Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline (SWRL) continues to fight the high-pressure fracked gas pipeline built by Texas-based Spectra Energy in 2016 despite strong local opposition from elected officials, including the Mayor of Boston; Councilman Matt O’Malley and the rest of Boston City Council; Rep. Coppinger; Congressman Steven Lynch; and thousands of neighbors and abutters in West Roxbury, Dedham and surrounding neighborhoods.
On Jan. 5, 2017, Spectra activated the flow of gas into the National Grid system from Westwood, where the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) begins, through Dedham into West Roxbury and the rest of Boston. Apart from the danger of a catastrophic explosion, residents of these communities are at risk from the many toxic elements this fracked gas would carry. Spectra’s metering and regulating station on Centre and Grove Streets in West Roxbury, vulnerable to regular dynamite blasting from the quarry across the street, creates an even greater risk of a catastrophic explosion.
Furthermore, natural “fracked” gas is itself a fossil fuel whose chief element, methane, is in some ways more harmful to the atmosphere and global warming than the CO2 produced by coal or oil. Even its extraction causes serious environmental damage. Facing dire threats from climate change caused by fossil fuel, we cannot let the natural gas industry pursue profits at the expense of community health and safety. We stand for greater investment in renewable sources of energy, fixing the extensive leaks in the current National Grid system, more aggressive energy conservation programs, and better demand management to meet our heating and electricity needs on the coldest days. We reject fracked gas as a so-called “bridge fuel.”
Since 2014, we’ve built a movement of concerned citizens, union activists, clergy, healthcare professionals, elected officials and other Massachusetts residents. We continue to say to our elected officials: We don’t need it, we don’t want it, shut it down!
In 2014, Texas-based company Spectra Energy announced plans to build a high-pressure natural gas pipeline through densely settled residential neighborhoods in Westwood, Dedham, and West Roxbury, Mass. and to build a metering station across the street from a stone quarry where blasting occurs regularly. This pipeline was part of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project which will move 342 million cubic feet of gas per day across the Hudson River to other destinations.
After residents learned about Spectra’s plans at a West Roxbury Saves Energy meeting in October 2014, the ad hoc committee “Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline” (SWRL) hosted a community meeting on Dec. 3, 2014 in West Roxbury to explain the potential impacts of this proposed pipeline and the threats it poses to our health and safety and to the environment. The keynote presentation was by local resident and nationally recognized natural gas safety expert Mark McDonald who said that the proposal was clearly too dangerous for a residential area.
Many events followed over the next two years. See the history: Events
SWRL has emphasized reaching out to our elected officials and other organizations to bring attention to this risk.
To reach a SWRL member for more information or to volunteer, contact stopWRLpipeline@gmail.com
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SWRL Steering Committee