Category Archives: fossil fuels

SJC nixes ‘pipeline tax’/Says Baker administration order violated intent of earlier laws

Ratepayers will not have not pay a special tax so that new natural gas pipelines can be built in Massachusetts.

From Bruce Mohl (Editor, CommonWealth Magazine) —

THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT ruled on Wednesday that the Baker administration can not authorize the state’s electric utilities to tap their ratepayers for the money to finance a new natural gas pipeline into the region…

A new pipeline was expected to bring more cheap gas into the region and reduce electric prices, but opponents said a new pipeline would only increase the region’s over-reliance on a fossil fuel that is contributing to global warming…

The ruling means efforts to build a new natural gas pipeline into the region are effectively dead, although pipeline backers have said they will find another way to get the job done…

Attorney General Maura Healey joined the plaintiffs in opposing the DPU order. In a statement, she said “we know from our 2015 electric reliability study that there are cleaner and more affordable options for meeting our energy needs. The court’s decision makes clear that if pipeline developers want to build new projects in this state, they will need to find a source of financing other than electric ratepayers’ wallets.”

Read more.

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One of the ads against the pipeline tax. From www.NoCompressor.com

Utilities under pressure to fix small gas leaks

Gas leaks that are a distance from buildings didn’t used to have to be repaired. That’s all hopefully changing.

From Christian Wade, who covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for The Salem News:

quotation marks

A recent Boston University study of 100 gas leaks in Greater Boston found that about 15 percent of those categorized as nonhazardous, “Grade 3” leaks are actually more serious Grade 1 leaks, [Audrey Schulman] said…

…Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, primary sponsor of the gas-leak measure, said utilities are focused on replacing old pipes rather than fixing leaks, which is slowing the process.

Consumers are unfairly saddled with the cost, she said.

“For the ratepayers, replacement is far more expensive than repair,” said Ehrlich. “This bill puts the focus back on repairs.”

Read more.

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Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, was the primary sponsor of the gas leak measure. “For the ratepayers, replacement is far more expensive than repair,” she said. “This bill puts the focus back on repairs.”

SAFE’s video of “Gas Pipelines and Salem’s Water Supply” now on YouTube and SATV

The June 28th presentations by Wayne Castonguay, Erin Bennett, PhD, and Cathy Kristofferson can now be seen on YouTube here.

In Salem, the video will air on channel 3 on these dates and times:
Friday, July 15, 2016: 9:30 PM
Monday, July 18, 2016: 6:00 AM
(go to SATV’s online schedule for future airings)

“Avoiding Flint – Protecting the Climate”
For more info, email salemsafe@gmail.com
Part I (0 to 32 minute marker)
Introductions by Jeff Barz-Snell, Co-Chair of SAFE
“The Voice of the River,” by Wayne Castonguay (Executive Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association)

Part II (32 minute marker to 1 hour and 44 minute marker)
“Glyphosate 101: What is this stuff & how does it behave in the environment?” by Erin Bennett, PhD (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor)
“Update on Gas Pipelines,” by Cathy Kristofferson (Liasion for Stop Northeast Energy Direct: StopNED) and Paula Terrasi (also with StopNED)

SAFE’s YouTube channel

wayne castonguay

“Gas Pipelines and Salem’s Water Supply,” Parts I and II, are now on YouTube

Go to SAFE’s YouTube channel to watch the recording of the June 28th event.

Video published on Jul 9, 2016

Avoiding Flint – Protecting the Climate
Sponsored by SAFE

Part I (0 to 32 minute marker)
Introductions by Jeff Barz-Snell, Co-Chair of SAFE
“The Voice of the River,” by Wayne Castonguay (Executive Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association)

Part II (32 minute marker to 1 hour and 44 minute marker)
“Glyphosate 101: What is this stuff & how does it behave in the environment?” by Erin Bennett, PhD, (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor)
“Update on Gas Pipelines,” by Cathy Kristofferson (Liaison for Stop Northeast Energy Direct: StopNED) and Paula Terrasi (also with StopNED)

Ends with a question-and-answer period.

Go directly to “Gas Pipelines and Salem’s Water Supply,” Parts I and II.

for facebook gas pipelines and Salem's water supply
The Flint, Michigan water crisis

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!
[T]hanks,

Carol Oldham, Executive Director [carololdham@massclimateaction.net]
Massachusetts Climate Action Network
http://www.massclimateaction.net/

carol oldham MCAN

Letter: SSU urged to divest from fossil fuel companies

In today’s Salem News:

To the editor:

In order to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, 80 percent of currently listed fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground, unburnable, as stranded assets. It is unconscionable for Salem State University to continue to profit from fossil fuel companies and investments that will lock us into catastrophic climate change. More than 650 students and 110 faculty members have signed a petition asking Salem State to immediately freeze its investments in fossil fuel companies and divest its holdings completely from these companies within five years.

Until Salem State divests from fossil fuels we encourage future patrons to instead donate to the Multi-School Divestment Fund.

We have the opportunity to show leadership for our students and join more than 500 divested institutions worldwide in a time of unprecedented transition.

It is time to act.

Jessica Debski

Divest Salem State From Fossil Fuels Student Group

Link to letter.

Salem_State_University
Salem State University (source: WikiMedia Commons)

Moulton to host Q&A at ‘Merchants of Doubt’ film

Film focuses on efforts to discredit climate change, other issues

Almost every seat was filled at the National Park Service Visitors Center last night, for a screening of the film, Merchants of Doubt (the story referred to above ran in the Salem News on May 5th). The film showed how the struggle to expose the tobacco industry’s practice of hiring “experts” to discredit the dangers of smoking is happening all over again with climate change. However, that battle took 50 years, and we don’t have the luxury of that many decades this time around, according to James Hansen and other scientists focused on the hard science of what is happening to our atmosphere.

Here is a YouTube clip of the question-and-answer session with Congressman Moulton, filmed by SAFE Advisory Board Member, Stan Franzeen. The Salem News article that ran on the 5th before the screening can be read here.

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Congressman Seth Moulton