Opinion: Accelerated gas leak repair campaign shows power of community advocacy, need for continued accountability
This opinion piece by Jesse Lederman is a nice tribute to the power of community organizing.
With the support of a coalition of organizations like the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, Arise for Social Justice, Mother’s Out Front, and the statewide watchdog group HEET, we worked to bring the gas company together with local officials and community members, and in 2017 were able to announce a deal to repair these leaks over time, with a concerted focus on the largest leaks first. The announcement was the first of its kind in Massachusetts.
Wednesday, May 15th:
MothersOutFront was busy today!! We started out trying to talk to the Governor at the Green Ribbon Commission meeting but were asked to leave the premises.
Kristine Jelstrup (author and photographer), Pattie Heyman, Amber Martin, Jaclyn Secter, and Ellen Van Bever
Report-in from the Worcester Team: Mothers Out Front co-cooordinator, Gaylen Moore, being interviewed at the Worcester Townhall on the Green New Deal, organized by Sunrise Worcester. Gaylen was interviewed by Telegram and Gazette reporter, Steven Foskett. We tabled at this event, and one of our leaders, Wahya Wolfpaw, an indigenous grandmother, also opened the event with an blessing.
Gaylen Moore of Worcester is a member of the local chapter of Mothers Out Front, a national environmental advocacy organization. The group has focused locally on raising awareness about unrepaired natural gas leaks near schools and day care centers. But Ms. Moore said Mothers Out Front’s goals are in line with the Green New Deal; she said natural gas is a contributor to climate change.
“We need to shift utilities to clean energy in a way that creates good jobs,” Ms. Moore said.
She said it frustrates her to hear people asking where the money will come from to fund Green New Deal initiatives. She said people need to instead ask what the cost is of doing nothing.
Read the whole article here:
On the evening of Tuesday, May 7th, three members of the Mothers Out Front Worcester team, filed a petition to the Worcester City Council requesting a public hearing on Eversource's plans to fix current unrepaired gas leaks within fifty feet of Worcester Public School zones. We also asked that our city support the House F.U.T.U.R.E Act (An Act for A Utility Transition to Renewable Energy).
The concert included choral music by Koleinu and will feature Temple Emanu-El’s own Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Cantor Michael McCloskey of Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill, and a singalong led by Music Out Front, the musical arm of Mothers Out Front.
Cambridge Mothers Out Front enjoyed connecting with young people and asking them to write postcards to Gov. Baker, at the Global Warming Youth Summit at MIT in Cambridge.
A new state regulation requires utilities to identify these super leaks of methane gas! Two Mothers Out Front, Zeyneb Magavi and Debbie New are quoted in this article, as well as our friend Audrey Schulman from HEET!
"Congrats to HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Team)& the #GasLeakAllies for translating research to policy; to Margaret Cherne-Hendrick& Bob Ackleyfor key research; Gas Safety USAfor being first to raise the issue; & Mothers Out Front for engaging MA communities to fix this!"
Zeyneb Magavi, Audrey Schulman, Nathan Phillips and Debbie New Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, Zeyneb and Audrey
Over 40 Mass. Mothers Out Front members gathered Thursday March 28th to officially launch our two-year “Beyond Gas” campaign and a new Campaign Team and structure. Every Task Force, Working Group, and Functional Team, the Mass Leadership Team, and most Massachusetts Community Teams were all represented.
We started the Launch Meeting with a celebration of all that has been done in past years to limit the use of dangerous fracked gas, and to stop the build-out of gas infrastructure in Massachusetts. Attendees wrote our successes out on a timeline on the wall, and then added our visions for the future: the wins we hope to have in this two-year campaign. Members were hopeful that we would stop the Weymouth Compressor Station, join the fight in Western Mass. against the Agawam Pipeline Expansion, pass the FUTURE bill (SD1953 and HD3719) and fix all large volume leaks near schools throughout the state — and more! We toasted (with non-alcoholic bubbly cider) to our past and future successes, and to the determined and talented members from across the state that were in the room!