PA to MA: The Fracking Connection

by Patricia A. Gozemba

Tuesday, March 6 at 7 PM – 9 PM 45 Pauline St, Winthrop, MA

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Clean Water Action, Mothers Out Front, and Mass Power Forward are bringing people from the fracking fields of the Marcellus Shale in PA to MA to share their stories of the daily horrors that they live with from the unregulated fracking industry.

The fracking industry is thriving. The people and their communities are not. There continues to be a big push in MA by our utilities to build new pipelines, paid for by ratepayers like us, to get the PA gas to the coast for export. The utilities tell us that the pipelines will secure a supply of gas to heat our homes in the winter. Conservation Law Foundation and a slew of other independent analysts point out that this is hogwash and just an opportunity for utilities to make more money.

Hear the folks who live in the fracking fields tell their story.

You’re Invited to “We’re In This Together: Battling for Clean Energy and Fighting Fracking from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.”

Join with concerned environmentalists on Tuesday March 6th from 7-9 pm at the Lyceum Room in the Edward B. Newton School for an evening with community leaders from the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. They live at the other end of the fracked gas pipelines that connect to Massachusetts. Speakers sharing their powerful stories will include Lois Bjornson, Craig Leland Stevens, Brian Latkanich and Jane Worthington whose communities are surrounded by fracking wells and facilities. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Clean Water Action, Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, Mothers Out Front and the Mass Power Forward coalition.

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

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.

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The Flint, Michigan water crisis

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 salemsafe@gmail.com or visit the Salem SAFE Facebook page.

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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

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.

Pipeline Feedback Website from Congressman Seth Moulton

Those of us on the North Shore have to pay close attention to this issue, because we need to find out if it’s true that herbicides will indeed be sprayed on a regular basis on either side of the pipeline (to keep trees from growing and sending their roots into the pipeline). Much of the proposed course of the pipeline is very close to one of the sources of our drinking water supply, the Ipswich River.

The following very important resource was brought to our attention by SAFE member, David Radue:

Yesterday, Congressman Seth Moulton’s office launched a web portal (available here) to solicit feedback about the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline proposal. CCL North Shore met with his staff yesterday to discuss a couple of other topics, but we set aside some time to talk about the pipeline, as well. Moulton’s staffers, Morgan Bell and Dennis Magnasco, told us that their office has not yet taken a position on the pipeline. They have heard concerns from many constituents in town hall meetings, and they made this website to cast a broader net in gathering feedback. The portal will be open until May. I encourage members of the SAFE network to familiarize themselves with the details of the proposal and associated environmental risks and to then to provide feedback to Moulton’s office.

Sincerely,
David Radue

U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (from his website)
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