Days #203, 204, 205

I took a major break after day #202. I think it was almost 2 weeks, but with off-site Baker bird-dogging interspersed between days off from sitting in Baker’s office. I count the birddogging as sitting. It’s harder than sitting actually, way more stressful.

It was a busy couple of weeks:

September 30th, Betsy, Alice, Mike and myself were in Quincy outside a private event with our” When Will You Stop the Weymouth Compressor” signs. We’d literally rather be doing *anything but* stuff like this, but Baker leaves us no choice.

September 28th, FRRACS had the 2nd annual Fall Fest at Kings Cove Park next to the proposed site, and had Cardboard Charlie in attendance. That’s the closest Baker has ever come to the site (to my knowledge). The travelling Baker was part of a 350 Mass action.

October 2nd, Ed Markey visited the site which was the same day Nathan Phillips was the first compressor protester to be arrested (at DEP offices).

October 8th, Wendy and I waited outside a State House Hearing room for Gov. Baker to finish giving testimony on his big Housing Bill. Honestly, you’d think Wendy and I (who were recognized, of course) were waiting outside the hearing room with rocket launchers. I’ve never seen a human try so hard to sneak out of a room. The press was running around the back and front entrances to try to get statements from him. It was ridiculous. He snuck off with nary a comment to the press on his Housing Bill because Wendy and I were there.

October 10th was the absolutely useless PIP meeting regarding the toxic coal ash waste at the site. Link to the meeting video.

October 17th, Wendy, Alice, Nathan, Ross from Sunrise Movement Boston, and myself birddogged Baker at a cyber security forum at the State House where he was speaker. This is where I got my first threat of bodily removal from the State Police because they didn’t like where I was standing in a public building. I wish I knew more of my rights around stuff like this. I moved.

The cyber folks from across the state and country got an eyeful of Baker’s real legacy.

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.

Day #200

September 25, 2019
What can I say about Day 200, other than “why is this project not dead yet?” What can we say every time we reach a new anniversary, big round number or anything similar related to this terrible proposal?

Anyway… I was joined by some steadfast allies helping Weymouth and the Fore River basin:

Here is a livestream video of me reading our collective demands on Governor Baker regarding the compressor project. Here is the text:

What would you do to save your home, Gov Baker? How hard would you fight?

Those of us who live in the Fore River Basin area and beyond are doing everything we can to save our homes and health from the Weymouth compressor project. You have blocked us many times during the last 5 years. You have done everything in your power to play both sides of the issue: keeping your connections and donors happy by not opposing the compressor project publicly, and ordering token studies and reviews to keep the compressor opposition at bay. But the studies and reports never appear, or are deeply flawed, while state permits are approved. This must stop NOW. 


I’m here on my 200th day sitting in the Governor’s office–during Climate Action Week–to read an urgent list of 4 demands regarding the compressor:

1) Immediately direct your state agencies to use existing Massachusetts laws to deny the remaining state permits. You want to hear the laws you can use to help stop this project, and void the air permit? I have some laws for you – this list does not include all of them:

310 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 9.12 – the compressor is not water dependent as Enbridge claims. The state can reject the compressor siting using this law. 

310 CMR 9.02 – Under oath, Enbridge admitted that the compressor did not have to be near the water or even next to a Metering and Regulating station.

The compressor does not have to be at this dangerous coastal location as Enbridge’s claims are false. The state can reject the compressor siting using this law.

310 CMR 7.00 –  AIR POLLUTION means the presence in the ambient air space of one or more air contaminants or combinations thereof in such concentrations and of such duration as to:

(a) cause a nuisance;

(b) be injurious, or be on the basis of current information, potentially injurious to human or animal life, to vegetation, or to property; or

(c) unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property or the conduct of business.

The state can reject the compressor using this law as the gas compressor will do all of the above.

2) Halt the current alteration of the site at 50 Bridge St as the soil and vegetation are toxic. 

50 Bridge St site should have been a superfund years ago. The health risks to site workers and surrounding citizens from the disruption of this soil are unacceptable. The substrate that Enbridge plans to dig into for the compressor is toxic by every standard, and includes unknown quantities of diesel fuel leached from an 11 million gallon tank. Any alteration or clearing of the land should be investigated by Department of Public Health. Why are they clearing parts of the land? Where has the cleared vegetation gone? Did the workers know what toxins they were working with?

