WHY GAS LEAKS MATTER
Natural gas is leaking near many of our homes, schools & businesses in Massachusetts 24/7.
- Pipelines, some over 100 years old and laid down after the Civil War, are spewing gas.
- Iron pipes under our streets can leak from any joint. There are literally thousands of leaks.
Natural gas is 95% methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
- Methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide for the first 20 years. (2013 IPCC report)
Gas leaks are hazardous because they:
- can explode.
- hurt our health, e.g., aggravate asthma.
- kill trees.
Gas leaks erase all our progress to reduce greenhouse gas.
- Gas leaks are equivalent to 10% of our emissions. (2015 PNAS Harvard/Boston University McKain study)
- Gas leaks are not counted in our state Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.
- Gas leaks wipe out all our efficiency and conservation efforts to date.
You pay for gas leaks!
- Utilities pass on the cost of this waste to us as ratepayers.
- We pay up to $135 million every year in Massachusetts (2013 Sen. Markey study).
- We pay $90 million a year just in the Boston area, enough to heat 200,000 homes.
(2015 PNAS Harvard/Boston University McKain study)
Most of our gas in Massachusetts is fracked gas from Pennsylvania.
- More than 1000 chemicals are used in its extraction, some of which are toxic.
- Chemicals include carcinogens, radioactive materials, neurotoxins and
breathing hazards that exacerbate respiratory conditions.
- We don't know what chemicals are used or carried along with gas into our homes, because gas producers and utilities don't have to tell us.
Numbers, volume and explosive risk of gas leaks are underestimated in Massachusetts.
- A 2013 BU study found more than twice the number of gas leaks than were reported by utilities. (Environmental Pollution, Phillips et al.)
- A 2016 study found 1.7 times more leaks than reported by utilities. (MAPC/HEET)
- A 2015 Harvard study found methane levels 2-3 times worse than estimated by regulators. (Proceedings of NAS, McKain et al.)
- A 2016 BU study found 7% of leaks are gushing 50% of the gas. Finding and fixing these leaks could solve half the problem. (Environmental Pollution, Hendrick et al.)
- The same BU study also found 15% of leaks were misclassified as safe, but are potentially explosive. (Environmental Pollution, Hendrick et al.)
- Utilities are cooperating with Mothers Out Front and our allies in some towns to identify and fix “super-emitters”, the biggest and most environmentally damaging methane leaks.
Natural gas is a bridge fuel to nowhere for Massachusetts.
More pipelines and fracked gas would bring extra financial, health, & environmental burdens ‒ all at our risk and cost as taxpayers, customers & citizens.
“...No additional pipeline gas capacity is needed to meet electric reliability needs” (2015 Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's report)
“Under business-as-usual circumstances, the region can maintain electric reliability through 2030, even without additional new natural gas pipelines. Even under a “stressed system” scenario, there are cheaper, less carbon intensive ways to ensure electric reliability, like energy efficiency and demand response, that are less risky for ratepayers.”
“Shrinking Need for Natural Gas” (2016 Synapse study)
“Our findings show that any savings created by the Access NE pipeline will be outweighed by its costs, which are more than twice what the proponents have generally reported. We have also determined that the need for natural gas in New England will decrease dramatically within a few years of Access NE’s construction, alleviating the capacity constraints cited to justify the pipeline.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We need to #FixBigGasLeaks and fast.
- Call National Grid during major utility projects to check for leaking pipes: 1-800-233-5325.
- Go to Fixourpipes.org for more information.
- Call your State Senator, Cynthia Creem (617) 722-1639 to support the Senate Bill S.1845 - gas leaks consumer cost protection bill filed by Sen. Eldridge, Acton.
- Call your State Representative to support House Bill H.2683 – the gas leaks consumer cost protection bill filed by Rep. Barber, Somerville. If you live in:
Precinct 1: Rep. Michael Moran (617) 722-2014
Precinct 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13: Rep. Frank Smizik (617) 722-2676
Precinct 5: Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (617) 722-2430
Precinct 14, 15, 16: Rep. Edward Coppinger (617) 722-2080
- Check the interactive map of gas leaks in Brookline at www.squeakyleak.org, provided by Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) heetma.org, and ask National Grid to fix leaks next to your home.