Massachusetts

Katie Bacon LTE + Gas Leaks Tagging May 13th 2017

One of our members, Katie Bacon, wrote the following letter to the editor in our Brookline Tab on the gas leaks problem. We'll be tagging Brookline Gas leaks next Saturday, May 13th. Our goal is to raise awareness of the extent of the gas leak issue, ask participants to sign postcards to Governor Baker 

in opposition to more natural gas development in the state, and ask our Massachusetts elected officials to pass the Gas Leaks Consumer Protection Bill, which prevents the utilities from passing on the cost of missing and unaccounted for gas to us, the ratepayers.

Katie's Letter to the Editor:

When it comes to important math tests, I always tell my children to check their answers. 

Our state should do the same, especially when the answer affects a livable climate for our children.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Public Utilities (DPU) have both proposed regulations recommending that the state estimate emissions from our aging natural gas infrastructure—both the emissions that come from larger “environmentally significant” leaks as well as the total amount of gas that leaks into our atmosphere.

 In Brookline, we have 272 leaks [see http://www.heetma.org/squeaky-leak/natural-gas-leaks-maps/]; and in Massachusetts as a whole there are more than 20,000 spots leaking gas all day every day. Since this gas is methane, a greenhouse gas on steroids, any mistake in estimating emissions would have a big impact.

 And there’s reason to think that estimates of emissions from the DEP and the DPU might be significantly too low. A 2014 Harvard/Boston University study by Kathryn McKain measuring natural gas in the atmosphere over Greater Boston found more than eight times the amount of natural gas in the atmosphere than the DEP had estimated for that year.

 DEP and DPU should not estimate. They should check their results by measuring emissions from large leaks and in the atmosphere. Flunking this test is not acceptable.

Katie Bacon

Brookline Mothers Out Front

Brookline, Mass.

 


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