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Energy Exodus: New England environmentalists kick off 60-mile march

Activists who have been rallying for the closure of a coal plant in Somerset and the development of off-shore today kicked off-shore wind a six-day, 60-mile march from Fall River to Hyannis.

The group departed from a Fall River park Wednesday morning. Photo via @Yahktoe The group departed from a Fall River park Wednesday morning. Credit: @Yahktoe

Activists who have been rallying for the closure of a coal plant in Somerset and the development of offshore wind generators kicked off a six-day, 60-mile march todayfrom Fall River to Hyannis.

According to organizers,The Energy Exoduswill include Iowa state Sen. Rob Hogg and target Bill Koch, an energy businessman aligned against the Cape Wind project planned for Nantucket Sound. Some marchers will sleep outdoors in tents while others will stay in churches along the route.

"So far we've had a number of cars honk to show their support, and a lot of thumbs up. We are definitely expecting a big bump over the weekend, and plan to end very strongly on Monday," said Craig Altemose, an organizer and Somerville resident.

About 80 people had joined the march as of Wednesday afternoon.

The march following routes 6 and 6A will include stops along the way: a “green jobs” rally in New Bedford, a meeting with the Friends of Fairhaven Wind and a "Clean Planet Picnic Lunch" in Sandwich.

A message on the group's website states: "Each day, we will dramatize the urgency with which we must turn away from fossil fuels as we march toward a future full of sustainable jobs, clean air, healthy communities and local, renewable energy."

The activists are seeking the closure of Brayton Point, a coal plant with large cooling towers that organizers said is the second largest carbon polluter in the region, and are pushing for the development of the Cape Wind project planned for Nantucket Sound.

Altemose said the group also hopes to build a community of supporters.

"A strong social movement is crucial. We’re really taking time, as we march, to build relationships," he said.

At a recent protest at the power plant, about 350 people gathered and 45 were arrested.

The six-day event kicked off at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Fall River's Kennedy Park, and will end on Labor Day at Village Green, in Hyannis, at 11:30 a.m.

The State House News Service contributed to this report.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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