Moms take the mic and raise the stakes at the RTO public forum:
"The forum’s 150 attendees were mostly industry stakeholders, regulators and RTO officials. But there was also a three-woman contingent from Mothers Out Front, a climate change activist group, who pressed RTO planners on the region’s continued reliance on fossil-fueled generation. Carol Chamberlain, of Arlington, Mass., raised concerns about methane leaks in the natural gas supply chain. Randi Soltysiak, of Somerville, Mass., criticized the RTO’s plan for not shifting more heavily to carbon-free sources."
In Massachusetts, "the Gas Leaks Allies — a coalition of 21 environmental groups, researchers, legal and policy experts, health professionals, labor unions, community organizations, and MOTHERS — are ready to help..." the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) "find manageable ways to measure and monitor methane emissions so we can establish dramatic but achievable goals." #TogetherWeCanDoThis
On September 7th, Mothers Out Front team reps were at the state house in the morning to join 350MA for a meeting with Sen. Cindy Friedman and her Policy Advisor, Deborah Brown.
From Judith Glixon, Lexington Mother Out Front:
"We were, by the end of the meeting, 9 of her constituents (representing 350 Mass, Mothers Out Front, Jewish Climate Action Network, and a few other organizations) asking her to provide testimony on behalf of the bills that 350 Mass has prioritized in their "350 Mass Legislative Agenda," which you can see here.
The outcome was as follows:
Sen. Friedman is in favor of, and will provide testimony to T.U.E. for, all the issues listed, with the exception of the carbon pricing bills which she says she still needs more information on to better understand them. She stated that she welcomes any and all input related to all of these bills. She also recommended that no legislators' support should be taken for granted on any bills, so they should be lobbied regardless of what our assumptions are about their views."
"Mothers with kids turned out in Waltham, MA to say 'thank you' to those from National Grid who partnered with Mothers Out Front in a first-of-its-kind pilot study aimed at fixing the larger gas leaks from underground pipes in the most effective ways possible."
Mothers Out Front in Amherst and Northampton are both doing projects with ener-G-save, a local philanthropic venture that takes thermal image of homes thought the Pioneer Valley. We're helping get the word out to residents that they can make their homes more comfortable and healthy by making them more energy efficient.
Lee Jennings, a mom in Amherst, made a toss game, a house with holes where the energy is leaking out. We tried it out at the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival earlier in August. Kids loved trying to throw corks though the holes to "plug the leaks." If they got three plugged, they could put a solar panel on the roof. Meanwhile...we talked with the moms dads about energy efficiency.
"Audrey Schulman, president of Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET), said a recent study by Harvard and Boston universities showed about 2.7 percent of the gas that was supposed to reach consumers in Massachusetts escaped into the atmosphere through leaks. Schulman said the impact of that much methane, which she called “a greenhouse gas on steroids,” is equivalent to the emissions from all of the state’s stores and businesses.
Schulman said another study showed the majority of the emissions came from a small percentage of the gas leaks. HEET has been working with the utility companies and another group, Mothers Out Front, in hopes of finding these particularly bad leaks."
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Massachusetts Mothers showed up in solidarity with Green Justice Coalition at the MBTA fiscal board meeting on July 10, 2017.
Claire Humphrey of Mothers Out Front Jamaica Plain spoke at an event on July 6, 2017 organized by Environment Massachusetts to thank Senator Ed Markey for being a climate champion. Several groups came together at Long Wharf in Boston -- the Mystic River Watershed Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility, as well as Mothers Out Front and Environment America, to tell Senator Markey how much we appreciate his standing up for clean air and water in these tough times.
Sunday, July 16th, a team of 16 volunteers worked with Audrey Schulman and Jason from HEET for 9 hours to take over 100 measurements at different sites along a 32,000 square foot gas leak as part of the pilot study currently under way with the gas companies. Methane emissions varied significantly, from double digits to several thousand parts per million! The work was hot, but gratifying, and several of our fantastic volunteers brought cold refreshments to keep us going! We hope our work will raise awareness of this significant source of greenhouse gases. We look forward to hearing the results that HEET and Mothers Out Front will share this fall!
The team made this picture slide show (video) from their day! Thank you to Carolyn Lattin for this story!