Sierra Club

At the conclusion of this week's town hall meeting at Albany's Ezra Prentice Homes, WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with Aaron Mair, the National President of the 2.4-million member strong Sierra Club. Residents of the South End public housing complex heard from top environmental officials Wednesday evening, sharing their growing concerns about diesel truck traffic and the presence of nearby Global Partners, which transports Bakken crude oil by railroad tracks that buffer the apartments.

Mair sees the residents’ struggle with air and noise pollution at the expense of quality-of-life as a glaring example of what some call "environmental racism."

Aaron Mair, a civil rights and environmental justice advocate in Albany, has been elected president of the Sierra Club, becoming the first African-American to serve in that role.

The Guilderland resident began his activism 31 years ago when he organized the residents of Albany's low-income Arbor Hill neighborhood against a toxic waste incinerator that was causing respiratory illnesses in the community. He said one of his goals as president of the Sierra Club is to promote "diversity, equity and inclusion" within the organization.

Pilgrim Holdings, LLC

An environmental group claims a company that wants to construct a crude oil pipeline between Albany and New Jersey is harassing homeowners in New Jersey to move the project forward.

A coalition that includes environmentalists, consumer advocates, and municipal officials is making another push in Massachusetts to update the bottle deposit law.

Three decades after Massachusetts voters approved a nickel deposit on cans and bottles of soda and beer, a question may appear on the 2014 ballot to include bottled water, teas, and sports drinks in the beverage deposit law.   Secretary of State Bill Galvin has certified the possible ballot question received more than the nearly 69,000 valid signatures required.

  Legislation to expand the 30 year old bottle deposit law in Massachusetts to include noncarbonated beverages won’t make it to the desk of Governor Deval Patrick this year..  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The future is in doubt for one of just two remaining coal powered electricity generating plants in Massachusetts.  Municipal officials and environmentalists believe age and the current economics of burning coal will bring an end to the Mount Tom Power Plant in Holyoke.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

 

      An advisory committee made up of Holyoke residents and appointed officials including  members of the Conservation Commission and Redevelopment Authority will explore alternative uses for the Mount Tom Power Plant.