SCUA

Alternative Energy Coalition

Alternative Energy Coalition, ca.1975-1985.

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).

Background on Alternative Energy Coalition

On Washington’s Birthday in 1974, a local organic farmer and member of the Montague Farm commune, Sam Lovejoy, committed an act of civil disobedience. In the early morning hours he used hand tools to fell a weather-monitoring tower erected by Northeast Utilities, the corporation that was planning to build a massive nuclear power plant in town. Leaving the wreckage behind, Lovejoy flagged down a passing patrol car and turned himself in to face the consequences, hoping to spur a public debate about the use of nuclear energy. In that he succeeded. During the weeks that followed, Lovejoy’s trial garnered national attention and catalyzed the formation of antinuclear organizations such as the Alternative Energy Coalition (AEC).

Founded in Montague, the AEC offered support for Lovejoy during the trial as well as for the larger aim of building broad-based opposition to nuclear power in the wake of Richard Nixon’s “Project Independence,” which included a plan to build 1,000 nuclear power plants by the year 2000. From the outset, the AEC used a range of tactics to achieve their goals, from political engagement, to petitions, public awareness campaigns, and direct action. The activist Harvey Wasserman, a co-organizer of the AEC, and several of his associates created a political party to influence local elections, supporting Lovejoy as he ran for representative to town meeting, and Anna Gyorgy (another AEC founder), Marc Sills, Nina Simon, and Janice Frey for other spots under the antinuclear “No Party” ticket.

By the early spring, the AEC began collecting signatures to place a dual referendum on the ballot for the state senatorial district, the first instructing the senator to oppose the proposed plant at Montague, the second instructing him or her to “sponsor and support a resolution aimed at closing and dismantling” the region’s two active nuclear power plants at Rowe, Massachusetts, and Vernon, Vermont. They were successful, gathering over 3,800 supporters.

In 1976, the AEC chose to affiliate with several antinuclear organizations to form the Clamshell Alliance, a New England-based coalition of antinuclear activists. Through acts of non-violent civil disobedience, most notably the 1976 and 1977 occupations of the Seabrook Nuclear Power plant in New Hampshire, the Clamshell galvanized the antinuclear movement and became one of the major factors in radically slowing the growth of the nuclear industry in the United States. The AEC continued as a separate organization with chapters in both Hampshire and Franklin Counties, until disbanding in about 1981. By that time, dozens of other groups were active in opposition to nuclear power, aligned with the AEC’s principles of non-violent direct action.

Contents of Collection

The Alternative Energy Coalition Records document the organizational life of the Massachusetts-based antinuclear activist group from approximately 1974 to 1981, centered on the Hampshire County Branch. Reflecting the AEC’s dual commitment to promoting the use of renewable energy resources and opposing nuclear power, the records provide an indication both of the high degree of decentralization characteristic of the early antinuclear movement and the impressive coordination maintained between like-minded organizations.

In addition to administrative records of the Hampshire County chapter of the AEC, the collection contains fliers, newsletters, leaflets, and other promotional materials, information on alternative energy, correspondence with allied organizations, and some realia used in protesting nuclear power. Of particular interest is a thick sheaf of notes, memoranda, and minutes of meetings from the organization and early years of the Clamshell Alliance, including minutes of the Coordinating Committee and a variety of materials relating to the occupations at the Seabrook (N.H.) Nuclear Power Plant between 1977 and 1979.

The collection is organized into three series:

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Series Descriptions
1973-1981
66 folders (3 linear feet)

Series 1 contains documents produced by the AEC for its own use and day-to-day operations, including flyers, meeting announcements, project proposals, handbooks, training session materials, meeting minutes, and member contact information. The organization also created extensive planning materials, including reconnaissance maps of New England nuclear sites for non-violent protest actions and outgoing petitions to the President against nuclear power. This series contains some artifacts, including black armbands worn by AEC members during site occupations as well as handmade hitch-hiking placards. Of special note in this series are three office logbooks that AEC members annotated and used to communicate with one another during direct action engagements, and a pad of paper used by AEC and affiliated members to document–in real time–the actions of the October 6, 1979 Seabrook occupation. (This pad is in the folder entitled, “Clamshell – Seabrook Occupation, October 6th, 1979.”)

