Thank you to Bill Shaner for echoing our thoughts and for your support. Congratulations on the published editorial!
That’s why I was encouraged to see the local environmental activist group Mothers Out Front take to the Standing Committee on Public Health and Human Services earlier this week to demand that Eversource, the city’s natural gas supplier, fix all leaks in and around city schools. In the past, they’ve also petitioned the School Committee, the school administration and brought in a gas leak expert to tour the grounds of city buildings with a specialized car to detect leaks.
Read all about it below:
Thank you to all for showing up and supporting the FUTURE Act hearing in the Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee, November 12, 2019
- 37 people testified for the FUTURE Act
- A bus came from Merrimack Valley with lots of folks from Lawrence and North Andover. Seven of them shared really powerful and moving testimony about their experiences over the last year.
- 4 moms from Mothers Out Front testified
- The room was packed including about 100 from Mothers Out Front.
- Boston Mayor Walsh testified in support of the FUTURE Act
- Bill Akley, President of Eversource Gas testified after us and announced their plan for 3 geothermal microdistrict pilots.
- If you want to see the 5 hours of testimony here is the video of the whole hearing.
Senator Cindy Creem, Representatives Lori Ehrlich and Christina Minicucci
The FUTURE Act:
Creates a path to a safer renewable energy future.
Addresses the neglected gas system’s current leaky pipes and safety challenges.
Reforms our Department of Public Utilities (DPU).
Massachusetts has committed, through the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 to a 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. While we strongly support increasing this goal to 100%, we are also aware that our current efforts will not suffice to meet even the 80% target.
Since 1997, Massachusetts has required electric utilities to use more renewable energy each year through the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). One result is that our growing solar electric industry has earned 11,500 jobs and attracted $5 billion of investment to our state. The gas utilities do not have a similar path to get to our state emissions goals and continue to invest heavily in fossil fuel infrastructure that will not be needed. If we are to meet even existing goals, we must address the gas system.
It is time to take on the challenge of how to heat and cool our buildings with local clean renewable energy instead of explosive gas. The FUTURE Act creates a road map for gas companies to transition to modern renewable thermal by 2050.
Next Steps for Advocacy
The Senate passed a bill, An Act Setting Next Generation Climate Policy, S2500, with important components based on the FUTURE Act, including an amendment that passed in large part because of a surge of calls from Mothers Out Front members. Many parts related to safety and gas leaks will be discussed as part of a Senate Natural Gas bill in the near future.
The House members of the Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) Committee extended the deadline for their report on the FUTURE Act until June 4th. We want the bill reported favorably out of the committee as soon as possible. We are still asking Representatives in the House to reach out to the TUE Committee Chair Rep Thomas Golden about our support for the bill. We also ask that you reach out to constituents in other parts of the state where there may not be a strong climate voice to contact their Representatives. Here is a sample email and call script.
Gas is the Past - Health Impacts Information
While the 2018 legislative cycle was disappointing in many ways, we did have an important win on LUAF. What’s LUAF, you ask? “Lost and Unaccounted for Gas!”. The Gas Leaks Allies succeeded in getting our LUAF language into the clean energy omnibus bill that passed in August.
The new language requires the utilities to report on LUAF each year in a clearer and more uniform way, allowing us to tailor our gas leaks strategies more effectively. Until now, utilities’ LUAF numbers have been fuzzy, including a mish-mash of actual leaks, metering errors, gas the utilities use for their own operations, etc. Going forward, these categories must be separately reported in a standardized way, and even actual leaks must be further broken down – for example, how much lost gas comes from deteriorating pipes, versus pipes hit accidentally during construction, or leaking compressor stations. Just like the 2014 law that required the utilities to publicly report leak numbers and locations for the first time, this new law will give us critically-needed information to use in our work.
205+ Gas Leaks in Arlington
In an effort to change the conversation around the risks of "natural" gas, Mothers Out Front has been raising awareness by drawing attention to leaks in natural gas pipelines. This page tells the story of our ongoing campaign.
On October 27-28, 2018, we will work together to tag 205 UNREPAIRED gas leaks in Arlington, to raise awareness of the dangers of methane gas, and to demand that the utilities "Fix the Leaks First!" This effort builds on our previous campaign in 2016, in which we tagged 177 gas leaks in Arlington.
Making the news: ACMi news from October 20, 2016 includes a few-minute segment (skip to 06:30 in this video) on our gas leaks tagging launch.
Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Selectman Joe Curro, and MOF member Susan Lees at Gas Leaks Tagging Launch
Fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline
Our Pipeline Task Force joined "The Fight Is Not Over” on December 17, 2016, a local day of #NoDAPL action coordinated by a group of Native organizers and non-Native allies. The day's events included:
- 9 am rally at the office of the Army Corps of Engineers in Concord
- Relay run to Boston with stops along the way to distribute flyers outside TD Bank branches in Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge
The Fight Is Not Over featured Arlingtonian Mothers Out Front (lefthand image): Carol Chamberlain (sign around neck) and Anne Wright (tan hat). The Pipeline Task Force demonstrated in front of branches of TD Bank, which has been funding the Dakota Access pipeline, to pass out flyers and encourage customers to move their money.