A group of climate activists disrupted and shut down a Nantucket, Massachusetts, fundraising event benefiting Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey after they demanded she ban new fossil fuel projects.
The activists, who are members of the group Climate Defiance, interrupted Healey during the event earlier this week on the ritzy Nantucket island located off the coast of Massachusetts and which appeared to be taking place in the backyard of a house. They then chanted slogans before being forcibly escorted off the home’s premises.
“Excuse me, Gov. Healey, I’m sorry to interrupt. We are in the midst of a climate emergency,” one of the protesters interjected. “My name is Matt. I’m 20 years old and you’re throwing away my future. The state of Massachusetts is building 10 new fossil fuel infrastructure projects right now. We need you to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure right now. Will you commit to doing that?”
“Let’s talk about that,” Healey responded. “There’s a huge transition that we’re undergoing and there’s a lot of work to do. But let me tell you—”
The protester then interrupted Healey, adding that banning fossil fuels was key to ensuring any green energy transition.
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When event attendees began pushing back against the activists, the group started repeatedly chanting, “End fossil fuels, Maura. End fossil fuels.”
“The fossil fuel industry bought you out,” another protester screamed. “The fossil fuel industry gave you $50,000.”
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Attendees then started arguing with the activists, with one saying he had been a climate activist for “longer than you have been alive” to the first protester that interrupted Healey’s remarks. That attendee said the group had hurt their cause by being disruptive.
Another attendee said he primarily used solar panels to power his home and a third attendee yelled “get out” to the activists.
Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has made fighting climate change a priority since taking office early this year. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
Healey, who is serving her first term as Massachusetts’ governor after serving for years as the state’s attorney general, has pursued an aggressive climate agenda. In early January, on her first day in office, Healey appointed the state’s first-ever climate chief and established the new Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience.
“The climate crisis is Massachusetts’ greatest challenge, but there is enormous opportunity in our response,” Healey said at the time.
“I’m filing this Executive Order today, on the first full day of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, because we have no time to delay,” she continued. “It’s essential that we begin coordinating our climate policy across all state agencies and all communities in Massachusetts so that we can make the progress we so urgently need and drive our clean energy economy.”
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The Nantucket event was one of many that Climate Defiance has interrupted and shut down as part of its goal to force lawmakers to do more on climate issues. They have also targeted events featuring federal officials like Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and senior White House climate adviser John Podesta.