1960-1980
132 folders (7.5 linear feet)

Series 2 contains materials collected by the AEC on a wide range of alternative energy sources. Enclosed are magazine articles, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets elaborating on nuclear issues, including nuclear weapons use and the environmental impacts of nuclear energy. The AEC was committed to gathering information about non-nuclear energy sources like solar, wind, electric power, and fossil fuels. In addition, the AEC maintained a small library of books, brochures, fact sheets, catalogues, and product listings exploring practical energy conservation methods, this last intended for use of private citizens. Brochures in this series investigate topics ranging from improved house construction to composting toilets, from hot water heaters to energy-efficient fireplaces. The AEC also received weekly reports from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (from 1976-1979) and the Department of Energy (from 1978-1979). A few representative reports are preserved in this series. The AEC also collected legislative materials denoting Massachusetts alternative energy policies.

1977-1980
109 folders (3 linear feet)

Series 3 contains material relating to the AEC’s extensive connections to other environmental and antinuclear activist groups, both local and national. The AEC collected newsletters, news articles, and correspondence from groups with similar objectives. The AEC’s strongest link was to the Clamshell Alliance; this organization’s mission, membership, planning, and operations overlapped with those of the AEC after Clamshell’s founding in 1976. As such, most material in this series is devoted to the Clamshell Alliance. Other selected affiliated organizations include the Abalone Alliance (California), Crabshell Alliance, Palmetto Alliance, Potomac Alliance, Tennessee Valley Energy Alliance, Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance, and the Rocky Flats Truth Force. The AEC also kept documents relating to other ideologically aligned social issues, such as the Red Power, Women’s Rights, Mohawk Sovereignty, and Peace Movements.