The current draft Remediation Abatement Measure from Enbridge via TRC calls for the disturbance and removal of 15K tons of toxic soil, thus allowing arsenic to the air and the waters of the Fore River. The soil is made of almost 100% coal ash, clinkers, burner bricks, and other industrial waste from decades of use. Any plan that Enbridge proposes must be audited before being finalized.

3) Find truly independent sources to conduct the public safety and climate resilience studies promised in in Gov Baker’s July 14th 2017 letter to Mayor Hedlund before any pre-construction or construction starts on the site, and any further permits are issued.

4) Order DEP and DPH to retract the incomplete and incorrect Health Impact Assessment and complete a new, peer reviewed HIA with recommendations for environmental clean up of the Basin. 

________________________________________

Directed to Governor Baker in the following comments:

Not sure if you remember how many of your constituents oppose this project? Do you remember how many elected officials at all levels of Massachusetts government, how many Boards of Health, how many first responders and emergency managers, how many health professionals oppose this project?

Not sure if you saw the large Sunrise Movement banner unfurled in the State House on Global Climate Strike Day (last Friday)? It said: No Weymouth Compressor. No Weymouth Compressor was also on their list of demands addressed to your administration. I hope you saw that.

Not sure if you heard the chants outside and inside the State House on Global Climate Strike Day?

“Gov Baker, do your job” 

“No compressor, no way”

“Where is Charlie?”

I make you this promise: Those of us fighting this precedent-setting gas project are not going away. We’ll continue to fight you and your state agencies to protect our homes, our families and our health.

What would you do to protect your home, family, and health? We know what we’d do.


Those opposing the compressor aren’t going anywhere, in fact you will see more of us than ever.

It took almost 5 years, but Weymouth has never been more supported and the movement is expanding each week. You thought I was “brutal”? Just wait to see what thousands of MA residents have in store for you, Governor Baker.

Day #199

September 20th, Global Climate Strike Day!

Weymouth came to Boston, and we represented. I am counting this as a day spent raising awareness, which is what I do in the gov’s office (I hope).

During a lull in action at the State House, I decided to ask folks if they wanted to know about my sign. Resounding YES.

So I spoke. I spoke about Gov. Baker, I spoke about what DEP and DPH and MAPC have done to enable this horrible project. They got it, and were not pleased.

Gov. Baker, you may think I am brutal, but there’s a reason I have been #brutal to you.

You are doing wrong.

And more and more people know it.

From a Sunrise Movement promotional video, :14 seconds in.

Day #198, First Contact

I sat this day (Sept 19th) and brought something I never turned in to Constituent Services because…

because

because

I got off the couch.

I wrote things down before I forgot. Thank goodness, the incident was so short, I could remember with 95% confidence. Say what?

Here goes:

Events can sometimes fall into place to create a specific moment where everything or nothing could happen. I had one such moment Thursday, September 19th. I’ve been sitting in Gov Baker’s waiting room 15 minutes every work day to call attention to the thousands of people who oppose the Weymouth gas transmission compressor project. On the day of my 198th lunchbreak visit, something happened.

So many times I have sat on the waiting room couch, facing the inner office door, and he’ll cruise by on his way out of the office. Most of the time I say hello, or good afternoon and he is polite enough back to me. No fireworks. I don’t get off the couch and follow him… at least not until Sept 19th.

Why did I follow him? Maybe because I was inspired after helping host the wonderful Dr Sandra Steingraber, and, also, being super-tired apparently tamps down my fantastic anxiety. It must have contributed to the lowering of my normal reserve?

Why did I follow him? Maybe it’s because I was concerned with the very real possibility all of the state permit for the compressor could be issued in early October 2019, and Enbridge can start moving on the compressor November 1st, per the draft RAM plan submitted by TRC, Enbridge’s environmental engineers, the proposal for the clean up of contamination on the proposed compressor site.

SIDEBAR: Totally not kidding that the plan is called RAM. It stands for Release Abatement Measure Plan. Tucked on page 27 of the draft Release Abatement Measure Plan from TRC was found this statement:

8.15 Implementation Schedule The anticipated schedule for the commencement of construction activities is November 1, 2019, with a September 1, 2020 in-service date.

How does Enbridge plan to undertake construction by Nov 1st on a contaminated site:

1.     Without having full state permitting

2.     Without fulfilling first the public comment period that currently ends on October 15th with the answers to those comments due on November 15th?

