Evening News

SALEM — A federal court settlement announced yesterday between Dominion Energy Inc. and two environmental groups that accused the company of pollution violations signals the death of coal at Salem Harbor Station.

The agreement resolving a 2010 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court includes a stipulation that future plant owners cannot burn coal after 2014, when Dominion has announced it will shut down the fossil fuel facility. Read more.

More about Footprint/Dominion

February 2, 2012
By Tom Dalton
Staff writer The Salem News

The rows of chairs at Bentley School were nearly filled last year for two public meetings on a reuse study for the Salem Harbor Station power plant.

In attendance were city officials, environmental activists, and residents who live near the 745-megawatt coal- and oil-fired plant that is slated to close in 2014.

Also in the audience, listening but not speaking, were two executives from Footprint Power, a fledgling company from New Jersey formed to do just what Salem is trying to do: Find a new use for an old fossil fuel plant on its last legs. Read more.