Tuesday, July 15 - 7:00 pm
Stand up, speak in favor of and vote yes on having BEAT and No Fracked Gas in Mass present pipeline issue to Committee on Public Health and Safety. (Agenda item #22 on page 3 of Meeting Agenda below)
Jane Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team (you may have seen her speaking in a town near you), has an expanded outline of what everyone can do right now to help grind the pipeline plan to a halt.
Sharpen your pencils!
Some basic points to make:
— the tariff would make every electric customer in New England foot the $4B bill for building this pipeline
— the capacity of this pipeline is 4 times the stated need for New England's power supply, making the majority of the gas likely to go to export, driving fuel prices up, not down
— expanded efficiency and clean energy programs would bring thousands more permanent jobs, local jobs to the state vs. the pipeline's "3000" temporary jobs (many likely to come from out of state specialist)
— the pipeline would impact property values with a 10-30% drop on average, dragging tax revenues down
— methane is not a clean energy, it's over 80 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the 20 year run, over 20 times more potent in the long run
— adding more natural gas to our electric generation grid dis-incentivizes clean energy development and brings us further away from our greenhouse gas reduction mandates (Average CO2 output for all sources of electricity in MA = 910 lbs. per MWh. Average CO2 output for a gas-electric plant = 1,210 lb. per MWh)
— by NESCOE's own study, extra pipeline capacity is proven to not be needed if the energy efficiency programs already in place continue
A western Mass writer for the New York Times had a fairly comprehensive article run in the online version. Although it's addressed more of the issue than any other major news coverage to date, there are still inaccuracies that could use clarifications. We see this as an open door for getting Letters to the Editor or OpEd pieces to run in the Times, and are hoping all of you will step up and make your views heard soon.
Here's how to submit either an op-ed or letter to the editor,
and my reply, in case you want something to get your own ideas flowing.
How to submit a Letter to the Editor to the Times (300 words or less)
How to submit and OpEd to the Times (Opinion-oriented, 400-1,200 words)
This is my response.—
This is provided as an example of the issues that need to be addressed - hopefully to be published. Your OpEd may vary.
The Wider View of the Massachusetts Pipeline Issue
Thank you to Mr. Zeller for his recent article in the NY Times, "Natural Gas Pipeline Plan Creates Rift in Massachusetts". It is encouraging to see that this massive pipeline project has gained the attention of this world-leading publication. Unfortunately, the heart of the matter seems to have been lost in the story. It's not about placement of the pipeline, and it's not about heating homes.
There is more than sufficient gas pipeline capacity to meet domestic uses, and to keep the lights on through our gas-fired electric plants. This proposed "Northeast Energy Direct (NED)" pipeline is about feeding cheaper gas to the generation plants for the week or so a year that prices spike and the rest being likely to go to export.
According to reports commissioned by regulatory agency NESCOE, even without conservation methods, our energy efficiency programs are enough to remove the need for any new infrastructure. The study conducted by industry experts Black & Veatch call this the Low Demand Scenario. This is the one scenario that was not investigated as a possible solution to the perceived impending energy crunch that New England may be facing, and hundreds of us across the state of Massachusetts out of the over 10,000 that oppose the pipeline (see www.nofrackedgasinmass.org to see the petition) are asking our Legislators to demand that this scenario be investigated BEFORE this or any other pipeline is approved.
The fact that this high-pressure transmission line is ending at the gas hub in Dracut, MA is no accident. Aside from connection to a few lateral lines, it's also the connection point to the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline, which has just applied to reverse direction to carry gas from Dracut to ports in Nova Scotia that have just repermitted from import to export terminals. With the NED pipeline being able to carry 4 times the capacity that was called for by ISO New England to meet New England's energy needs, where is the other three-quarters likely to go?
If peak demand is the problem, why not encourage peak shaving solutions, like LNG storage designated solely for domestic use. That would allow us to address the crunch between heating and electric generation that occurs just a few days every winter without incurring $2-4 Billion dollars of cost, the taking of land through eminent domain, the drain in property values and subsequent loss in local tax revenue, the extra burden of a tariff on all electric ratepayers in New England, the burden on local emergency management to deal with leaks, ruptures and explosions (which, according to DOT statistics, occur a little more than once a week in the US), and the massive environmental damage caused during construction.
There is far more at play here than the rightful concern of landowners who would be affected by the construction of this pipeline. Massachusetts' current reliance on natural gas leaves the region dangerously susceptible to gas price fluctuations, which are poised for an unprecedented roller-coaster ride, given our nation's current push for export as political policy. Also adding more gas to our energy mix drags us further from achieving our mandated greenhouse gas emissions goals. Our state's current mix of electric generation sources is already 25% cleaner in CO2 emissions than the average gas powered plant.
I hope that the Times will soon follow up with an article addressing the full picture surrounding Massachusetts' gas pipeline issue. With Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., pushing for a September date to pre-file with FERC. We don't have much time to get things right.
Founder, No Fracked Gas in Mass
The Rolling March is Moving!
The Rolling March / Relay Walk to the State House (link: http://www.nofrackedgasinmass.org/rolling-march/) is about halfway across the state and garnering quite a bit of participation and press! See instructions on how to submit your photos, videos or observations on our Tumblr blog for events "pics against the pipeline".
Climate Summer Riders
have been covering the state as well.
Climate Summer is a program of Better Future Project for college students. The group will travel around all parts of Massachusetts for six weeks only by bicycle, carrying everything with them. Their specific goal is to stop the Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline proposed to come through this area. In each town they stop for a few days to meet the community and get involved in any ongoing efforts and to help establish and maintain a resistance.
Team #WestMass is will be arriving in West Cummington this weekend, and working with folks in Plainfield. Any affected landowners and others from Plainfield, Cummington and Windsor who are feeling the effects of this pipeline proposal are encouraged to talk to Team leader Dineen O'Rourke, Community Outreach Coordinator.
» See their Itinerary here.
» Keep an eye out for their videos here!
WATCH FOR THESE TWO STATE-WIDE EVENTS!
— Rolling March to the State House, walkers link in relay march across the state from Richmond to Dracut, then finish at the State House in Boston. Contact Julia for more info.
» SEE THE SCHEDULE for the rolling march
— Climate Summer Bike Riders, two teams of Climate Summer riders cover the east and west sides of the pipeline route, working with local communities on telling their stories and getting the word out. Contact Marla Marcum for more info.
» SEE THE ITINERARIES of both teams
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We are proud to have Berkshire Environmental Action Team and New England Grassroots Environmental Fund as our fiscal sponsors (501c(3) ).
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