Day #121 (late)

March 22
I brought in the remaining EFSB letters I referenced in Day #120.

I feel like I must make sure to turn every piece of information in to Constituent Services like I’m turning in evidence in a court case. Even though I know it’s all going into a black hole.

Advertisements

Day #120 (late)

March 21st
Oh, what a day for head shaking, head scratching, and mind blowing.

Gov. Baker was on Boston Public Radio yesterday afternoon, and by the grace of Jim and Margery a compressor question was allowed on! Heather, whoever you are, THANK YOU!

I wasn’t listening live, but holy moly, did I hear about it. I was able glean a little bit about what Baker said, and I tailored my document submission to one of his points. I will cover my response to the rest of Baker’s answers from the Ask The Governor show on Day #121 (today, LOL)

Baker: what I never got was while this whole process was playing out (way back when, before the decision was made) there really wasn’t much conversation (as far as I could tell) between MA & Feds over this decision, after the feds picked the place.

Is this a good question? Only if you’re not paying attention, and your people aren’t paying attention.

#1, Spectra/Enbridge TOLD us and FERC where they wanted to build. Feds did NOT pick this site. The proponent gets what they want, always, that’s how FERC (doesn’t) work. THIS IS WHY assuming Feds are right is so dangerous for all of us. States have rights! Use the laws.

#2, Enbridge chose the site in January of 2015, the same month Baker was inaugurated. Baker’s Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) held a community meeting in Weymouth on May 27, 2015 to discuss community concerns about the project. The transcripts are here:

EFSB has been the one state agency that understood clearly and urgently the troubling problems with this project at this site, as well as wider-ranging impacts on the state. In short EFSB is the polar opposite of DEP. The following files are letters EFSB sent to FERC, starting June 11, 2015

As you can see, EFSB was exemplary in their assessment of this project. And it all went nowhere. Why? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My action at the Gov’s office was triggered by lack of action by the Baker administration… when taking action would have been the easiest thing to do. What kind of action? It’s laid out in North Weymouth Town Councilor Becky Haugh’s letter to EFSB.

From Becky’s letter:

I am writing to respectfully ask the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) to consider officially requesting a rehearing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its January 25, 2017 decision to approve the Atlantic Bridge project (Docket CP16-9). The deadline for filing is this Friday, February 24, 2017. 


The EFSB hosted a public hearing on the Atlantic Bridge project at the Abigail Adams Middle School in Weymouth, MA on May 27, 2015 where hundreds of Massachusetts residents came to voice their concerns of the Atlantic Bridge project. 
On November 13, 2015, the EFSB filed a motion to intervene on the Atlantic Bridge project. I’m respectfully asking for your consideration to file a rehearing request based on the fact that your agency submitted comments to FERC on June 11, 2015, June 18, 2015, June 22, 2015, July 24, 2015, December 21, 2015 and June 1, 2016 in regards to the Atlantic Bridge project and FERC did not properly address all of the concerns and questions that your agency diligently brought up. 
Furthermore, the FERC decision to conditionally approve the Atlantic Bridge project violates conditions set forth by your agency for the proposed site in the February 11, 2000 EFSB decision (EFSB 98-7) to allow a gas-fired power plant be sited on the same parcel located in Weymouth, MA and believe this issue needs to be addressed between FERC, the EFSB and the Town of Weymouth. 

All it would have taken was a phone call from Gov Baker to have EFSB keep doing what it had already started: advocate for the protection on MA citizens.

There was even a citizen advocacy action complete with emails, phone calls, letters to Gov. Baker asking him to have EFSB intervene with FERC so there’s NO WAY he didn’t know about his options for action. Right?

Days #118 & #119 (suuuper late)

March 19th and 20th
I attended a Senate-sponsored Citizens’ Legislative Seminar these two days, and sat in the Gov’s office during lunch break. I didn’t bring anything with me, so I don’t have anything to post. I do have a slight backlog of updates, but I’ll leave this post with a suggestion:

Contact your State Senator’s office to ask to be nominated for this great program! These are the folks from Sen. O’Connor’s district:

Day #117 (late)

March 15th, I was joined by Mothers Out Front at the State House to mark the Youth Climate Strike.

It was wonderful, and I am greatly appreciative of their visit with me, after attending the Boston Youth Climate Strike. I said a few words:

Thank you all for coming here today to support the global school strike for climate and Weymouth and the South Shore’s fight against the gas transmission compressor project.

Thank you, kids, for skipping school to come fight for all of our futures. I’m truly grateful for all of you!

Today is my 117th day sitting in Governor Baker’s office, off and on, since February 28, 2017.

I like to say that I’m not protesting, I’m waiting. I’m waiting here until Gov Baker remembers there are clean air, clean water, environmental justice and Global Warming Solutions Act laws his administration can use, and it would hold up in court. I’m a visible reminder that no matter what Gov Baker says in DC about fighting climate change, our Gov will be a climate criminal if he doesn’t use MA’s environmental laws to stop this project. I’m waiting here as a visible reminder that Weymouth will continue to fight this gas project until it’s dead. Thank you again for coming to visit me today!

Day #116 (late)

March 14:
Boston-based investigative reporter, Itai Vardi, has uncovered more disappointing news regarding Gov. Baker’s and MassDPU’s plans to hire folks with long-standing ties to big gas corporations that have a stake in this evaluation. Itai first raised the alarm in 2018 when writing about the company chosen to conduct the evaluation in the wake of the Merrimack Valley explosions.

The inappropriate nature of this company, and the people it has chosen so far speak to the layers and layers of conflicts of interest rife in the gas extraction and transmission industry.

