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Climate Activists Launch Perpetual Stand-Out at Massachusetts State House, Demanding No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Extinction Rebellion Boston and Scientist Rebellion have united a community of climate justice and social progress organizations to demand that the Massachusetts governor and legislature ban new fossil fuel infrastructure as the first step to a rapid and just decarbonization.

Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion condemn new fossil fuel infrastructure that will be in operation for decades, preventing us from achieving decarbonization required by the 2021 Climate Law and threatening us with runaway global heating and an uninhabitable Earth.

BOSTON, MA — Starting on Monday June 5, climate activists are holding "stand-outs" in front of the Massachusetts State House, demanding that Governor Healey halt planning and construction on all new or proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and that the MA House and Senate introduces legislation that bans new fossil fuel infrastructure. Every business day, from 9 am to 5 pm, at least two volunteers stand in front of the State House with banners and flyers, distributing information about the climate crisis and pressuring lawmakers to take immediate action. Organizers say this Stand-Out will remain in effect until the No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure demand is met.

The Stand-Out was organized by members of Extinction Rebellion Boston (XR) and Scientist Rebellion (SR), and quickly grew into a coalition including members of 350 Mass, the Sunrise Movement, Fridays for Future, Third Act, Poor People's Campaign, Boston May Day Coalition, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS), Red Rebel Brigade of Boston, Our Revolution Mass Climate Working Group, Elders Climate Action, and Community Members of Dudley Massachusetts.

Amy Tai, a member of the Poor People's Campaign and a State House Stand-Out volunteer, says "I want people working in the government to think about the collective good of the planet, and not just about a very small group of constituents. I believe that Governor Healey could possibly be moved to act rationally. The climate crisis results from exploitation of human beings and natural resources, greed and oppression in general, so fighting the climate crisis means fighting for a world free of racism, classism, sexism, and oppression of any kind. It means envisioning a just society where all life on this planet is treated with respect and dignity, and where love not fear reigns above all."

The Stand-Out begins at 9:00 each weekday morning when a small group of activists deliver a handwritten postcard to Governor Healey's Executive Suite. Postcards express individual volunteers' fears about the climate crisis, urging the Governor to implement an immediate ban on infrastructure that fuels it. The activists invite the Governor and any members of her staff to join them outside at any point during the day to learn more about the crisis and about how to respond to it. After this greeting, activists take their places in front of the State House, where they interact with passers-by and legislators. Shortly before the State House closes at 5:00, volunteers return to Healey's office to remind her staff that the Stand-Out will continue in the morning.

Julia Hansen, one of the XR Boston organizers of the Stand-Out, said, "I am committed to showing up consistently at the State House because we have nearly run out of time for climate action - and our leaders are pretending otherwise. Massachusetts can and should be a leader on the climate. Instead we just have nice words from our elected state officials and a few subsidies for clean energy, while the science is clear that we need to stop using fossil fuels altogether within the next few years if we are to avoid disastrous effects of global warming, including massive simultaneous crop failures, uncontrollable wild fires and accelerating rates of species extinction."

Hansen continued, "As the easy, common-sense first step, MA needs to cancel all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the state. We need a transition away from fossil fuels NOW, not after the several decades over which these infrastructure projects would be used. As a woman in her mid-30s who understands the climate science, I am afraid to start a family, knowing that our government's inaction means that we're on track for millions of people to suffer unnecessarily in the coming decades because our society is addicted to fossil fuels. Refusing to stop fossil fuel use is like sending children who are born today on a plane that has a 50-50% chance of crashing. Who in their right mind would sign up for that?"

Elected officials have already expressed support for the Stand-Out activists. During the first week of the Stand-Out, more than 20 activists stood in shifts outside the State House, holding banners that read "Tell the Truth about the Climate Emergency" and "No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure". On the second day, Representative Carmine Gentile of the 13th Middlesex district publicly expressed support for the No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure demand. On the third day, activists delivered the demand directly to Governor Healey on the State House steps. On the fourth day, the Chairperson of the Wellesley Select board thanked XR Boston volunteers for their "Emergency Everywhere" campaign, which played a significant role in making the climate crisis an urgent topic in Wellesley.

