Big turnout for Jan. 6, 2015 meeting

Over 100 residents came to a meeting in West Roxbury on Jan. 6 to discuss concerns about the pipeline.

Jan. 6, 2015 meeting in West Roxbury

Among the facts presented by residents

  • Spectra already purchased land from the quarry for the metering and regulation (M&R) station. This land was previously the site of a house that had become structurally unsound due to the quarry’s blasting. It is still zoned as residential but homes cannot be built there.
  • The M&R station cannot be considered separately from the pipeline. They are part of the same project. The station will meter the amount of gas passing through so that the energy companies can put a dollar amount on it, and it will regulate the pressure of the gas, changing it from high-pressure to low-pressure so that it is able to flow through lower-pressure neighborhood distribution pipes and then into residential houses. The impact of the M&R station must be considered as part of the impact of the overall pipeline project.
  • Spectra has not begun construction on the pipeline yet. They need regulatory approval of the Final Environmental Impact Statement which may come by the end of the month. The commission’s review is supposed to include review of possible alternate routes.
  • Residential demand for gas is already being met. The energy companies want this pipeline to support the profitability of their changing infrastructure.
  • Although Massachusetts has banned fracking as a method of obtaining gas from natural underground reserves, gas that has been fracked elsewhere can still pass through pipelines that run through Massachusetts, as it will in this project. The proposed AIM pipeline will run through four states; the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline is an offshoot that will take gas from Westwood into Boston.
  • Look for articles by Paul Horn and Ricky Harvey, along with a possible rebuttal by the industry or the regulatory body, in the upcoming issue of the West Roxbury Transcript.
  • A coalition of environmental groups will rally at Boston City Hall on Wed, Jan 14 from 11-1 supporting an assortment of environmental issues.

Among the concerns that were raised

  • The official assessment that there is a minimal risk reflects the probability of interference from the quarry’s blasting. It does not reflect the possibility of interference by a disturbed or malicious individual at the site of the above-ground M&R station.
  • Why should anyone expect the gas company to maintain the new pipeline better than they maintain existing pipelines?
  • Why doesn’t Spectra consider moving the pipeline route so that it doesn’t pass right next to the quarry? Presumably money is not an object for them here, especially as the pipeline has not been built yet?
  • There was a distinction between activism to move the pipeline (to someone else’s neighborhood) and to stop the pipeline, along with recognition that people in attendance may have different views on this.

Among the ideas for volunteering

  • In the past week, 15 volunteers doorknocked on 1,000 houses in three days. They found that neighborhood awareness of the pipeline project was generally very low. There are 3,000 houses in the high-risk neighborhood that SWRL would still like to target. Volunteers are needed.
  • Please reach out to neighborhood public schools and to college students.
  • Help design lawn signs.
  • Contact TV stations.
  • It would be great if someone could offer speaker trainings.
  • Help determine residents’ legal options.

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