WHY go to the gas industry to have gas infrastructure evaluated? Sounds like it would make sense, right? Ha, not so much. It’s rarely without conflicts of interest that would disqualify taking the job in any other industry.

The greater Northeast area is home to so many organizations and universities that could truly independently evaluate MA’s gas infrastructure, why try to sell us that Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc. is independent when they aren’t? What is DPU’s definition of “independent”? Is it like Mass DEP’s version of “required”?

How can MA residents expect to be able to trust any report from the Baker administration after the sham Health Impact Assessment laid on us in January?

Day #115 (late)

March 13th
I brought in an amazing (and at many points, depressing) document prepared by Weymouth Mayor Hedlund’s administration that outlines the steps taken to fight the compressor project since Hedlund has been in office. My annotated PDF below:

One of the things I highlighted in the PDF was EEA Sec Beaton‘s refusal to evaluate all of the segmented gas projects proposed for MA for their potential environmental impact. Almost 3 years ago (March 15, 2016) Mayor Hedlund asked Sec. Beaton for a MEPA review:

Mayor Hedlund again wrote to Sec Beaton on May 31, 2016 as no answer had been forthcoming:

Sec Beaton finally answered June 8, 2016, by publishing the Mayor’s request so that there can be public comment on it.

After over 100 comments via email, phone, carrier pigeon, Sec Beaton refused the review! FRRACS has the letter at this link.

I ask you, is this refusal the actions of an administration that cares about actual environmental protection and monitoring?

Mayor Hedlund’s response to Sec Beaton’s refusal:

I’m still not over this, and I did bring this subject up in the Feb 19th meeting with Sec. Beaton when we were talking about the large likelihood that Access Northeast would come back to life if the compressor is built. Sec. Beaton responded that “we only look at the projects in front of us, not what *might* happen”. I said you had the opportunity to respond when Mayor Hedlund asked for a MEPA review in 2016, and you refused.


I want to end this post on a nice note, since I’m all irritated now, LOL.

THANK YOU to Mayors Kay and Hedlund, and their administrations for fighting like crazy against this terrible project.

Thank you to Miyares and Harrington, Weymouth’s outside counsel for these 4 years.

Thank you to Joseph Callanan, Weymouth’s Solicitor.

FRRACS, Carolyn Elefant, and Mike and Lori Hayden also have my deepest appreciation. My gosh.

And thank you to the steadfast elected officials who know what’s right, two of which joined me yesterday! Rep Meschino and Rep Hawkins. Neither of these two represent Weymouth, but they know the dangers and they know the severity of the risks. Thank you!!

Day #114 (late)

What I brought in March 12th was more of a YYYAAASSSS! than a BOOOOO.

Gov Baker can do good things! Gov Baker can do hard things. Gov Baker can do groundbreaking-for-a-Republican things.

BUT

Gov Baker must first understand that new gas infrastructure is truly incompatible with meeting Global Warming Solutions Act emission goals before he can wear the mantle of climate hawk.

Day #113

31 days in my second “term” in the Gov’s waiting room. I had a visitor from my first term, Nathan Phillips! So good to see him again.

We had quite a bit of catching up to do, and we talked about being excited to attend the FRRACS 4th anniversary event tomorrow night

Date and Time: Tuesday, March 12th at 7pm 
Location: Fore River Clubhouse (16 Nevada Rd., Quincy, MA) – wheelchair accessible

When we first gathered as a small group in January 2015, we had no idea what to expect next. We knew we were facing a powerful industry equipped with buckets of money and influential lobbyists, but we also knew that we had to fight. We have learned a lot over the past four years and have grown in many ways.

-Everyone is welcome to come!

Today I dragged some news out of February I’d been meaning to read and bring in. An important issue pointed out by David Abel on one of Gov Baker’s climate recent climate strategies: only do one thing at a time for an issue that you MUST do more than one thing at a time.

I had to end that piece with my favorite cartoon ever by Joel Pett. I mean, seriously, people! SMH. (c. 2009)

I also brought letters to the Editor regarding this story. Both Letters have really important points:

MA can do BOTH emissions reduction AND climate change effects mitigation. BOTH. We only need to political will from our Governor.

Day #112 (late)

March 8th
I completely forgot to bring anything with me, heh.

I will leave this really important video here, though.

Some easy to digest data about why methane so bad for the environment, and where it’s coming from. Hint: it’s coming from fossil fuel use and extraction.

Dr. Howarth is the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is a biogeochemist and ecosystem scientist whose work includes the environmental consequences of energy systems, particularly from oil and gas development and from biofuels, emphasizing water quality and greenhouse emissions.

Day #111 (late)

March 7th:
I brought with me a recent trio of opinion pieces from CommonWealth Magazine, my most favorite being the piece by Craig Altemose the executive director of Better Future Project and 350 Mass Action.

I also brought a little piece in The Boston Globe that touches on the disconnect between what Baker says about climate change and what he does.

This part bears repeating:

Gas, which is mostly methane, produces less carbon dioxide than oil or coal. But when unburned methane is released into the atmosphere, it is a potent greenhouse gas with a warming potential 28 to 34 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year timeframe (and up to 84 times more potent over a 20 year timeframe).

No matter how many wind power or renewable Gov. Baker talks about, it will be more than voided if he allows new gas infrastructure to be built in Massachusetts. Time for him to stop trusting FERC decisions and start listening to his constituents… and science.

Before I go, I want to mention I had a visitor! Rep Hawkins from Attleboro!