BOSTON — Hailed by many locally for their efforts in helping shutter the Pond View recycling plant, the East Providence Coalition was recently honored by a regional anti-pollution organization.
Members of the EPC were some of the over 300 citizen activists from across Southern New England who gathered at an event entitled “Local Environmental Action 2013,” which is billed as the region’s largest conference on public health and the environment. For the first time, the event was co-hosted by Toxics Action Center and the Massachusetts Climate Action Network and co-sponsored by a hundred other local and statewide groups.
“This event brought together hundreds of ordinary residents who are doing extraordinary work to protect the health and safety of our communities,” said Claire Miller, Massachusetts State Director for Toxics Action Center. “The conference gives residents the strategies and support they need to pressure polluters and government officials to protect their families and neighborhoods.”
The EPC was one of three community groups honored with Outstanding Activist Awards for their work to protect their communities from local environmental and public health issues. Ken Schneider, Tim Horton and Corliss Blanchard represented the EPC.
“Pond View is now closed but we are awaiting the cleanup of the property. As a large group of very concerned citizens, we will not and cannot stop our efforts until there is a successful healthy conclusion for our neighborhood and city,” Mr. Schneider said.
The local outfit also issued the following statement: “The East Providence Coalition takes great pride in being honored at the Local Environmental Action 2013 conference. It is a great tribute and affirmation that when a group of citizens sincerely care about the health of themselves and their neighbors, Great things can happen.
“Since 1998 there was a tremendous noise and air pollution problem emanating from Pond View in Rumford. It was the wrong business in the wrong location. We never gave up on our goal to live in an unpolluted neighborhood. It took thousands of hours of research, going to council meetings, lobbying local, state and federal politicians.
“Persistence is the key to success whether it is trying to improve your neighborhood or succeed at work. Pond View is now closed and our neighborhood is on its way back to being a great place to live.”
Offering skills and issue-based workshops, Local Environmental Action 2013 served as a venue for community advocates to share their experiences and reinvigorate their local campaigns. Highlighting the day was the conference’s featured speaker, John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Penn. Mayor Fetterman was honored by President Obama as one of a dozens “Champions of Change,” AmeriCorps alumni who have leveraged their service to become leaders of their communities.
More information on the event can be found at www.toxicsaction.org.