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Inventory of Collection
Series 1. Organizational Materials
1973-1981
66 folders
Artifacts: Logbooks (1976-1979) and songbook,”Songs of Seabrook”
1979
Artifacts: Four (4) Black Arm Bands
1979
Artifacts: Hitchhiking Signs
ca.1979
May 6th Coalition March on Washington
ca.1979
June 24th Occupation (1978)
1978
July 21st-22nd, 1979: Legal Seabrook
1979
October 7th Occupation Tactics and Site Access
ca.1979
November 11, 1978, Car Caravan and Demonstration
1978
AEC: 1 June 1979 Recycling Memo
1979
AEC: Finances
1978-1979
AEC: Mailing Lists
1979
AEC: Meeting Minutes
1976-1977
AEC: Meeting Minutes
1979-1980
AEC: “Nuclear Power and Alternative Energy Info Book,” Office Copy
1973-1977
AEC: People Lists
ca.1979
AEC: Press Releases and Newspaper Articles
1979-1981
Alternative Energy Fair
ca.1979
Canvassing Information
ca.1979
Conferences, Speakers, Public meetings
1978
Correspondence
1977-1981
Congress File (Temporary)
1979
Danbury Federal Prison Bibliographies, etc.
ca.1979
Evaluations: No Nukes
ca.1979
Facilitating
ca.1979
Finances
1977
Hampshire County AEC News Release
1977-1978
Hampshire Country Petition Forms
1979
Inventory
ca.1979
Journals and Newsletters
ca.1979
Leaflets – External
ca.1979
Mailing Lists
1979
Maps: Misc.
ca.1979
Media Contacts
1978-1979
Montague Intervention
1977-1979
Montague LPV Task Force
1977
Neutron Bomb Petitions
ca.1979
Newsletters: AEC and Other
1978-1980
Non-Violent Training Committee (Western Mass)
1978-1979
Nuke Moratorium Petitions
ca.1979
Occupation/Restoration Task Force
1977-1978
Office Business
1977-1979
People’s Alliance
1977
Plymouth
1978
Poems, Songs
ca.1979
People’s Alliance
ca.1979
Public Education Task Force (NUKES)
1979
Railway Express Agency and Co. (Building Lease) – 1948/1958
ca.1979
RATE Hikes
1979-1980
Seabrook 1978: A Handbook
1978
Seabrook Nuke Plant
1978
Seabrook Occupation: Chronological Press Folio
ca.1978
Seabrook Petitions
ca.1978
Subscription Requests to Periodicals, etc.
1978-1979
Sun Day
1978
Survival Summer – Info
ca.1979
Three Mile Island – President Carter Petitions
ca.1979
Trident Teach-In Materials (AEC)
1977-1978
Unity Committee, April 26, 1980
1980
Valley Advocate (Newspaper)
ca.1979
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant
1979-1980
VYDA – March 30th 1980 – News Clippings
1980
VYDA – Proposals and Meeting Info
ca.1979
Xerox Masters – Originals for Leaflets
ca.1979
Western Mass Trainers
1979
Yankee Power Plant Petitions
1979
Year of the Child – Info
ca.1979
Series 2. Research
1960-1980
132 folders
Alternative Energy
1967-1979
Alternative Energy Clippings
1976-1977
Alternative Energy Stores and Suppliers
ca.1979
Antinuclear Groups Nationwide List
1979
Black Fox Plant (Okla.)
1979
Breeder Reactors
1973
Catalogs and Resources
1979-1980
Coal
1976
Composting Toilets
1976-1977
Conservation (General Info)
1973-1977
Consumer Publication
1976
County Voice
1979
Criminal Code Reform Act – H.R. 689, S. 1437
1978
Construction Work in Progress Public Service Co. (N.H.)
1978-1981
Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission
1976-1980
Department of Energy / Federal Groups
ca.1979
Diablo Canyon
1977
Economics / Nuclear
1977-1979
Effects of Nuclear Power
1973-1978
Effects of Nuclear Power – Environmental
1978-1979
Electric Energy
ca.1979
Energy
1979
Energy Analyses
1979
Energy Efficient Architecture
1974-1977
Energy (General Info)
1977
Energy House
1975
Energy Task Force Alternative Currents / A.T.A.C
1979
Environmental Action / Energy Research and development Administration
1976
Environmental Hazards
1976-1978
Environmental Policy Center
1978
Environmental Protection Agency
1975-1977
Fireplaces and Hardware
ca.1979
Gas
1976-1977
G.E. Boycott
1979
Graphics
Guardian – Newsletters
1979-1980
Health and Occupational Safety
1976-1977
Hudson River
1977-1979
Hydro Electricity Dam Inventory W. Mass
1979
Hydropower
1978-1979
Insulation
1976-1977
International
1976-1977
J. P. Stevens (Corporation)
1977
Jamesport Generating Station
1976-1979
Labor Law Reform
1977-1978
Legislation
