Monthly Archives: April 2016

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Free film screening in Salem: “Merchants of Doubt”

merchants of doubt v.6

From SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen:

On Friday May 6, Congressman Seth Moulton will be hosting an audience Q&A after a free screening of the film MERCHANTS OF DOUBT at the NPS Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem. Doors open at 6:00 pm, screening at 6:30 pm. Released in 2015, this satirically comic documentary exposes the deceptive tactics (borrowed from the tobacco industry’s playbook) that well-paid lobbyists have been using to create doubt and obscure the facts about climate science.

Salem Sound Coastwatch and SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment) are sponsoring in partnership with the National Park Service.

We are very excited about this unique opportunity to reach new audiences and help dispel some of the myths perpetrated by the anti-science crowd.

Pipeline opponents plan to pack upcoming hearings

In Georgia, the citizens just defeated a Kinder Morgan pipeline from being installed; in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, they’re currently fighting one; and WE ON THE NORTH SHORE need to fight the extension of it that they want to build right alongside the Ipswich River. It’s partly due to the fact that they’ll be tearing down fragile ecosystems in the Ipswich Watershed (part of our drinking water supply on the North Shore), but perhaps more urgently due to the fact that they’ll routinely and indefinitely have to spray very strong herbicides for 12 feet on either side of the pipeline to prevent tree roots from growing into it and damaging it. We can’t let them do that so close to our drinking water, nor in a protected ecosystem!

Furthermore, the Kinder Morgan pipeline will be carrying fracked gas. The process of fracking releases so much methane (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) into the atmosphere that it makes it a moot point that burning fracked gas releases less carbon dioxide than burning coal.

From Christian M. Wade, Statehouse Reporter, in the Eagle-Tribune on April 5, 2016:

State officials are planning six hearings over the next two weeks, including one Wednesday at Lynnfield Middle School and another at Andover High School on Thursday, April 14. Both begin at 7 p.m.

“We don’t want this company to run a destructive and potentially dangerous high-pressure, fracked gas pipeline across our community,” said Bob Croce, who heads an opposition group in Peabody. “And we certainly don’t want the state to give them permission to trample over property rights and conservation land for a pipeline project that wouldn’t benefit us at all.”

Kinder Morgan and its subsidiary want to pump gas from the Marcellus shale region across Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

Its pipeline would connect with other proposed and existing lines through Haverhill, Methuen and Andover. Smaller, lateral pipelines are proposed through Peabody, Danvers and Lynnfield…

Wayne Castonguay, executive director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association, said environmentalists are particularly concerned about a section of pipeline that would run along the Ipswich River — a drinking water source.

Besides the impact on wetlands and wildlife, he worries about the use of herbicides to clear the pipeline of brush.

“More than 300,000 people drink water from the Ipswich River every day,” Castonguay said. “There’s no way to mechanically clear the vegetation, so they have no choice but to use herbicides, which raises serious public health concerns….”

Project opponents — including Attorney General Maura Healey — contend that the demand for natural gas is exaggerated.

Read the whole article.

KMIs-Unparalleled-Asset-FootprintImage from marketrealist.com

Pipeline becomes issue in state rep race/Speliotis, Croce spar over money from lobbyist

The controversy over the proposed Kinder Morgan gas pipeline has entered into the Massachusetts State Representative race in the 13th Essex District. Bob Croce is running against incumbent State Representative Ted Speliotis (Danvers). Croce is pointing out that Speliotis accepted campaign donations from Kinder Morgan, and that it’s NOT coincidental that Speliotis doesn’t oppose the pipeline. Note in particular the last line of this clip from the article, especially in light of the fact that “fracked” gas will be running through the pipeline.

