Position Statement on Coal Energy Technologies


The undersigned organizations believe that the following principles should guide the acceptance or rejection of new coal energy technologies.

1. We will only support new coal energy technology or facility in Massachusetts if there is no net increase in emissions of carbon dioxide produced. Just as global warming is becoming accepted as one of the great challenges of our time, we must not start investing in energy technologies that lock us into decades of increased carbon emissions. When the entire lifecycle of production and combustion is taken into account, new coal gasification technologies for electricity generation have significantly higher emission rates than new combined-cycle natural gas plants.  Similarly, coal-to-liquids technologies would replace petroleum-sourced gasoline with liquefied coal gasoline and nearly double the carbon dioxide emissions per gallon of fuel.  These technologies fly in the face of state, regional and international goals to reduce global warming pollution.

2. We will not accept “Sequestration ready” as a substitute for on-the-ground sequestration of carbon dioxide. Presently, sequestration technologies are speculative. Unless and until sequestration technologies are proven to be commercially viable, geologically safe, and regionally feasible, the claim of "sequestration ready" should not be included in the estimation of a coal energy technology’s impact on carbon dioxide emissions.

3. We should invest first and foremost in truly clean energy, such as efficiency, demand response and renewable energy -- and funding should not be diverted from these clean energy resources to support coal-based technologies. Given that there are finite resources to invest in energy solutions, we should weigh all the benefits and costs of coal and its alternatives before investing in coal. While proposed coal technologies could help some parts of the nation become more energy independent, the New England states have no significant indigenous coal resources. As an alternative to coal, increased investment in energy efficiency and clean, safe renewable energy technologies would enhance regional energy independence and also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and local air pollution, increase fuel diversity, and avoid the devastating environmental impacts of coal mining. Further, increased energy efficiency investment would lower consumer bills by reducing energy use and tamping down wholesale energy prices. When weighed against the broad benefits of energy efficiency and clean, safe renewable energy, the heavy costs of coal are clear.

Jeff Seyler
American Lung Association of MA

Loie Hayes
Boston Climate Action Network

Sandra Gavutis
C-10 Research and Education Foundation

Dave Dionne
Campaign to Clean Up Brayton Point

Megan Amsler
Cape and Island Safe Reliance

Dr. Anna Manatis
Cape Clean Air

Mark Rogers
Cape Wind Associates

Adam Markham
Clean Air Cool Planet

Barbara Hill
Clean Power Now

Cindy Luppi
Clean Water Action

Werner Lohe
Climate Action Brookline

Rabbi Katy Allen
Coalition for Jewish Life & the Env.

Susan Reid
Conservation Law Foundation

Frank Gorke
Environment Massachusetts

Nancy Goodman
Environmental League of Massachusetts

Fred Schlicher
Massachusetts Climate Action Network

Susan Altman
Medford CAN

Sheryl Poole
Merrimack Valley Residents for the Env

John Friede
NESEA

Peggy MacLoud
Northampton Citizens for Climate Action

Julie Rawson
Northeast Organic Farming Association

Joan Kulash
People for the Environment

Mary Lampert
Pilgrim Watch

Erik Hoffman
Pioneer Valley Biodiesel

Peggy Middaugh
Regional Environmental Council-Worcester

Fred Small
Religious Witness for the Earth

Pat Gozemba
Salem Alliance for the Environment
Steve MacAusland
Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light

Maria Valenti
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility

Sue Phelan
Green Cape

Sue Butler
Green Decade Cambridge

Eric Olsen
Green Decade Coalition-Newton

Al Lima
Green Futures

Jim Simmons
Hands Across the River Coalition

Brent Baeslack
Haverhill Environmental League

Bill Ravanesi
Healthcare Without Harm

Martha Dansdill
Healthlink

Ken Kipen
Hilltown Anti-Herbicide Coalition

Tom Powers
Island Alliance

Richard McCarthy
Lawrence Environmental Action Council, Inc.

Pat Beckett
Marblehead Pesticide Awareness Committee

Larry Cretien
Mass. Energy Consumer Alliance

Barbara Warren
Salem Sound Coastwatch

Ben Kelley
Save the Harbor Save the Bay

Marybeth Palmigiano
Stop the Stop

Dante Comparetto
Green Worcester

Meredith Small
Toxics Action Center

Adam Werbach
US Sky Watch

Nancy Banks
UU Massachusetts Action Network

Lisa Alexander
Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety

Lori Erlich
Wenham Lake Watershed Association

Virginia Ryan
Westwood Environmental Coalition

Jim Walsh
Safer Water for MA