3.     Without the final Release Abatement Measure Plan?

4.     Without your promised public safety and risk evaluation reports as well as the coastal resiliency report?

The only way I can think of is if there’s continued, tight coordination/collaboration between Enbridge, Energy and Environmental Affairs, and Department of Environmental Protection. (shrug)

Disclaimer: I’m not publishing this experience here because I want a pat on the back or to feel brave. I’m writing this to hopefully mitigate any retaliation that might come from my having the ovaries to talk to him. It’s happened before to a friend deeply involved in the compressor fight, and luckily the person’s boss told Baker’s people to feck off. Ultimately all this mini-drama means nothing if the compressor gets built.

Back to Thursday, to the best of my memory:

Gov. Baker came out of his office with two of what I’m assuming are his executive protection unit (EPU). I said Hi, he looked back over his shoulder and said Hi, and I had my guard down just enough to squeak out:

“Can I please talk to you?”

Too late to back out now.

His EPU said he’s busy, they have to go.

I don’t know how to tell you what it felt like to get up off that couch to follow him to the elevator for the first time in 198 days. I was uncertain as hell, and definitely worried about doing it.

I stood with the three of them as they waited a couple of seconds for the elevator. The door opened and they got in, Baker in the back right corner with the two EPU covering him. I immediately moved to take a step in, and the EPU very nicely blocked me.

I looked at him and said “I can get in this elevator” (like, dude, it’s a public building, I’m not a physical threat, etc.)

Baker said “Let her in.” He’s looking at his phone.

I stepped in the elevator, scooted around the EPU to stand on Gov Baker’s right side. I gently put my hand on his upper arm and said

“What’s it going to take?”

He looked up from his phone.

He looked me in the eye and said:

“You have been so brutal to me. I have nothing to say to you.”

Not having any kind of plan for a case like this, I popped back, sort of shocked:

“You’ve been brutal to us!”

I went a little blank here for a couple of seconds, but I think he went back to looking at his phone.

I try again:

“Sir, when will you follow the laws?”

At this point we are approaching the first floor. The elevator dings and the door starts to open. He looks at me and says:

“I am following the laws. You would like me not to, but I am.”

I silently stood at the back of the elevator, watched him go, and rode the elevator back up to the third floor. I stepped off the elevator car, spoke to the trooper for a couple of seconds, and then the weight of the past 3-5 months stress just landed on me all at once. All. At. Once.

I may have cried, um, quite a lot in front of the Trooper. I was quiet about it, and went to the ladies room to let it all fly. Gotta feel your feelings, folks. I got ahold of myself, went back to the waiting room to get my purse and jacket, and left.

I want to emphasize that what Baker said didn’t upset me. How he said it wasn’t threatening to me personally— it’s just that I had to follow him on an elevator after 198 days of him ignoring me and say these things at all.

Three initial reactions:

Well, hell, if you had talked to any of us about the compressor concerns in the first place, there would be no “brutal” behavior to be upset about. It was an easy fix. Still is.

I want to hear what laws your administration is following by approving the air permit. You’re certainly not following the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008.

I mean, sheesh, we can lay off, but you have to lay off first, Gov Baker. If you feel targeted, well, maybe there’s a good reason. We feel targeted, undermined, ripped-off, angry, sad, and scared. It’s not a great feeling, I agree.

A good start to the conversation that will never happen is to hear from the Baker administration exactly which laws they feel they are following, and we can show them exactly which laws are not being followed. Wonder Gov Baker has been mislead all this time? LOL.

On the eve of the Global Climate Strike, I will promise you:

We are not going away, Gov. Baker. Those of us fighting this precedent setting gas project are not going away.

What would you do to protect your home? We know what we’d do.

I understand this is only my rendition of the event. Take this recounting for what it’s worth to you. (Patriot Ledger coverage here)

Day #197

Sept 18th was a big day for many of us. Dr. Sandra Steingraber came from NY state to spend the day with us, and then speak at Boston University. I don’t know how I’ll be able to convey the depth of the day, so I won’t even try. Let’s just say that this woman has Seen Sh*t, Done Sh*t, and will continue to Make Sh*t Happen.

She visited the site, sat with me in the Governor’s waiting room, spoke with 4 elected officials, and spoke at Boston University. Here are a few pictures of the day:

Much, Much Much gratitude to Dr. Steingraber!! XO

Day #196

Well. Some stuff has gone down, and I am afraid I forgot in the rush of things.

TRC, the untrustworthy environmental company former EEA Secretary Beaton went to work for, released a draft Release Abatement Measure Plan (RAM) Sept. 11th that has 1086 pages. So much fun to cram through that volume of soil contamination info. Good thing I didn’t have to, but FRRACS had to… so messed up. They set a Public Involvement Program (PIP) meeting for Sept 25 because of COURSE humans can plow through extremely technical thousands of pages in 14 days. FFS!