From Ethan Forman, Salem News Staff Writer, on Apr 5, 2016:

Bob Croce, a West Peabody resident…is also chairman of a citizens’ group opposing the pipeline plan in Peabody. Even before announcing his candidacy, Croce was attacking Speliotis for accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists representing Kinder Morgan…

“I would have not, absolutely, taken money from a lobbyist who was working for Kinder Morgan,” said Croce, chairman of Peabody Citizens United, a group opposed to the pipeline. “It’s up to others to judge if it’s right or wrong…”

The larger issue, he said, is what he calls Speliotis’ “lukewarm” opposition to the pipeline.

“He really seemed on the fence here,” Croce said.

A Democrat who is challenging Speliotis in the primary, Croce said he decided to run, “because, in general, the representative has never supported our opposition to the pipeline. In fact, he’s discouraged our efforts, saying several times that we can’t stop the project, so we might as well mitigate.”

A subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Tennessee Gas Company, wants to install a natural gas pipeline through West Peabody, but the project has proven controversial because the route would tear up a section of the Peabody Independence Greenway, and skirt the Ipswich River, triggering concerns that herbicides meant to keep the route clear could contaminate the river, which is a source of drinking water.

Croce said other political leaders have lined up in opposition to the pipeline, but not Speliotis.

Speliotis said he has a different view of the pipeline. He would prefer to see it routed along existing rights of way for pipelines, and away from the Ipswich River, he said, though that is not what the company is proposing.

He sees the pipeline as a possible secondary gas supplier to Salem’s new natural gas power plant, which is now under construction. With a competitive source of gas for the power plant, this could help lower the region’s electric rates, he said.

Read more.

croce and speliotis

image credit croce speliotis

Letter to the editor (not published yet) re: Kinder-Morgan pipeline

From Rabbi Judy Weiss in Brookline, a well-known LTE writer and champion of climate causes:

From: Judy Weiss
Subject: Letter to editor
To: northshore@wickedlocal.com

Dear Editor,
Charlotte Kahn’s climate change column is excellent, as always. But she made one questionable comment: regarding public protests against proposals for new Kinder Morgan pipelines to carry gas for sale abroad, she wrote “victory seems improbable.” Actually, property owners in conservative Georgia created such an uproar opposing a new Kinder Morgan pipeline to carry gas across Georgia to Florida, that Republican legislators in Georgia sponsored legislation “to enact a temporary moratorium on the use of eminent domain for construction of petroleum pipelines and the permitting for construction of such pipelines so that a commission of elected officials and field experts can conduct a detailed study.”

Kinder Morgan decided to suspend further work following the Georgia legislature’s action.

If Bay Staters make as much noise as Georgians, our legislature, Governor, Rep. Seth Moulton and even Kinder Morgan will hear, and victory will be ours!

Judy Weiss
Brookline, MA 02446
Volunteer member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

 

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Rabbi Judy Weiss lives in Brookline, MA. She teaches Hebrew Bible locally, and volunteers on climate change advocacy both locally and nationally.

Time running short on solar

Supporters of solar power in Massachusetts are trying to convince a six-member, Massachusetts legislative conference committee to pave the way for Massachusetts to continue to be a leader in solar power generation. Something has to happen soon, though, for by the end of this month it will be difficult, if not impossible, to alter the language of the “bad” solar bill currently in committee.

From CommonWealth Magazine staff member Bruce Mohl:

Inside the State House, the advocates played a key, behind-the-scenes role in convincing 100 House members to walk away from a previous vote slashing net metering rates and to sign a petition urging the conference committee to approve a bill similar to what the Senate has proposed. Net metering refers to the rate solar power generators are paid for the electricity they feed into the grid.
Outside the State House, solar advocates have also been making their case in a series of opinion pieces. Stephen Christy, the president and CEO of Sustainable Energy Professionals in Plainville, said the inaction on Beacon Hill has forced him to lay off his five employees. He also said the net metering cap is driving his firm out of Massachusetts and into New York.
Solar_panels_on_house_roofPhotovoltaic solar panels on a house roof in Massachusetts (image: Gray Watson)