Letters to the Editor

Boston Building Trades Unions: We Fight for Black Lives, because Black Lives Matter

To the Editor:

The recent heinous murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are unconscionable and unacceptable, and demonstrate, again, the brutal, institutionalized racism within our country that originates from many sources, including from the scourge of slavery.

We in the Labor Movement — a movement comprised of our multi-racial working class — are committed to destroying racism in all of its forms. We must look inward to acknowledge how our own biases and prejudices inform our actions, and how those actions affect those around us. And we must look outward, shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers, and commit to working together to dismantle the systems of racism and oppression that have led to the deaths of so many black and brown people, that have kept working class people, here and around the world, from sharing in America’s economic prosperity, and that have glorified an unequal financial system that protects corporate greed and the super-wealthy above everyone and everything else.

We cannot fall prey to the hatred and divisiveness of President Trump, or any other white supremacist, or to anyone who will use this moment to confuse right from wrong. We must call out their attempts to play politics of division as they seek to retain power and protect a system that is disastrously broken.

Protecting this broken system will not help our working families, protesters or law enforcement, and it assures the perpetuation of conditions that lead to events like the murder of George Floyd. White supremacy and white nationalism must be called out and defeated in all its forms, whether on our own streets or at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

We in the Labor Movement know that we cannot achieve economic equality and true justice until we fully recognize that workers’ rights and civil rights are one and the same. We have inherited a history of hard-fought victories that have provided respect and dignity on and off the job for many, but we still have work to do.

Today and every day we commit to building the world that we know is possible, and to get there, we fight for black lives, because Black Lives Matter.

Boston Building Trades Unions

Stand in Solidarity for Racial Justice

To the Editor:

MyRWA stands united against police brutality and systemic injustice against black communities. Black lives matter. 

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others by the hands of law enforcement has put a mirror up to ourselves as a country and the interlocking systems of oppression. As an environmental organization we must acknowledge that we cannot have environmental justice or climate justice without deeply incorporating the needs of racial justice. We are responsible for being a part of this civil rights struggle and rejecting the status quo.

Thank you to all the Black-led organizations, allies and protesters who are working tirelessly to bring about this much needed change. The Mystic River Watershed Association commits to:

•Listen, learn and unlearn from Black communities. 

•Lend our voice, support, and solidarity against police brutality and systemic racial injustice. 

•Critically review the practices and programs of the Mystic River Watershed Association with a racial equity lens. 

•Continue this work beyond this moment to institutionalize lasting change. 

Just as we depend on you, our supporters, to improve the environmental conditions of the Mystic River watershed–we are also looking to you to stand in solidarity for racial justice in our watershed and beyond. 

Mystic River

Watershed Association

(The following letter was sent to ISO New England last week by U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren)

U.S. Senators in Support of Wind Power Project to Replace Mystic Generation Station

To the Editor:

We write concerning ISO New England (ISO-NE)’s Boston 2028 Request for Proposals (RFP) for transmission projects to help maintain grid reliability in the greater Boston area following the scheduled retirement of the Mystic Generating Station in Everett, Massachusetts. We are encouraged by this effort to use competitive bidding to provide new transmission solutions and reduce consumer costs. As part of ISO-NE’s evaluation of proposals, we urge you to prioritize the effects that projects may have on state climate, energy, and health goals. Currently, “environmental impact” is listed in the lowest priority category for the Boston 2028 RFP evaluation, and public health impacts are not called out at all. As Massachusetts and other New England states work to reach decarbonization targets and respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that regional transmission organizations consider these impacts as part of electric-grid planning.

The Mystic Generating Station is an oil- and natural gas-fired power plant that is scheduled for full retirement by 2024. Initially, in March 2018, Exelon, the plant’s owner, decided to shutter the plant, citing a lack of profitability and economic concerns, but in December 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a petition for short-term cost recovery. That plan allows ISO-NE to direct additional ratepayer payments to flow to the plant over the next several years in order to keep it open. A near-term transmission replacement for this uneconomic plant will benefit ratepayers, improve grid reliability, and protect nearby communities from air pollution.

In particular, the eventual retirement of this power plant, which is the largest fossil fuel plant in New England, presents an opportunity to continue cleaning up the New England power grid and safeguarding public health. The six New England states have all committed to achieving at least a 75-percent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.The Carbon Free Boston

initiative aims to reach a target of carbon neutrality for the city by 2050.4 As part of the Boston 2028 RFP, ISO-NE should consider and prioritize these targets.

Additionally, as Massachusetts and other New England states continue efforts to limit and stop the spread of COVID-19, it is important to consider the public health effects of various kinds of electricity generation. Research continues to show a link between air pollution and higher COVID-19 death rates, placing a premium on regional transmission organizations’ factoring air quality into their grid-planning decisions — particularly for communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the historic burden of air pollution.5,6

Clean energy and clean air are both important policy objectives for Massachusetts and the broader New England region, and those priorities should be reflected appropriately among the evaluation criteria for the Boston 2028 RFP. Fossil fuel plants are increasingly uneconomic, particularly as the cost for new renewable electricity generation declines, and after factoring in the costs to public health from air pollution. In pursuing transmission solutions to meet electricity demand and address reliability needs, ISO-NE can also strive to better integrate low- or no-carbon generation projects, with the added benefit of saving ratepayers money and avoiding the need to bail out uneconomic plants. As ISO-NE continues to the next phase of this important process to meet demand and enhance reliability, we urge you to consider and prioritize climate and public health goals.

U.S. Senator

Ed Markey

U.S. SenatorElizabeth Warren

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