Announcing the next phase of The New England Food System Resilience Fund. Learn More

December / 2015

Toxics Action Center

Since 1987, the Toxics Action Center has organized over 800 communities across New England to reduce pollution and improve public health.

As a John Merck Fund grantee, the Toxics Action Center is a major force behind our ongoing effort to make New England the first coal-free region in the country. Closing coal plants across the region cannot succeed with a cookie-cutter approach. Campaigns must recognize the importance of local leadership and unique community conditions. That’s why the Toxics Action Center empowers and trains local advocates and helps them develop plans that rely on state and local laws and regulations.

Their strategy has been enormously successful – four of the region’s seven coal plants have been shut down. Three more coal plants show signs of yielding to pressure from changing clean energy markets and engaged citizens.

But it’s not enough to simply shut down coal plants. The Toxics Action Center campaigns put community redevelopment front and center as plants are decommissioned. They also push for clean energy alternatives, particularly as natural gas and other fossil fuel infrastructure rushes to fill the void left by closing coal plants. Toxics Action Center is not only directly supporting groups that oppose new gas plants and pipelines, but they are also continuing to train community groups to become more active and informed as clean energy advocates.

The Toxics Action Center is led by Executive Director Sylvia Broude and the coal and energy work is supported by Lead Community Organizer Claire Miller. Together, their decades of grassroots organizing experience helps activists all over the region take a driving role in a clean energy future.

The John Merck Fund would not be able to pursue its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, retiring coal-fired plants, and increasing use of clean energy in New England without the dedicated leadership of Sylvia, Claire and the team at  Toxics Action Center.