Luckily Margaret B. of FRRACS got the meeting moved to Oct 10th at 7pm, in Weymouth at Abigail Adams Middle School.

FRRACS sent out an action to shower Baker, EEA Secretary Theoharides and DEP Commissioner Suuberg to ask a version of the following questions:

Sept. 17th 2019

Dear Gov Baker:

You may know that last Tuesday we received the draft Release Abatement Measure Plan from TRC, Enbridge’s environmental engineers. This draft Plan is the proposal for the clean up of contamination on the proposed compressor site. 

On page 27 of the draft Release Abatement Measure Plan from TRC was found this statement:

8.15 Implementation Schedule The anticipated schedule for the commencement of construction activities is November 1, 2019, with a September 1, 2020 in-service date.

How does Enbridge plan to undertake construction by Nov 1st on a contaminated site:

  1. Without having full state permitting
  2. Without fulfilling first the public comment period that currently ends on October 15th with the answers to those comments due on November 15th?
  3. Without the final Release Abatement Measure Plan?
  4. Without your promised public safety and risk evaluation reports as well as the coastal resiliency report?

When will we get answers to those questions?

Andrea Honore

Post Script: we haven’t gotten any answers to any of our questions.

Days #193-195

Hi everyone, it’s been a while. Nothing has changed on the permitting front, for good or for ill. A lot has happened, otherwise, the seeds of which may or may not bring fruit.

I cannot remember if I posted that I’ve decided to work from home 2 days per week again? So the days will add up much slower than before.

On to what I brought with me Day 194:

I rarely bring reference to Constituent Services that is more feeling-based than fact-based, but I found these two pieces that really resonated. The majority of Constituent Services are millenial and older, and I have to wonder if they ever read what I bring or not. These pieces, theoretically, would hit your average young person in the solar plexis (maybe)?

How much destruction is needed for us to take climate change seriously?

/It’ll be tempting, as Dorian drifts toward Florida, for observers in the US to forget the death and destruction it has left behind elsewhere. That would be a mistake. Jeff Bezos’s escape plans notwithstanding, we’re all stuck on this warming planet together. Whether human civilization stays intact amid all this worsening weather depends on recognizing our shared humanity – and designing policy accordingly. Platitudes for the planet won’t cut it./

This is my new motto: Home is Always Worth It

This quote got me:

We don’t know how this movie is going to end, because we’re in the writers room right now. We’re making the decisions right now. Walking out is not an option. We don’t get to give up.

This planet is the only home we’ll ever have. There’s no place like it. And home is always, always, always worth it.



Day 195 saw the release (no pun intended) of Gas Leaks Allies “Rolling the Dice with Gas” report. Executive summary below:

For decades, natural gas has been touted as clean, safe, and reliable. The September 13, 2018 catastrophic failure in the gas distribution system that caused explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley focused attention on the risks inherent in piping explosive gas through communities and into homes.

What happened in the Merrimack Valley is the result of rolling the dice with public safety. Massachusetts residents, homes, businesses, and communities remain vulnerable as long as the state continues to rely on gas. Yet despite the magnitude of the problem, both immediate and longer-term improvements can provide the state with safer energy.

In response to the Merrimack Valley disaster, Governor Baker ordered “an independent statewide examination of the safety of the gas distribution system and the operational and maintenance functions of gas companies in the Commonwealth.” This report is the response of citizens and scientists motivated by a desire for a safe, healthy, and just energy system.

Rolling the Dice: Assessment of Gas Safety in Massachusetts analyzes documented incidents and publicly available data about the gas distribution system that add up to an urgent message to legislators, the executive branch, municipalities, and gas companies to take action now. It details ways that each of these decision-making entities can implement changes that will greatly enhance public safety in the near term and in the future.

In examining the gas distribution system, this report identifies three assumptions central to the engineering of the gas distribution system:

•Single-point failures can be prevented despite centralized distribution

•Cost-effective gas pipe materials exist that can contain a gas underground for decades

•Gas will only combust where it’s needed

The analysis of leak and incident data in this report seriously undermines each of these assumptions:

•Centralized Distribution Three transmission lines enter the state and feed 21,700 miles of gas mains, then 1.3 million gas service lines. A breakdown anywhere on the line causes an outage to all downstream customers.

• Pipe Materials The materials used in the system—cast iron and wrought iron, bare steel, and plastic—are all subject to leaking. Iron leaks at joints, bare steel corrodes, and plastic melts when exposed to heat or electric arc.

