Boston City Council passes unanimous resolution opposing West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline

BOSTON  Today, the Boston City Council, led by City Councilor Matt O’Malley, unanimously passed a resolution opposing the planned West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline. The Council additionally requested a baseline Health Commission study to investigate the potential impact of the pipeline on its proposed path.

[Read the text of the resolution as a PDF]

[Watch the recorded Council hearing, with pipeline-related comments beginning at 1:05:14 into the video]

Councilor O’Malley, who represents District 6 in Boston, which includes the neighborhoods of West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, parts of Roslindale and Roxbury, and the Back of the Hill, is one of several city and state officials who are staunch opponents of the proposed pipeline. This resolution was unanimously passed by the Councilor and the four at-large Boston City Councilors, Michael Flaherty, Stephen Murphy, Ayanna Pressley, and Michelle Wu.

The Resolution comes on the heels of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s April 2nd request for a rehearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with regard to FERC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for this project. FERC’s findings would allow Algonquin Gas to build a new, 750 psi high pressure gas transport line that would run next to West Roxbury Crushed Stone. FERC’s findings are of serious concern to the local community due to the public safety issues of having a natural gas pipeline constructed adjacent to a quarry that uses dynamite on a daily basis.

“We are strongly encouraged by the Council’s decision today,” said Paul Horn, spokesperson for The Committee to Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline (SWRL). “The dangers inherent in a high pressure natural gas transport pipeline are numerous. You only have to look at the 2010 San Bruno, Calif. natural gas pipeline explosion to see the potential for destruction on a massive scale that would affect West Roxbury, Dedham, and neighboring areas. This type of pipeline simply does not belong in any densely settled neighborhood, particularly in proximity to an active quarry.”

In San Bruno in September 2010, a natural gas pipeline with an internal pressure of only 350 psi exploded, killing eight people, destroying 38 homes, and damaging many others. It left a crater in the earth measuring 167 feet long by 26 feet wide.

As Mayor Walsh said in a public statement in early April, “I have listened to the concerns of the community, and we have asked Algonquin Gas and Spectra Energy several times to find a new route for this pipeline. The project as proposed poses real public safety risks for West Roxbury residents, and we must work together with the community and with our city, state and federal partners to find a solution that is in the best interests of West Roxbury residents.”

Contact:

Paul Horn

The Committee to Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline

617-323-5205 / 617-780-6979

stopWRLpipeline@gmail.com

www.swrl.info

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Lobbying campaign continues: Activists calling for a pipeline moratorium

Boston – A fledgling movement continued April 7, 2015 with visits to the offices of US Senator Edward Markey, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. It is called the “Campaign for a Pipeline Moratorium.” Supporters of Stop West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline Coalition (SWRL) vow to increase public pressure for key decision-makers to stand up to the fracked gas industry.

Despite no direct response to letters and two prior visits, Senator Warren and Markey aides told representatives of eight environmental groups that their lines of communication have always been open but that there is nothing more they can do to get the Senators to respond to the request. The activists want a pipeline moratorium, pending stringent health department safety studies.

The senators were asked to respond to urgent pleas to oppose the pipeline by April 16 in time to be part of publicity on Earth Day April 22 either congratulating their courage and vision or expressing alarm at their inability to protect their constituents.

SWRL was forced to act by the recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline expansion. The proposed expansion includes a new pipeline passing through Westwood, Dedham and West Roxbury en route to a metering and regulating station only 200 feet from an active blasting quarry. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this month.

Jestin Jose, who lives within the blast radius of the proposed metering and regulation station, is concerned about his family’s safety. “It’s so sad that the company wants to put their metering station next to the blasting quarry. I have three kids. I am worried about their lives.”

In addition to safety, they are concerned that leaks from these fracked gas pipelines release methane which traps 87 times more heat than carbon dioxide, contributing to irreversible climate change. The pipeline would bring in three times more fracked gas than is needed for local consumption. They assert that the excess capacity is headed to Canada for export to overseas markets and that the profit-driven expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure will only precipitate further desperate crises related to climate change, raising the specter of more violent storms, increasing floods, and intensifying drought, famine, civil unrest and resource wars.

SWRL.info

Media contact: David Ludlow, davidludlow1@gmail.com 617-522-4246

Senators’ and Mayor’s aides:

Chris Lange for Senator Warren: chris_lange@warren.senate.gov 617-565-3170
David Brade for Senator Markey: david_brade@markey.senate.gov 617-565-8519
Chris Rusk for Mayor Walsh: christopher.rusk@boston.gov 617-635-4818

Thurs 4/9: Community meeting

We are planning a community meeting on Thursday, 4/9. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event starts at 7 p.m..

It will be held in the cafeteria of the Ohrenberger School, 175 West Boundary Rd, West Roxbury.

There will be a musical interlude from JP singer/songwriter Evan Greer (shown below), and we’re planning refreshments. There will be an opportunity to buy lawn signs for $10.

Evan Greer

Grassroots environmental activists in Boston call for a moratorium on fracked gas pipelines

Downtown Boston – A fledgling movement started March 31 with visits to the offices of US Senator Edward Markey, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, Attorney General Maura Healey, and US Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. It is called the “Lobbying Campaign for a Pipeline Moratorium.” Supporters of Stop West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline Coalition (SWRL) vow to return weekly to support key decision-makers in standing up to the fracked gas industry.

The West Roxbury residents asked their city councilor to sponsor a resolution calling for a moratorium on pipeline construction in Boston until the Boston Public Health Commission conducts a health and safety study, and asked that the mayor initiate the study upon passage of the resolution.

SWRL was forced to act by the recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline expansion. The proposed expansion includes a new pipeline passing through Westwood, Dedham and West Roxbury en route to a metering and regulating station only 200 feet from an active blasting quarry. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this month.

Jestin Jose, who lives within the blast radius of the proposed metering and regulation station, is concerned about his family’s safety. “It’s so sad that the company wants to put their metering station next to the blasting quarry. I have three kids. I am worried about their life.”

In addition to safety, they are concerned that leaks from these fracked gas pipelines release methane which traps 87 times more heat than carbon dioxide, contributing to irreversible climate change. The pipeline would bring in three times more fracked gas than is needed for local consumption. They assert that the excess capacity is headed to Canada for export to overseas markets and that the profit-driven expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure will only precipitate further desperate crises related to climate change, raising the specter of more violent storms, increasing floods; intensifying drought, famine, civil unrest and resource wars.

Mary Boyle, who lives less than half a mile from the Quarry in West Roxbury says that “This West Roxbury neighborhood has put up with a lot from that quarry and now we have this 750 p.s.i. gas pipeline, projected to come right past that quarry with a metering and regulating station directly across the street…This one is just outrageous.”

SWRL hopes the elected officials will take this opportunity to champion public health and safety over the fossil fuel industry, but is preparing to escalate their tactics if adequate steps are not taken by their representatives.

The pipeline moratorium lobbying campaign was born March 20, with a letter from SWRL to Senators Markey and Warren signed by 22 additional groups.

Media release courtesy of James Billman and Noah McKenna​ ​from Flood Boston