1977-1979
Legislation – Mass.
1979
Legislature – Congress
1976-1978
Literature – Antinuclear Organizations
1978-1979
Literature – Periodicals
1978
Maine Yankee
1979
The Manhattan Project – Wall Street Action, Oct. 29th
1979
Master Plan for Energy
1978
National Center for Appropriate Technology
1979-1980
Newspapers
1978-1979
Non-Energy Articles
1978
Nonviolence
1976-1977
Northampton Daycare
ca.1979
Nuclear Accidents
1976
Nuclear Accidents – Evacuation
1975-1979
Nuclear – Breeder Reactor (LMFBR Program)
1974-1978
Nuclear – Clinch River
1976-1977
Nuclear Energy – Pro Articles, Trident Launch
1979
NIRS- Nuclear Information Resource Serv.
1979-1980
Nuclear Material, Misc.
1971-1979
Nuclear Power I
1972-1976
Nuclear Power II
1974-1979
Nuclear Power III
1973-1979
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
1976-1981
Nuclear Safety
1978-1979
Nuclear Waste I
1975-1978
Nuclear Waste II
1974-1976
Nuclear Waste Disposal
1976-1977
Nuclear Waste Management
1960-1979
Oil
1976-1977
People and Energy
1979
Politics and Education, Middleton (Conn.)
1978-1979
Pollution
1975-1977
Power Plant Licensing
1975
Power Plant Safety
1978
Price-Anderson Act
1977
Promoting Enduring Peace
1979
Radiation – Low-Level Effects
1979
Radioactive Waste: New England
1976-1978
Reference Boiling Water Reactor Decommissioning
1980
Reading List
1978
Research – Bibliographies
ca.1979
Research – Journals, Newsletters, Newsclippings
1976-1980
Research – Reports
ca.1979
Rural Education Center
1980
SALT and Government Propaganda
1978-1979
Scenic Hudson – Clearwater Sunday
1978
Science Articles – oil, coal, etc.
1978-1979
Shoreham – Long Island (N.Y.)
1980
Sierra Atlantic
1978-1979
Sierra Club Literature
1978
Silkwood, Karen
1977
Soft Technology
1979
Solar
1970-1978
Solar Bulletins
1977-1980
Solar Controls
ca.1979
Solar Collector Brochures (Air)
1977
Solar Collector Brochures (Liquid)
1977
Solar Energy – Application in Homes
1976-1978
Solar Energy Clippings and Articles
1972-1979
Solar Energy – Mass.
1976
Solar Greenhouses
1977
Solar Heating Brochures
1977
Solar Heating – Domestic Hot Water Systems
1977
Solar Energy Institutes of America
1977-1980
Solar – Legislation,Government
1976-1978
Solar Lobby
ca.1979
Solar – Photovoltaics
ca.1979
Solar Satellites
1979
Street Papers
1978
Sun Power
1974
Solar Pumps
Solar Resources
1977-1978
Solar Supplies and Info Centers
1976-1977
Thermal Curtains and Insulation
1977-1978
Three Mile Island
1980
Three Mile Island Accident
1977-1981
Utilities
1976-1977
Waste Storage
1976-1979
Water Conservation 1978-1979
ca.1979
Weapons
1978-1981
Wind
1974-1976
Wind – Newspaper Clippings
1976-1979
Wood – General
1975-1978
Wood Stove Brochures
1977
Women
1979
Yankee Atomic
1980
Series 3. Affiliated Groups
1977-1980
109 folders (3 linear feet)
Abalone Alliance
1977-1980
Affinity Groups
ca.1978
Alliance for Survival
ca.1978
AFSC – American Friends Service Committee Incorporated
1979
Anti-Draft Material Ad-Hoc Committee
1979
Arizona Mobilization for Survival
1979
Berkshire AEC
1977
Berkshire Alliance for Safe Energy
1979
Black Hills Alliance
ca.1979
Che Lumumba School
1979
Citizen’s Energy Project of Washington DC
1979
Citizens for Safe Energy Dorset (Vt.)
1979-1980
Citizens for Safe Power Transmission (Red Hook, NY)
1978
Citizen’s Party (Citizens Committee)
ca.1979
Clamshell: 1978-1979 Fall River Reactor Blockade
ca.1979
Clamshell: Additional Resources
ca.1979
Clamshell: Affinity Groups membership
ca.1979
Clamshell: Internal Committees
1978
Clamshell: Clamshell Alliance Newsletters
1977-1979
Clamshell: Clamshell Alliance News Releases
1976-1977
Clamshell: Blockade Handbook
1978
Clamshell: Boston Chapter
1977-1980
Clamshell: Brainstorms
1977
Clamshell: “Clams for Democracy”
ca.1979
Clamshell: Conferences, Western Mass.
1978
Clamshell: Clamshell Congress
1979-1980
Clamshell: Clamshell Congress Proposals
1978-1979
Clamshell: Contacts
1974-1979
Clamshell: Coordinating Committee
1977
Clamshell: Coordinating Committee, Part 1
1978
Clamshell: Coordinating Committee, Part 2
1978
Clamshell: Coordinating Committee
