Day #21

It’s been 21 work days I’ve spent my lunch going to Gov. Baker’s office. I started this blog on March 7th, although my first visit to his office was February 28th. Below are some stats before I get to today’s note and guest:

• #SitWithAndrea has had a lot of visitors in 25 days! 796 unique visitors have viewed this blog:

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• The Top 10 viewed pages are:

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• People, including myself, are looking for any reasons why Gov. Baker would still support Spectra’s projects in MA…. I have a Bitly account to manage my links, and it appears I made 2 Bitly links for the Baker/Spectra lobbyist story, oops, but, 53 people were interested in this article—far more than the other articles I’ve linked to.

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Press! #SitWithAndrea has had 2 pieces written about it, been referenced in 1 column in the Globe and 1 entry in Politico’s Massachusetts Playbook, and I’ve spoken to Boston Magazine and DeSmogBlog.

• I’ve walked 25.2 miles to and from the State House so far!

• I have had 24 people come to sit with me since I started. Thank you SO much, everyone.

OK, on to today’s note

Notes on the news about Spectra once again putting safety last in Providence, RI, an annotated copy of the dratted “proposed” Air Permit Spectra received from MassDEP yesterday (I have No Printable Words about this development), the new article from The Patriot Ledger, and my favorite thing to remind his office about, Section 7 of the GWSA:
SECTION 7. (in part)
In considering and issuing permits, licenses and other administrative approvals and decisions, the respective agency, department, board, commission or authority shall also consider reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts, including additional greenhouse gas emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise.

Today’s guest was Weymouth resident Mary P. who braved the weather to accompany me. Thank you!

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Day #20

Last night, Providence, RI had a scare that no one needs: a massive, high-pressure gas leak. A malfunction happened at the gate station and caused a pipeline to burst a little further down the road. First report was from residents at around 8:15pm, not from National Grid, nor any other entity associated with maintaining the gas infrastructure safety.

All of the news reports out of Providence says a “take station” malfunctioned, but it’s really a gate station: “Gate stations serve three purposes.  First, they reduce the pressure in the line from transmission levels (200 to 1,500 pounds) to distribution levels, which range from ¼ pound to 200 pounds.  Then an odorant, the distinctive sour scent associated with natural gas, is added, so that consumers can smell even small quantities of gas.  Finally, the gate station measures the flow rate of the gas to determine the amount being received by the utility.”

It actually took over 7 HOURS to stop the gas and make repairs.  A hunch made me think that possibly Spectra could be involved as I knew they were in that area somewhere already.

A friend and I did some research to find out what company is responsible for that Providence station and pipeline. We settled on Algonquin (Spectra Energy), but hadn’t seen any news reports nor couldn’t get any info from officials sources like the Providence FD. This link I just re-reviewed to include in the blog had been updated, and lo and behold… Spectra Energy... Which is good, because I just laid out my hunch to Gov. Baker in today’s note. I felt like the Unibomber or similar cramming all the paper with my research in the envelope 😐

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The reactions on social media mixed with more official reports, displaying the fear and disruption that went on last night:

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I was joined today by Ben W. who works with Toxics Action Center. TAC has been a huge help, in the long fight against pipelines in MA (among other things), and has offered to help me with this action, which is GREAT!

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INTERLUDE: Why feet?

One of the most asked questions I get is “Feet? Why pictures of feet?’

Well. Two reasons:
1, not everyone wants their face spread all over the interwebs, so feet are easy
2, I’ve been taking feet photos on my walks through Boston for well over a year now

The end.

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Day #19

Continuing on the “required by law” theme I have going, today’s note contained a printout of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (GWSA), and a press release regarding last year’s MA court case win where “the Court found that the DEP was not complying with its legal obligation to reduce the State’s GHG [Green House Gas] emissions and ordered the agency to “promulgate regulations that address multiple sources or categories of sources of greenhouse gas emissions, impose a limit on emissions that may be released . . . and set limits that decline on an annual basis.” Among the very interesting things I learned reading the text of the GWSA was found in Section 7:

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Text below:

SECTION 7: In considering and issuing permits, licenses and other administrative approvals and decisions, the respective agency, department, board, commission or authority shall also consider reasonably foreseeable climate change impacts, including additional greenhouse gas emissions, and effects, such as predicted sea level rise.

In my mind, THIS ^^^ gives Gov. Baker authority to direct his Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary to urge the denial of permits from MassDEP and MA Coastal Zone Management (CZM) based on the GWSA alone, much less the court case results, AND the Executive Order #569.

There is so much data out there (Acadia Center is one source), no one can ignore that new gas pipelines and infrastructure are NOT compatible with meeting GWSA requirements. Gov. Baker, why are you the only one still OK with these Spectra projects?

