Today, the owners of the outdated Mt. Tom coal plant in Holyoke, Mass. announced they will retire the plant in October of this year. This marks the 166th coal plant to announce retirement and will make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to retire all of its coal plants since the Beyond Coal campaign began in 2009.
The announcement will jump start a redevelopment planning process that could include building local renewable energy on the site of the polluting coal plant. Just recently, the State of Massachusetts granted the city of Holyoke $100,000 for reuse and redevelopment planning in response to local demands for support in the event the plant retired.
In response, James McCaffrey, Sierra Club New England Campaign Representative issued the following statement:
“This announcement is a relief for families who have suffered from the impacts of dirty air polluted by the plant for far too long. It’s a testament to the power of community organizing and the great work of local organizations including Action for a Healthy Holyoke and Neighbor to Neighbor calling for cleaner air and an end to dirty coal in their communities.
“I’m proud to say that Massachusetts is again leading the way as one of the nation’s first states to move beyond coal, while on the very same day hitting a major milestone for installing new wind and solar power.
“Now, we’re counting on Governor Patrick to ensure the Holyoke community has the support they need for a responsible transition away from dirty coal power. We will continue to work with both the Governor and GDF-Suez to ensure the company treats their workers with dignity and respect, honors their union contract and supports the community in the transition.”