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The Lobster Boat vs. The Coal Freighter as Climate Activists Blockade Power Plant

In a David vs. Goliath scenario the Henry David T. puts itself between Energy Enterprise and New England's largest coal plant

Jon Queally

Steering a lobster boat called the Henry David T., two climate activists on Wednesday attempted to blockade a shipment of West Virginia coal from arriving at Brayton Point Power Station in Massachusetts, New England's largest coal-fired power plant.

The coal freighter, the Energy Entreprise, is believed to be carrying coal from a mountain top removal operation in Appalachia to the terminal in Massachusetts, setting up a 'David vs. Goliath' visual in which the activists in their tiny lobster boat put themselves between the massive coal ship and the power plant's terminal.

Updates from the site indicate that the Henry David T. and its occupants have been detained by the US Coast Guard.

In a statement released by Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, the two men behind the action—which is operating under the name #coalisstupid—said their blockade at Brayton is a locally-directed action inspired by the international climate activism network 350.org and their "Summer Heat" campaign.

Ward and O'Hara's statement called for Brayton Point to be "shut down immediately." And by “immediately,” they said, "We mean today." And offered these reasons:

First, every day of additional emissions is a terrible, immoral imposition on our children and, in ways we do not fully understand, on the other living things of God’s creation. Second, we do not need this power plant – efficiency measures alone can reduce demand by far more than the 6% of Massachusetts electricity generation supplied by the plant. Third, in order for the US to exert global leadership on climate, we must take decisive and difficult steps in the right direction for our own nation. The closure of all US coal plants, coupled with the sort of vigorous advancement of efficiencies and renewables that is much talked about but little acted upon, would create the political and moral basis for effective global leadership by the US, without which no global solution is possible.

We are faced with an imperative like none confronted by any previous generation; we are living in a society that is disavows responsibility for this greatest of crises, and lacks any process or means by which decisions, like that to extend the life of Brayton Point, might be affected. It is our choice to take direct, non-violent action – putting our bodies between the Brayton Point coal plant and its water-borne coal supply – in an attempt to achieve the outcome necessary for planetary survival; the immediate closure of Brayton Point Power Station.

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