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Today I had two people sit with me: Mary P. from Weymouth and Tracie B. from Mothers Out Front. A lot of what happens when people not from Weymouth come to sit is a really good Q&A session. Usually the folks from groups that live other towns go back to their groups and tell them what they found out. It’s great. And the fully informed folks from Weymouth more than carry their weight 🙂 Thanks, everyone! (forgot a foot-in-office pic, but here’s a feet-in-SH-elevator pic, LOL)

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Day #18

Today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Tolling Order on Atlantic Bridge requests for Rehearing. That means FERC can ignore everything until it feels like dealing with things—their own deadlines no longer apply to them. So, the affected towns, and residents with independent legal representation have to wait— we need Governor Baker’s administration to step up to help protect Massachusetts.

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The note I left the Governor today had some incontrovertible information to remind the him and his administration of their legally required responsibilities to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 (GWSA)By law, the Governor and his administration must cut emissions through various avenues to meet target greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. A plan laid out in the Governor’s September 2016’s Executive Order #569 is the roadmap to meeting the GWSA goals required by law, however, any additional fossil fuel infrastructure is “irreconcilable with climate commitments” (see graph below from Acadia Center)

New natural gas infrastructure IS NOT COMPATIBLE with meeting the GWSA

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I printed out the Executive Order and highlighted some pertinent passages that point to very serious responsibilities for the Governor’s administration. The kind of passages you cannot brush off, and are… wait for it… REQUIRED BY LAW.

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In other news, I had some awesome guests today, with a surprise Weymouth resident popping in. Jerry G, his daughter, Elizabeth W., and Jerry’s granddaughter Baylee. Jerry and his family was the first photo in the Humans of the Incineration Zone series, and Jerry is also very active in fighting Spectra’s proposals for Weymouth. Baylee brought me a really yummy “bouquet” of Hershey’s kisses, so sweet! The surprise resident was at the State House for other reasons and popped in—Lisa J. from Weymouth. It was great to catch up with everyone, and show Baylee (on a half day from kindergarten) the Governor’s waiting room. I thank everyone so much for taking time out of their days and joining me. It means a lot!

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Day #17

Two guests joined me today: Patrick A. from Weymouth and Minga C-B. from Cambridge (I may have gotten this wrong, but I think she’s from Mothers Out Front). Thank you for joining me!

Today’s note was all about gas compressors and explosions. It’s too bad I cannot share the explosion videos in my notes. I paraphrased Weymouth resident’s comment on a recent explosion: maybe compressors shouldn’t be placed in densely populated areas, folks. Or, really, anywhere especially in Massachusetts. We don’t need the gas!

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I also included the glaring reasons why FERC thinks siting a compressor in a densely populated area is OK: rampant conflicts of interest riddle FERC, and on Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge proposals specifically. Reporter Itai Vardi of DeSmogBlog has multiple stories on different conflicts at his series here. Itai’s early work on the FERC 3rd party conflicts of interest was used in Senators Warren and Markey’s first letter to FERC on our behalf.

One interesting thing happened today: as I was talking with Minga, Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, came out of the Governor’s office. I managed a half whispered “Sir”, and thank goodness he turned to me. I quickly told him two things: I loved his latest Boston Sanctuary City video and that I was sitting here to get action from Baker regarding a Spectra project. Mayor Walsh’s ears perked up at the mention of Spectra because of the awful metering station project in West Roxbury, and the lack of a safety plan from Spectra. He asked what the Spectra project was and where. I quickly told him, he nodded and then said “Fight on.” Will do!

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Day #16

I read a great little story this morning about how Attleboro citizens/business owners and legislatures are forming a coalition against the proposed compressor station in Rehoboth. This initiative is spreading like dandelion fluff in the wind (yay!). If your business would like to sign on from ANY of the 24 MA towns affected by Spectra Energy’s proposals, please go here to do so. This list is administered by Consumers For Sensible Energy.

So… I decided to print out that Attleboro article, and write a note about how this coalition action is only going to spread, and why, oh, why is he almost the only one in MA elected office that supports Spectra’s projects?

A note on the Rehoboth compressor: Weymouth and Rehoboth are the sole compressors proposed for Spectra’s projects. Both are craptacular projects and are not needed, dangerous, and too close to humans. Which compressor proposal siting is worse is not a competition, and if it was there would be NO WINNERS.

I decided, however, to take this opportunity to include information from North Weymouth Town Councilor Becky Haugh regarding the student population in the area:

  • how many public schools are in a 3 mile radius of the proposed compressor site?

    There are 13,255 +/- students, 33 mostly public schools

  • how many daycares are in the 2 mile “evacuation radius” and incineration zones of both the pipeline and compressor?

    66

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ONE MORE THING: I learned how to officially ask for an appointment with the Governor. I had already attempted by email a couple of months back, but was ghosted once I said it was about the compressor, LOL. I went down to the Governor’s constituent services office and placed my request. Got a smile and a nod, “thank you for your interest”.

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#SitWithAndrea #PolitePersistence

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