More than 40 protesters were arrested for trespassing Sunday in an act of civil disobedience against the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts. Environmentalists view the coal-fired power plant as a polluter and want it shut down.
It was a carefully orchestrated demonstration, involving some 300 protesters and scores of police officers. Some of the protesters wanted to be arrested and they were as soon as they crossed a yellow police tape line. Those who honored the police line cheered and thanked their fellow demonstrators as handcuffs were placed around their wrists.
The Brayton Point power plant is a coal fired electrical facility on the Massachuetts/Rhode Island border. Protesters called on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to shut the plant down. Organizer Adam Greenberg of the group 350 Mass said it’s a polluter that should be replaced with renewable energy.
"It emits millions of tons of carbon dioxide per year which increases the impact of climate change. And it also pumps out 15,000 pounds a year of known carcinogens," said Greenberg. "We’re talking about cyanide. We’re talking about arsenic. We’re talking about mercury."
Protest organizers say 44 people were arrested. Their original intent was to erect some mock wind turbines on the power plant site, but they never got that far onto the property.
The owner of Brayton Point said that despite what protesters say, the coal-fired electrical plant on Narragansett Bay is one of the cleanest generators of its kind and is in compliance with all environmental regulations. In a statement, Dominion Power said it has invested $1 billion in recent years to reduce the plant’s impact on air and water quality.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement by Brayton's owner.
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