SAFE Opposes Section 42

On July 17 th, 2012, SAFE joined  New England Power Generators’ Association, (NEPGA), Toxics Action Center, Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA), Environment Mass, Clean Water Action, Sierra Club,  Occupy Salem and HealthLink in opposing legislation being considered by state lawmakers (House Bill 4225) which includes a condition (Section 42) that forces Massachusetts electric consumers to purchase power for the next 15 years from a new, natural gas power plant being built on the site of a retired coal plant.

SAFE also sent a message to legislators and the local new outlets that further qualified SAFE’s position:

Speaker Robert Deleo, President Therese Murray, Sen. Fred Berry and Members of the Joint Energy Conference Committee

Section 42 of the House Energy bill unfairly privileges new natural gas plants. The type of long-term contract proposed should be reserved for renewable energy projects that move the Commonwealth closer to its goals for reducing its carbon footprint. New gas projects should move forward only if they are economically feasible without rate payer or taxpayer subsidies. It is our understanding that the developers who recently purchased Salem Harbor station have a business plan for a quick-start gas plant that is economically viable without this sweetheart deal. Long term contracts should be reserved for renewables.

Thank you for your consideration.

Patricia A. Gozemba

Co-Chair, Salem Alliance for the Environment

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules

From ThinkProgress.0rg, by Daniel J. Weiss and Jackie Weidman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today unanimously ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) legal authority to limit industrial carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act to protect Americans’ health.

Carol M. Browner, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress said:

“The Court’s decision should put an end, once and for all, to any questions about the EPA’s legal authority to protect us from industrial carbon pollution through the Clean Air Act. This decision is a devastating blow to those who challenge the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and deny its impact on public health and welfare.”

Read more:  U.S. Appeals Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules – Thinkprogress.org

US northeast coast is hotspot for rising sea levels

Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science ( June 24, 2012) reports:

Research from the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows that sea levels are rising much faster between North Carolina and Massachusetts than anywhere else in the world. The news comes less than two weeks after North Carolina’s Senate passed a bill banning state agencies from reporting predictions of increasing rates of sea-level rise.

Asbury Sallenger, an oceanographer at the USGS in St Petersburg, Florida, and his colleagues published their report today in Nature Climate Change1. They analysed tide-gauge records from around North America from between 1950 and 2009, and found that the rates of sea-level rise along the northern half of the eastern seaboard — from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to Boston, Massachusetts — are increasing three to four times faster than rates of sea-level rise globally.

Read more: US northeast coast is hotspot for rising sea levels – Nature.com

Many questions remain on future of Salem Harbor Station site

May 1, 2012

Brian T. Watson

Salem Evening News

As two energy companies — Footprint Power and Dominion Energy — negotiate in relative secrecy over the possible sale of Salem Harbor Station, the rest of us can only wait with great interest for the result.

Barring some unanticipated event, Dominion is expected to close the power plant permanently sometime during 2014. The 60-year-old facility is currently running only two of its four generating units and is relied on only part-time by the regional power grid. Read more…..

National Grid Delays Downtown Project

April 27, 2012

By Tom Dalton
SALEM EVENING NEWS

SALEM — National Grid is delaying its plan to replace several miles of underground electricity transmission lines through the downtown.

The project will be postponed one year due to uncertainty over the future of the Salem Harbor Station power plant, the company said.

Virginia energy giant Dominion, which plans to close the fossil fuel plant in 2014, is in talks with a possible buyer who wants to build a natural gas facility. Read more…..

Report: Ozone pollution still a problem in MA

April 25, 2012

Boston Globe Staff

More than a third of Massachusetts residents live in a county with failing air quality.

That’s one of the findings of a new report on ozone levels by the American Lung Association.

The report released Wednesday found that of the 12 Massachusetts’ counties with air quality monitors, five have improved their grades for ozone pollution while six received an F.

Those counties that improved the ozone grade include Berkshire, Barnstable, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk,

Those counties receiving an “F’’ for ozone pollution include Hampden, Hampshire, Worcester, Essex, Dukes and Bristol.

Read more…..

Enlarged natural gas pipeline proposed for N.E.

April 25, 2012

By Erin Ailworth

Boston Articles

A Houston pipeline company has begun exploring the expansion of a major regional pipeline to bring abundant supplies of natural gas to New England from nearby shale formations, a move that could help lower heating and electricity costs here.

Spectra Energy Corp. estimates that increasing pipeline capacity in Southern New England by about 15 percent would save gas and electric customers – including roughly 3 million in Massachusetts – up to $651 million a year. It would allow the area to further benefit from the boom in natural gas production inPennsylvania and New York, although there are no estimates yet on the potential effect on individual bills.

Read more…..

Ipswich River hits record low

April 11, 2012

By Ethan Forman     Staff writer

DANVERS — The Ipswich River’s flow is at a historic low, but officials say it’s too soon to institute watering restrictions.

For this time of year, the river is at its lowest flow rate in 80 years as measured at the Willowdale Dam on the border of Ipswich and Hamilton. The river is also at its lowest flow in 71 years at the South Middleton gauge.

Read more……

A SECOND CYCLE

Salem continues bike-sharing program

April 11, 2012

By Bethany Bray    Staff Writer

Salem will take its bike-sharing program for another spin after a successful pilot season.

Salem Spins, a program that offers bicycles, free of charge, for use around the city, launched for the summer season last week.

The city’s fleet of 20 bicycles is split between two hubs, at Salem State University and downtown, near the Hawthorne Hotel. Participants are free to use a bicycle for the day after leaving a credit card with an attendant as collateral and signing a waiver to absolve the city of any responsibility.

Read more…….