Extinction Rebellion's NO NEW FOSSIL FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE demands include:

Governor Maura Healey must halt construction on all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. House Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka must introduce legislation that places a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure and cancels all fossil fuel infrastructure projects currently being constructed or proposed.

The Commonwealth has the ability to be a national leader during the rapid transition away from fossil fuels to green renewable energy. We should stop investing rate-payer money in fossil fuel infrastructure that will need to be abandoned before its full useful life. In addition, the state must start building local jobs around alternatives to natural gas, including geothermal and electric heating sourced from clean renewable energy.

Banning new fossil fuel infrastructure includes:

  • NO new fossil fuel power plants
  • NO new gas hookups
  • NO new natural gas distribution pipelines, transmission pipelines, or compressor stations
  • NO new liquified natural gas production facilities, storage facilities, or terminals
  • NO new gas stations or other gasoline and diesel infrastructure
  • NO new airports or airfield expansions​​​​​​​

Stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure under development, including:

  • MMWEC’s Peaker Plant in Peabody
  • NEC’s Liquified Natural Gas Facility in Charlton
  • LNG expansion to Douglas
  • L.G. Hanscom Airfield's North Airfield Development in Bedford
  • "Modernization" projects in Lowell and Worcester
  • "Reliability" projects in Western Mass. and Sharon-to-Brockton
  • The Hopkinton-Ashland Transfer Line
  • Meter stations in Longmeadow and Charlton

The Massachusetts State Government must make decisions based on the well-established scientific consensus of the climate emergency and stop fueling the climate fire with new fossil fuel infrastructure. New York State is already acting to ban certain fossil fuel infrastructure1, including recently-approved legislation to ban natural gas connections in new buildings. The law bans gas-powered stoves, furnaces, and propane heating, and effectively encourages the use of climate-friendly appliances such as heat pumps and induction stoves in most new residential buildings across the state. It requires all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and for taller buildings by 2029. In comparison, lawmakers in Massachusetts approved a paltry pilot program last year that would allow 10 cities and towns to ban fossil fuel-powered appliances in new construction and major renovations, if they meet certain requirements2.

The State House Stand-Out is launched contemporaneously with a multitude of climate-driven disasters and political acts of folly. The Biden administration recently approved the ConocoPhillips's Willow Project in north Alaska.3 The UN International Seabed Authority just announced that it will begin taking applications from companies to mine the ocean floor this July.4 This year, record temperatures for the month of April were set in China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.5 The UK government is considering whether to approve a new oil and gas field in the North Sea.6 According to a 2022 World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London report, there has been a 70% reduction in animal populations since 1970.7 Meanwhile, 2021 was Boston's hottest year on record8, and studies have shown that New England is warming faster than the rest of the planet.9

According to a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, without an immediate transition to renewable energy, humanity “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”10 Yet Massachusetts continues to build new greenhouse-gas-spewing fossil fuel infrastructure, and residents will suffer the consequences.

  1. New York State banning fossil fuels in new construction
  2. Massachusetts limited fossil fuel program
  3. In Pristine Alaska, an Oil Giant Prepares to Drill for Decades
  4. UN to start taking deep-sea mining applications this July
  5. Large swathes of Asia are sweltering through record breaking temperatures
  6. Does the UK really need to drill for more North Sea oil and gas?
  7. Animal populations experience average decline of almost 70% since 1970, report reveals
  8. 2021 was Boston's warmest year on record
  9. New England winters are getting much warmer, data show
  10. The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group II report

Photo and Video Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1RCUg4e1a9T20Oi8_WFD8Xja8xSHf9lAE

Blog: https://statehousestandout.wordpress.com/

Real-Time Twitter Coverage: Extinction Rebellion Boston

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