1979
Clamshell: Coordinating Committee Reports
ca.1979
Clamshell: Legal Info
1977-1979
Clamshell: Non-Violent Training Sessions
1978
Clamshell: Occupation I and II
1976
Clamshell: Organizational Materials I
1977
Clamshell: Organizational Materials II
1979-1980
Clamshell: Rally, October 23
ca.
Clamshell: Resources: Reading Lists, films, magazines
ca.1979
Clamshell: Seabrook Action
1978
Clamshell: Seabrook Action, May 24
1980
Clamshell: Seabrook Occupation, May 30
1977
Clamshell: Seabrook Occupation, Memos
ca.1977
Clamshell: Seabrook Occupation, Oct. 6
1979
Clamshell: Seabrook Occupation Oct. 6th Newspaper Clippings
1979
Clamshell: Training Information
1976-1978
Clamshell: Training for Trainers
ca.1977
Clean Energy Petition PIDC Correspondence
1978
Coalition for Direct Action at Seabrook
1979-1980
Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy
1979-1980
Community for Creative Nonviolence
ca.1979
Concerned Citizens of Rhode Island: Clippings to be Filed
1978
Concerned Citizens for Safe Energy (Stuyvesant, N.Y.)
ca.1979
Connecticut Citizen Action Group
1977
Crabshell Alliance
1978
Critical Mass (Citizens’ Movement for Safe and Efficient Energy)
1976-1978
Dorothy Day Community
1980
Eastern Federation of Nuclear Opponents and Safe Energy Proponents
1978
Energy News of Hampshire AEC
1978
Food for Thought
1979
Franklin County AEC
1977-1979
Franklin County Energy Project
1979
Green Mountain Post Films
1978
Greenpeace
ca.1979
Hampshire County AEC
1977-1979
Haymarket News
1979-1980
John Brown Anti-Klan Committee
1980
International Nuclear Protest Groups
1978-1979
Labor Party Literature
1977
Long River Project
1980
Lower Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Committee
1980
Mass. Alliance for a Safe Energy Future
1979
Mass PIRG
1974-1980
Michigan PIRGIN
1979
Mobilization for Survival
1978-1979
Mobilization in Pioneer Valley
1979
Mohawk Nation
1979
Municipal Power Advocacy Coalition
1979
MUSE – Musicians United for Safe Energy
1979
Natural Guard
ca.1979
NECNP – New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution
1975-1977
Nuclear Power Resources (New York PIRG, etc.)
1977-1978
NYS Alliance to Save Energy
1973-1978
Pacific Alliance
Palmetto Alliance
1978-1979
Pennsylvania
Pioneer Valley War Tax Resistance
1979
PIRG New Jersey
1975-1976
Potomac Alliance
1979
RADS – Radiation Alert Development Signpost, New Hampshire Local
1980
Rath Proposal
ca.1979
Regional Environmental Council – Worcester, Mass.
1977-1978
Rocky Flats Truth Force
1979
SANE – Citizens’ Organization for a Sane World (D.C.)
1979-1980
SCANN – Student Coalition Against Nukes Nationwide
1979
Shad Material (NYC Shad Alliance)
1978-1979
SNDF – Stuyvesant Nuclear Discussion Forum
1978
Solar Rollers
1978
Solar Strollers
ca.1979
Tennessee Valley Energy Alliance
1979
Texas
1979
Traprock
ca.1979
Trojan Decommissioning Alliance
1977
UMass Energy
1978-1979
Union of Concerned Scientists
1978
Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance
1979-1980
Women and Life on Earth
ca.1979
Workers Alliance
1977-1978
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Provenance

Acquired from Gary Tartakov, December 2008 (Accession number 2008-295).

Processing Information

Processed by Katherine Barrett, Cameron Brown, Rebecca Guernsey, and Morgan Hubbard, December 2010.

Related Material

Among several other collections in SCUA relating to the antinuclear movement, see:

  • Antinuclear Collection (MS 547): includes materials stemming from the Franklin County chapter to the AEC.
  • Citizens Awareness Network Records

See also the Clamshell Alliance Papers (MC 77) at the University of New Hampshire Library, Milne Special Collections.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Alternative Energy Coalition Records (MS 586). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Renewable energy source
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

Contributors

  • Alternative Energy Coalition
  • Clamshell Alliance

Types of material

  • Realia
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