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

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