In January 2015, we discovered a new Harvard/BU study on methane leaks from the natural gas utility pipelines in greater Boston. The study revealed that there were at least 3,200 leaks in our area, amounting to 15 billion cubic feet of lost gas a year, enough to power 200,000 homes. This UAG (lost and unaccounted for gas) is valued conservatively at $90 million dollars a year, and impacts our health and safety. And we, the consumers of Boston, MA, are paying for it!
Working with Audrey Schulman of HEET and Joel Wool of Clean Water Action, as well as the Jamaica Plain community team, we met with one Boston City Councilors after another to make our case. Councilor Matt O’Malley was inspired to call a hearing, which was scheduled on September 21st. The result of the hearing was that a resolution to urge passage of two bills, (H2780 and H2781 that, if successful, could substantially reduce the number of leaks) was approved!
AND since that hearing, 21 city and town governments have passed resolutions supporting the legislation and several are going further to work towards passage of related city ordinances.
On November 17, 2015 a State House hearing on H2870 and H2871 took place and once again, Mothers Out Front and our allies packed the room after a stirring rally on the State House steps.
Watch Claire Humphrey's (Mothers Out Front Jamaica Plain) testimony at that hearing:
Take Action: Please call or write your state representatives to support two bills before the MA legislature that will address the problem:
- H.2870 protects consumers of gas and electricity from paying for leaked and unaccounted for gas, putting the fiscal responsibility on the utility company. Passage of this bill would create an incentive for utility companies to fix the leaks.
- H.2871 requires gas companies to check for and repair gas leaks whenever significant roadwork is being done. This would require a more proactive approach to finding and fixing leaks and would prevent repeated opening and rebuilding of roads.