Abstract

A product of the vibrant, 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).

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275
413-545-2780
Alternative Energy Coalition Records
1960-1981 (Bulk: 1976-1980)
8 boxes (12 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 586

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:

Series descriptions
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.

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.

Collection inventory
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

Administrative information
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.

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.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts.
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History.
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts.
  • Nuclear Energy--Massachusetts.
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts.
  • Political activists--Massachusetts.
  • Renewable energy sources.
Names
  • Alternative Energy Coalition.
  • Clamshell Alliance.
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.).
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.
Genre terms
  • Realia.