The Brayton Point Power Station has become a fixture in the Somerset landscape. The largest coal-fired plant in New England is announcing plans to stop providing power by 2017, citing the need to invest in "significant capital to meet environmental regulations". The shutdown is a big win for groups who have been pushing for change.
"They have put a lot of pollution controls on the plant but the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant are just huge," said David Deon of the Coalition for Clean Air South Coast.
Brayton Point, which the EPA named one of the states heaviest polluters in 2011, employs about 240 workers. Owners say they will try and ease the impact the closure will have on them, but the real burden will fall on Somerset residents. The plant pays 13 million dollars a year in taxes. The town operates on 60 million.
"I just got retired," said Somerset resident John Barboza. "I have my limits... This makes me nervous".
Still, the Coalition says shutting the doors on Brayton Point is a step in the right direction.
"Coal plants are closing all over the country, and if we are going to address climate change we really have to move forward to conservation, green jobs, renewables," said Deon.
Somerset Selectman Donald Setters tells ABC6 News the closure of the power plant will put the town in dire straits. He says residents should expect services to be cut, like police fire and schools.