We’re paying more for power at the Salem Harbor Station, even though plant owner Dominion Energy keeps filing delisting paper work with ISO New England (ISO NE), according to Shanna Cleveland, staff attorney at Conservation Law Foundation (CLF).
On Sunday November 7, 2010 Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE) and Marblehead, Mass.-based HealthLink sponsored an evening to talk about the Real Coast of Coal: Columbia to Salem at First Church on Essex Street.
Before a packed house speakers from SAFE; Avi Chomsky, author and chairwoman of Latin American Studies at Salem State University; Jeff Deyette, assistant director of energy and analysis for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS); and Jose Brito, union representative for mining workers of Cerrejón in Colombia talked to us about what coal is costing in terms of dollars as well as environmental and social injustice.
The discussion began with local coal purchasing and then centered on how coal extraction at the largest coal mines in the world effect the Colombian indigenous and black communities in the areas surrounding them. Expropriated land, contaminated water and air, and all manner of displacement has eviscerated these communities economically, environmentally, and socially.
We’ve heard of such things and watched a short film about it that surely would humble every middle class American to see it. Locally, the Salem government had issued a proclamation supporting the rights of those that live in the area from where Dominion buys this low-sulphur coal product. In the past, we’ve written personal letters asking Dominion to look into the abuses and speak to their colleagues at Cerrejón.
But the rub is that we are not only using this coal, we are paying a premium for it.