Monthly Archives: June 2016

June 28 SAFE event: “Avoiding Flint – Protecting the Climate”

Gas pipelines and Salem’s water supply: the recent proposal to build a gas pipeline here on the North Shore could adversely affect the drinking water supplies of North Shore communities. Massive amounts of weed killer (herbicide) is sprayed on a regular basis around these pipelines to prevent plants from growing near them. These herbicides can then wash into our rivers and streams, and our water supplies. Panel discussions and presentations by: Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association; Dr. Erin Bennett, Salem Resident and Environmental Chemist; and Cathy Kristofferson, Stop Northeast Energy Direct. Sponsored by Salem Alliance for the Environment.

To be held Tuesday, June 28, 7:00 PM at First Church in Salem, UU, 316 Essex Street, Salem, MA. For more info, email or visit the Salem SAFE Facebook page.

ipswich river watershed.png

SALEM NEWS: Lawmakers want nuclear plant shuttered

Four state legislators are calling for the shutdown of Seabrook Nuclear
Plant, due to safety risks. Please thank them! Massachusetts State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Massachusetts State Representative James M. Kelcourse, Massachusetts State Senator Daniel A. Wolf, and Massachusetts State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante.

From Angeljean Chiaramida, Staff Writer (Jun 2, 2016) —

According to the legislators’ letter, there are three reasons why they want NextEra Energy Seabrook shuttered. First is the continuing concrete degradation condition known as alkali-silica reaction, or ASR, that affects the concrete walls at the power plant.

The second reason is the legislators believe that, should there ever be a problem at the power plant, “a timely, safe, and realistic evacuation of the (10-mile) evacuation zone and beyond in the case of a nuclear public safety risk is impossible.” They also believe the evacuation zone should be extended beyond the 10-mile radius.

Their last reason criticizes the NRC specifically.

“Thirdly, the NRC has failed to provide adequate oversight, particularly over the degradation that plagues the Seabrook Station,” they wrote in the letter. “The NRC’s lack of knowledge about the progression of the degradation combined with the non-existent regulatory track record on concrete degradation has already put people of New England at unknown risk.”

Read more.

sen kathleen o'connor ives
Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives

From the Mass. Climate Action Network: the Energy Omnibus Bill is in the House TODAY

[Below are detailed ideas on what to ask for in the bill, and a link to find out who your Mass. elected officials are.]


Massachusetts has been a national leader on clean energy,  but now are at a crossroads: we are poised to invest billions of dollars to replace retiring power plants and make energy choices that will shape our future.

Comprehensive energy policy is now advancing through the state legislature. Please urge your elected officials to invest in clean energy like wind and solar, and to ban any public financing of fracked gas pipelines!

Will you contact your respresentative and senator today?

When you call, meet with, or email your Representative and Senator, here is what you can say:

“I want to urge you to strengthen clean energy provisions in the House energy bill, H4336 – an Act Relative to Energy Diversity. Please work to pass an energy bill that reduces our reliance on imported gas and harnesses our state’s abundant renewable energy resources like wind and solar. The energy bill should:

  1. Stop the “pipeline tax.” Ratepayers should not foot the bill for new fracked gas pipelines. The cost and risk to consumers and the environment are too great and the legislature has a role to play in protecting the public by banning this practice. Please amend this legislation to head off the DPU’s plan to charge electric ratepayers for gas pipelines.
  2. Be bold with offshore wind: Legislation should establish long-term contracts for at least 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The current bill calls for 1200 megawatts – a good start, but increasing this will allow our state to grow wind jobs and capture a cost-saving economy of scale.
  3. Accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard to increase 2% per year: Maryland, California and Hawaii have all set ambitious RPS targets. To meet cuts the scientists say we must make in our climate change causing pollution, we can and should do the same. Please increase the RPS and accelerate the growth of local renewable power and the growth of clean energy jobs.
  4. Restore low-income and community solar: To ensure all communities can access solar power, the legislature should restore compensation for low-income and community solar projects.

Thank you for your support of clean energy, and please urge your colleagues to support these provisions.”

If you don’t know who your elected official is, you can find out here. Once you are ready to call, you can call them directly or you can call the state house switchboard at (617) 722-2000. And once you call, please let me know what your Representative and Senator says. It is super helpful to helping us strategize!

Carol Oldham, Executive Director []
Massachusetts Climate Action Network

carol oldham MCAN

Missing gas leaks raising questions

The number of natural gas leaks in Massachusetts on record in 2014 dropped drastically on the first day of 2015. Audrey Schulman, president of HEET, comments on the accounting discrepancy (visit SAFE’s YouTube channel to see videos SAFE recorded of Audrey back in 2010; also see the SATV show SAFE recently produced, “Who Pays for Natural Gas Leaks?“).
From Boston Globe staff member, David Abel:

“This suggests that the utilities aren’t doing a good job tracking leaks,” said Audrey Schulman, president of the Home Energy Efficiency Team, or HEET, a Cambridge nonprofit that analyzed the data. “If they don’t have them on their books, they’re not monitoring them, and if they’re left unmonitored, leaks get worse.”

Utility companies are spending billions of dollars to replace leaky gas pipelines across the state, and repair leaks as quickly as possible, company officials say. The leaks, which are responsible for a significant portion of the state’s greenhouse gases, are often caused by corroding cast-iron pipes or construction accidents.

Read the Globe article.


National Grid employee Lane Guidry connected the chute to the gas pipe./DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF