Extinction Rebellion Boston occupies Seaport Boulevard bridge in Earth Day action

More than 300 climate activists from Extinction Rebellion Boston (XR) and affiliated groups marched along downtown Boston's Greenway and occupied the Seaport Boulevard bridge on Monday April 22 in a mass action marking Earth Day.

The event began at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park with a celebration featuring music, dancing, face painting, and games. Hundreds gathered, including families, to "party for the planet," and at about 5 pm the crowd assembled into a march featuring local activist brass bands Good Trouble and BABAM. The activists occupied two lanes of traffic in a parade down Purchase Street disrupting evening rush hour traffic as they moved southbound toward South Station. The march then turned onto Seaport Boulevard and stopped, occupying the two outbound lanes of the Evelyn Moakley bridge, and holding a second celebration for nearly an hour with rebels giving impassioned speeches.

Both the march and the bridge occupation featured art celebrating the planet and biodiversity, including a giant papier maché bird, a multi-headed dragon, a whale, and large puppets. Activists also carried large, multi-colored banners reading "No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure," "Rebel for the Planet," and "Climate Justice Now" and chanted "Governor Healey, you make the rules, time to ban new fossil fuels."

"We’re out here today to celebrate this Earth Day and our planet — and to be in joyful community with one another — but we’re also here because the window to address the climate emergency is quickly closing," said Chloe Heskett, event organizer and spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Boston. "This is the 54th Earth Day. The impact of fossil fuels on our planet, our fellow creatures, and, increasingly, on ourselves has been known for decades. It’s past time to take the first step; we call on Governor Healey to immediately halt new fossil fuel infrastructure."

Extinction Rebellion Boston demands that the Healey administration ban New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure by immediately taking the following steps:

  • Issue a public announcement that the Governor is committed to a No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure policy for the Commonwealth, including new natural gas hookups and airfield expansions.
  • Issue a public commitment that the Governor will only appoint policymakers who are opposed to new fossil fuel infrastructure to the Energy Facilities Siting Board, Department of Public Utilities, and MassPort, the key independent agencies that permit new energy infrastructure and airfield expansions, respectively.
  • Work with Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka to introduce legislation that would permanently ban new natural gas hookups along with other forms of new fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts

Banning new fossil fuel infrastructure includes:

  • NO new fossil fuel power plants
  • NO new residential or commercial gas connections
  • NO new or expanded 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 includes:

  • Enbridge's Maple Project, an expansion of the Algonquin transmission gas pipeline
  • L.G. Hanscom Airfield's North Airfield Development in Bedford
  • Cape Cod Gateway Airport Runway Expansion in Hyannis
  • NEC’s Liquified Natural Gas Facility in Charlton
  • LNG expansion to Douglas
  • "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​​​​​​​

"A full year has passed since Governor Healey entered office, yet we witness no progress from the Healey administration toward halting new fossil fuel infrastructure, despite pledges and numerous protests," said Alex Chambers (they/them), spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Boston. "Extinction Rebellion will continue to disrupt various sectors of society until the Healey administration takes the critical first step in addressing the climate emergency by introducing a ban on new gas hookups. Our future depends on immediate and decisive action, and until new fossil fuel infrastructure is banned, we will escalate in our disruption." Chambers has been arrested ten times over the past four years to pressure the MA government to decarbonize.

For the past 46 weeks, Extinction Rebellion and allies have held an ongoing stand-out in front of the General Hooker entrance to the State House, calling on the Commonwealth to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, and XR activists have staged four sit-ins at the Massachusetts State House, among other actions, demanding the Governor take action. Following months of pressure, a meeting was arranged in August 2023 between Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer, XR members, and other representatives from the Healey administration. Hoffer acknowledged Massachusetts' inability to meet its 50% reduction in emissions target for 2030, set by the 2021 Act Creating A Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. Despite assurances during the meeting about a forthcoming public statement opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure, neither Hoffer nor Healey have made such a statement. Just two days ago, 20 activists from XR were arrested while carrying out a nonviolent direct action at Hanscom Airfield to oppose the expansion of the airport, a proposal that would largely serve to accommodate increased private jet usage.

The Massachusetts State Government must align decisions with scientific consensus on the climate crisis and halt the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. New York has taken proactive steps, recently passing legislation to ban gas connections in new buildings, promoting climate-friendly alternatives like heat pumps and induction stoves. It requires all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and for taller buildings by 2029. In contrast, Massachusetts approved a limited pilot program last year for ten cities and towns to ban fossil fuel usage in new buildings. Extinction Rebellion condemns new fossil fuel infrastructure that will be in operation for decades, preventing us from achieving decarbonization and enabling the fossil fuel industry to drill our futures away for short-term profit.

Our recruiting, training, and capacity building is supported by the Climate Emergency Fund, which strategically supports ultra-ambitious organizations demanding solutions to the climate crisis at emergency speed.


Upcoming Events: