Day #201 & 202

September 26 & 27, 2019

Day 201, I took a breather. Didn’t bring anything.

Day 202, well, I had company! It was the end of Climate Week, and the Sunrise Movement Boston group has a planned occupation of Gov. Baker’s office, as well as other elected officials (DeLeo), etc.

Here is a video of their actions, and in the first part there’s me reading yet another speech. This was kind of a “back to basics” speech about the compressor, and I was very glad to be a guest speaker at their action!

Text of my speech is here:

My name is Andrea Honore, and I live in Weymouth, MA. I’d like to thank Sunrise Movement for allowing me to be a guest speaker at their climate action today! I’m going to talk about gas: existing leaky dangerous infrastructure, and new fracked gas infrastructure like the compressor being forced on Weymouth by Gov Baker and Enbridge.

EXISTING GAS INFRASTRUCTURE:

I woke up this morning to the news that, once again, parts of Lawrence have been evacuated around 3AM this morning due to a major gas leak from a brand new line replaced after the gas explosions last year.

Once again, people of Lawrence are without power and forced out of their homes into shelters.

Once again the first responders and residents are in harm’s way.

I cannot imagine the depth of fury Mayor Rivera must be feeling right now, but I can imagine the terror the residents feel.

I grew up in Southern California. I was in my late teens, early 20’s when the big earthquakes started to happen: Whittier, Northridge. Those disastrous earthquakes seemed to strike around 3 and 4am in the morning. I will never forget being ousted from a dead sleep and thrown into immediate fear for my safety.

I do not want this experience for my friends and neighbors in Weymouth AND the Fore River Basin, but we will be guaranteed this experience if the proposed Enbridge gas transmission compressor gets all of its state permits.

Uncaring gas companies are allowed to do business in MA practically unfettered because of the Baker administration’s weak and understaffed regulatory agencies. Why does the state  continue to put us in danger for gas that’s killing us and our environment when better and cheaper energy alternatives exist?

What about Gov Baker’s wind project, now stalled by a fossil fuel friendly federal government? Any benefits from Baker’s wind energy (if it gets built) will be smothered by methane emissions from MA’s ancient leaky gas infrastructure AND 8 new fracked gas projects slated for MA. Did you know that unburned methane is 86x worse for the environment than burning coal?

NEW GAS INFRASTRUCTURE

Wait. There’s more than one new gas project coming for MA? Yes! I have a list here of the  8 new projects*, including the Weymouth compressor. BTW, a compressor is placed along pipeline infrastructure push the gas along the next stretch of pipeline. They are also one of the most polluting and dangerous parts of gas infrastructure.

With all of the data out there on the wide varieties of danger from gas, WHY is Gov Baker’s administration still paving the way for new fracked gas infrastructure? Cities like Brookline are on the cusp of rejecting gas altogether!

There is still time for ALL 8 of these projects to be stopped, but there has to be the political will to do so.

HOW DID I GET HERE?

Now that you have a basis in the gas landscape of MA, let me tell you what I do and why I do it.

For over 2 years, I’ve sat in Gov Baker’s waiting room almost every afternoon during my lunch breaks, for about 15 minutes each time. Today is another day of me waiting for him to wake up and say

Today is a good day to listen to the thousands of residents, hundreds of medical professionals, Municipal/State/Federal elected officials, 100 municipal Boards of Health representing 3,327,603 MA residents, and say NO to any new gas infrastructure in MA.

Wouldn’t that be great?

LOL, this is day 202 for me. Nothing has gotten better for us in Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree, and Hingham. We are fighting our own state to get this compressor killed for almost 5 years, spending money and sanity we can ill-afford to lose.

Residents of the Fore River Basin are terrified of this project. We have 2 environmental justice zones, veteran housing, elderly housing, nursing homes, daycares, a mental health facility, and 6 schools with a combined 1700 children in a little over a mile radius. Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility have written THREE reports on the public health and safety dangers the compressor poses.

But it doesn’t make a difference to Gov Baker!

Gov Baker wants this gas transmission compressor to be built, and he has bent the will of his agencies to make this happen. He is the only one who can stop it, but he won’t.

THE COMPRESSOR PROJECT AFFECTS MORE THAN JUST WEYMOUTH

State approval of this project would mean MA would become a fracked gas superhighway for gas from the Marcellus Shale region of PA. The human right abuses occurring at the hands of the fracking companies against the residents will only increase if this compressor is put in. Enbridge’s dormant project, Access Northeast will roar back to life, adding bigger pipes at higher pressures through 23 towns and cities, as well as another compressor (!) in Weymouth and one in Rehoboth. Last but not least, it would add a huge gas storage facility in Acushnet.

WHY does Enbridge want to do this to MA? Enbridge wants to increase gas production in PA, run it through MA up to Canada, to be sold for export overseas and Gov Baker wants to help them.

One last note on the Canada portion of this: The Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia are fighting a company called Alton gas that wants to store gas on their sovereign lands, under their sacred waters. They have been watching and waiting as long as we have because the gas from the compressor would feed the Alton Gas project. We are all connected.

In closing…

GOVERNOR BAKER:

Summon the best side of yourself, understand the data doesn’t lie: this compressor is the wrong project in the wrong place in the wrong century. Please immediately direct DEP to deny further permits, direct Coastal Zone Management to make a negative determination and KILL this project once and for all!


*EIGHT NEW FRACKED GAS INFRASTRUCTURE projects slated for Massachusetts as of Sept 27 2019

  • Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s “Upgrade Projects” to expand the Agawam compressor & add a new section of pipeline
  • Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Columbia Gas collaboration for a new metering station in Longmeadow
  • Columbia Gas “Reliability Plan” for Greater Springfield and Northampton Service Areas with infrastructure impacts of new pipe in West Springfield, and expansions in Springfield, Agawam and Longmeadow
  • National Grid’s Lowell “modernization” pipeline
  • Liberty Energy Trust’s Charlton LNG liquefaction and trucking facility for energy peak now and future transportation
  • National Grid on the Cape. The project would consist of 3non-contiguous segments of natural gas distribution pipeline, approximately 13.1 miles in combined length. The three segments would run through the towns of Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, and Harwich, Massachusetts.
  • EverSource Hopkinton/Ashland Transfer Line Replacement, a pipeline through Article 97 Ashland State Park wetland, courtesy of the aforementioned weak regulatory process Gov Baker has encouraged
  • Weymouth compressor, courtesy of Enbridge

All of these projects still have a chance of getting killed but only if Gov Baker decides to do it, and directs his agencies to follow existing environmental protection laws.

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