9 Arrests after XR Boston and Scientist Rebellion Disrupt Formal Joint Session of MA Legislature, occupy House Chambers for 6 hours
BREAKING NEWS: 9 climate activists from XR and Scientist Rebellion arrested in the Massachusetts House chambers, after disrupting a joint legislative session and occupying for 6 hours, demanding Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka introduce bill to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure.
This action has already received coverage in WGBH, NBC 10, WBZ, State House News Service, WCVB 5, another WCVB 5, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Masslive, WHDH, Fall River Reporter, Yahoo Sports, and 89.7 FM.
Climate activists disrupt business as usual in the State House to demand that the MA legislature ban new fossil fuel infrastructure as the first step to a rapid and just decarbonization.
Massachusetts must place the well-being of every present and future human being above the fossil fuel industry's profits. We demand that MA legislature stop allowing new fossil fuel infrastructure to be built and cancel all current fossil fuel projects.
Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion condemn new fossil fuel infrastructure that will be in operation for decades, preventing us from achieving decarbonization and threatening us with runaway global heating and an uninhabitable Earth.
BOSTON, MA — On Wednesday, May 10, 9 climate activists from Extinction Rebellion Boston (XR) and Scientist Rebellion SR were arrested in the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. 11 non-violent activists disrupted a joint session of House and Senate members which began at 11 am. Reading from a list of demands, chanting, and preventing the legislators from proceeding with their planned session, activists risking arrest held a cloth banner reading "No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure."
When the legislators began to disperse in response, rebels stood up in the House gallery and began shouting at the House floor to place a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure, disrupting business as usual. Activists delivered their demands by reading aloud a memorandum outlining types of fossil fuel infrastructure to be banned. They chanted "Speaker Mariano, you make the rules, time to ban new fossil fuels," "Legislators, don't delay, ban new fossil fuels today!" and "Invest in people, not more pipelines!" State House security locked the doors to the chamber and refused to allow journalists or members of the public inside.
The activists refused to leave the House Chambers until Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka introduced legislation that bans new fossil fuel infrastructure and cancels all fossil fuel infrastructure projects currently being constructed or proposed. They began an occupation of the House Chamber that lasted for six hours, until 9 activists were arrested shortly after 5 pm. Throughout the occupation, Rebels spoke directly with journalists, sharing photos and videos of them chanting and singing their demands in high spirits.
Dr. Rose Abramoff, an Earth scientist and member of Scientist Rebellion, said, "The science is clear: limiting warming to 1.5°C means a total ban on all new fossil fuel infrastructure and an end to current projects. New fossil fuel projects are incompatible with our climate goals and unnecessary for a transition to clean energy." Abramoff was fired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory last December after disrupting the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting during a protest calling on her colleagues to take action on climate change.1 "Let's choose survival over even more profits for a wealthy few," she added.
Extinction Rebellion's NO NEW FOSSIL FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE demands include:
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
“We are out here risking arrest out of desperation. No other form of protest has had an effect on getting the state to take the climate emergency seriously," said Alex Chambers, event organizer and spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Boston. "It is insanity that the Commonwealth is still permitting new fossil fuel infrastructure in the midst of a climate emergency. We have less than three years to make a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy to keep the 1.5 C target alive. We are appealing to our elected leader's humanity. Do the right thing. Introduce a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure.” Chambers, an XR spokesperson, has been arrested seven times. They have put aside all academic and professional pursuits to organize climate protests full time in an effort to get the Massachusetts government to decarbonize.
This action is a part of Scientist Rebellion's week of action May 7-13 and The Science Is Clear campaign, which demands that societies and governments listen to the climate science and end the fossil fuel economy.2
Extinction Rebellion rebels previously staged a sit-in at the Governor's office this past February, calling on Governor Healey and Climate Chief Hoffer to publicly commit to no new fossil fuel infrastructure.3 During this sit-in, Hoffer met with the activists and heard their demands. Last September, 15 XR rebels were arrested while disrupting traffic across the city in an effort to raise attention on their No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure demand.4 Ten XR and SR rebels were arrested after blocking access to a private jet company at Hanscom Airfield in December.5
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 infrastructure,6 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 requirements.7
Extinction Rebellion Boston's disruptive action being carried out contemporaneously with a multitude of climate-driven disasters and political acts of folly. The Biden administration just approved the ConocoPhillips's Willow Project in north Alaska.8 The UN International Seabed Authority just announced that it will begin taking applications from companies to mine the ocean floor this July.9 Record temperatures for the month of April have been set in China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.10 The UK government is considering whether to approve a new oil and gas field in the North Sea.11 According to a 2022 World Wildlife Fund and Zoological Society of London report, there has been a 70% reduction in animal populations since 1970.12 Meanwhile, 2021 was Boston's hottest year on record13, and studies have shown that New England is warming faster than the rest of the planet.14
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.”15 Yet Massachusetts continues to build new greenhouse-gas-spewing fossil fuel infrastructure, and residents will suffer the consequences.
Extinction Rebellion Boston is an autonomous chapter of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), which started in London in 2018. The purpose of XR is to tell the truth about how dire the ecological and climate crises are and spark immediate action in order to prevent climate and ecological collapse. We aim to mobilize people around the world to utilize nonviolent direct action to demand that governments take radical action to avert societal collapse caused by widespread climate and ecological disaster and to protect frontline communities, biodiversity, and the natural world. This movement is non-political and unites all of humanity behind a singular goal of a just and livable future for all. Learn more about Extinction Rebellion at: xrboston.org
Scientist Rebellion Turtle Island is the regional chapter of Scientist Rebellion (SR), an international coalition of scientists. SR calls on all scientists and academics to speak out and take nonviolent direct action to support urgent climate mitigation measures that are socially just and environmentally sustainable. Climate Emergency Fund is Scientist Rebellion's primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building. Learn more about Scientist Rebellion at: https://scientistrebellion.org
- This Scientist Was Fired for Her Activism. She Says It’s Not Going to Stop Her
- The Science Is Clear - But the world is still ignoring it.
- XR Boston Stages State House Sit-In, Demands Governor Healey Ban New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
- 15 arrested as protesters attempt to block Boston traffic during rush hour commute
- 10 XR Rebels were just arrested at Atlantic Aviation in Concord after occupying the property for 4 hours!
- New York State banning fossil fuels in new construction
- Massachusetts limited fossil fuel program
- In Pristine Alaska, an Oil Giant Prepares to Drill for Decades
- UN to start taking deep-sea mining applications this July
- Large swathes of Asia are sweltering through record breaking temperatures
- Does the UK really need to drill for more North Sea oil and gas?
- Animal populations experience average decline of almost 70% since 1970, report reveals
- 2021 was Boston's warmest year on record
- New England winters are getting much warmer, data show
- The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group II report
Stop the Fossil Fuel Industry, Now: List of events for Extinction Rebellion Boston's September week of rebellion
A compilation of books, movies, articles, and ways to take action to protect Black lives
Nadia Colburn, PhD and member of Extinction Rebellion Media team, discusses how to talk about the climate and ecological crisis with family and friends.
Thu Feb 29th @ 6:30 p.m.
Sat Mar 2nd @ 9:30 a.m.
Sat Mar 2nd @ 3 p.m.