ACE Blog

Environmental justice at the Supreme Judicial Court!

February 28, 2014

Exciting news: We are taking environmental justice to the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday!

Brockton and West Bridgewater residents, along with volunteer attorneys, prep for the SJC

As part of a more than seven year campaign, residents of Brockton and West Bridgewater, represented pro bono by ACE attorneys, and attorneys from Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., are appealing a decision approving a fossil fuel power plant from the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) to Massachusetts' highest court.

Residents argued that under state law, the EFSB must apply the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Policy to its review of the siting of the proposed power plant in Brockton. This was the first power plant proposed in a low-income community of color that was subject to the EJ Policy.The EFSB did not adequately apply the EJ Policy in its review of the proposed dirty power plant.

Working for MBTA bus funding and improvements

February 28, 2014

At a hearing in January, T Riders Union (TRU) members demanded that MassDOT’s five-year plan restore $450 million in bus improvement funding for the MBTA. The first draft of the Capital Investment Plan (CIP), which will determine transportation funding until 2019, fails to allocate any of the available $12.4 billion for replacing old buses. Additionally, the state funding won last year by TRU members and the Public Transit-Public Good campaign for public transportation is absent in their operations budget.

Save the date for MEJAN Breakfast & Jammin'

February 28, 2014

Reverend Curtis Diaz, second from left, with Freetown and Westfield residents, along with ACE members

You're invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN) launch and the Federal Executive Order on Environmental Justice.

Join us on March 26 at 8:00 a.m. to reflect on how far we have come and honor MEJAN volunteers for all their work these years.

Speakers include Dr. Nicky Sheats of New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, MEJAN client Reverend Curtis Dias and Kalila Barnett of ACE. For more information and to RSVP, please call (617) 442-3343 x231 or email John.

Please also save Thursday, May 29 for our annual celebration and fundraiser, Jammin' for Justice! Details TBA.

Tribute to Fresh

February 1, 2014

Fresh, REEP Youth Organizer, 2008-2009

Last week, we lost Fresh. He was a REEP youth organizer in 2008-2009, a child of Dorchester, a son, a father, and a true friend to many people. Fresh was stolen from our world. He also left us with a lot to be thankful for. His daughter, his smile, his jokes and sayings, and memories we won't forget.

At REEP's Youth Summit in 2009, Fresh co-facilitated our Youth Way on the MBTA workshop and story circle with the Secretary of Transportation. That year we fought to extend the MBTA Student Pass to 11:00 p.m., and Fresh helped collect the stories of youth riders that won the extension. That victory has now helped 45,000 middle and high school students live full lives and get home safe at night. We talk about it all the time as we continue the fight for a YouthPass.

Preparing for 2014: EJ Agenda Retreat

January 30, 2014

En español

Small group discussions at our EJ Agenda Retreat

In November, members came together at our first ever Roots of Change: EJ Agenda Retreat to define our priorities, demands, policy and legislative ideas for 2014. Because our campaigns cover so many issues, we asked members to highlight what’s most important to shape the direction of our work. At the retreat, we worked towards developing shared goals and strengthening connections between our programs.

We focused on three key themes: climate justice, health equity and eco-justice. Members developed definitions of what these themes mean for ACE and established environmental justice priorities. These definitions will help us determine our demands and policy in the coming year.

Organizing for a Youth Pass as fare hikes loom

January 30, 2014

En español

In December, members of our Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition (YAC) convened to strategize for more affordable public transportation for young people in the MBTA region.

YAC action at a 'Talk to the T' event in December

In 2013, YAC played a critical role in pressuring the governor to prioritize transportation, winning more funding from the State House for the MBTA. Now, YAC is calling on MassDOT and the MBTA to use the funds equitably and create a $10 Youth Pass to solve the youth rider crisis.

YAC is a youth-led coalition anchored by REEP, Boston-area Youth Organizing Project (BYOP), Youth Force, Chinese Youth Initiative (CYI), Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), El Movimiento, and Bikes Not Bombs, with member groups across the MBTA region. Our core demand is the creation of a Youth Pass. Our Opportuni(T) report showed that one-third of Boston youth have been stranded without transportation because of unaffordable fares, which meant missing work, school, GED classes and healthcare appointments. This year, we are pushing for a Youth Pass pilot program for 500 to 1,000 students beginning in July.

Residents defeat ethanol train proposal

November 15, 2013

Residents won a major victory when GP withdrew their ethanol train proposal.

En español

In July, we won a monumental EJ victory when Global Petroleum withdrew their proposal to transport millions of gallons of ethanol by train into Revere. For two and a half years, EJLS has provided pro bono legal assistance to Chelsea Creek Action Group to prevent mile-long trains from running through Greater Boston environmental justice communities with the highly dangerous substance.

Strong turnout for Rhode Island EJ Summit

November 15, 2013

En español

ACE members at the Rhode Island EJ Summit

Members and supporters of the New England EJ Forum came together last Saturday for the first Rhode Island EJ Summit, in our work to continue relationship building and share knowledge. Nearly 100 people participated to learn from community and enjoy delicious local food.

Workshop topics included sustainability, energy justice, food justice and racial profiling, strategies for healthy urban land and water, and a separate track for children ages 6 to 12. Participants created an EJ map of New England to show current and future work, past victories, and our favorite spots around New England. Other highlights included a panel and group discussion on resiliency to climate change and various spoken word and dance performances. The host, the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, ran a low-waste event that included ferrying attendees up from the train station on a bus that runs on vegetable oil.