• Combustion Likelihood Gas is much harder to contain than liquid. Leaked gas travels and accumulates in both building spaces and underground, where it leads to combustion incidents, worsens public health, damages trees, and has a significant impact on the climate.

Inadequate utility management compounds these safety issues. Chronic problems with an understaffed workforce, safety processes, and lack of equipment required for the job can be corrected. Data collection and reporting on both infrastructure conditions and incidents should be improved and shared with municipalities and citizens.

Insufficient government oversight of gas utilities also erodes public safety. Department of Public Utilities (DPU) oversight of gas companies should be strengthened by:

• Ensuring independence of regulators

• Standardizing data definitions and measurements across utilities

• Controlling for errors in utility data collection and releasing fact-checked data to the public

• Coordinating communication between utilities and municipalities

• Enforcing emergency preparedness protocols, such as ensuring accessibility of emergency shutoff valves, sharing data with electric utilities, and providing for expert review of emergency preparedness plans

Given the multiple problems and hazards inherent in continuing to rely on an explosive gas as an energy source as well as the Commonwealth’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the coming decades, this report makes over 50 recommendations toward a strategy of triage and transition.

• Triage Reduce short-term risks to safety, health, and property by enhancing statewide gas leak classification standards and prioritizing the largest and most hazardous leaks for repair, not pipe replacement.

• Transition Eliminate long-term risks intrinsic to reliance on a combustible gas by deploying a managed, just transition to cleaner, safer, and more cost-effective heating and cooking solutions.

This overarching recommendation is supported by an economic analysis showing that large investment in the current system will result in stranded assets and the near-certain demise of the current gas distribution companies.

Instead of rolling the dice by continuing to rely on gas, Massachusetts

can strengthen public safety now while developing smart policies and

implementing safer, innovative technologies to power homes, businesses,

communities, and the Commonwealth into the future.

Thank you so much to the Gas Leaks Allies, who include members of Mothers Out Front, Nathan Phillips, and other dedicated, fantastic people. Thank you so much for this report!

Days 181-192

Whoa. That’s a lot of days all together. And tucked in there was day 100 (in 2019). As you can see, soon it will be 200 lunch breaks since Feb 28, 2017. It makes me sad.

I have pictures of my feet, pics of the rare stuff I brought in to constituent services… I just can’t be arsed to get it off of my phone right now. I’m sorry. It’s all pretty mundane stuff, the gist of which can be summed up in this tweet:

CZM (whom I have NO hope of saving us with a negative determination), extended its stay recently. It was August 5th, then September 5th, now it’s October 5th. My thoughts on which can be summed up thusly:

Meanwhile, Gov Baker goes to the opening of this and that, here and there while the hard work of likely hundreds of people on the new Fore River Bridge goes unrecognized because Baker is too chicken to face us here in the Basin. This is from today:

Maybe I shouldn’t write blog posts when my head hurts a bit. Not very cheery this evening. Baker has succeeded in his quest to avoid Weymouth, avoid constituents, avoid me for YEARS. Ask yourself what kind of person does that?

Days 173-180

In case you missed it, I’ve been consolidating my days because it’s easier on my home/family life in the evenings.

These days cover the end of July and middle of August. Many days I don’t bring anything with me, some days I do.

Here’s the drawback of consolidating: remembering what I did bring when I brought stuff, LOL. I don’t think anyone cares as much as I do about what I brought, LOL, and that’s OK.

HIGHLIGHTS

Due to a new round of intern staffing, etc., Gov’s constituent services had spotty knowledge, if any, about the compressor, so I printed out some great media pieces from this year to help fill in the gaps.

I had some company from Mass Power Forward August 1 & 2! MPF was there Aug 1, 2, 5 but I was off on Aug 5th. There were some great signs and tons of support in the fight against the compressor/Gov Baker.

I was able to speak August 1 & 2, and I did a version of the blog posts I wrote recently for Blue Mass Group:

Why should anyone outside of the Fore River Basin care about the compressor getting built?

What happens, though, if one day, some big, for-profit corporation wanted to build dangerous infrastructure in your neighborhood? Wouldn’t you think that existing state laws, regulations, and common sense would surely prevent such a thing from being built?

If your community faces a dangerous infrastructure project, you will be out of luck for the next 3.5 years. If the compressor is permitted to be built in Weymouth, the same or similar injustice will happen to you under the Baker administration.

At almost every stage of the compressor permit & siting review process there has been a complete disregard for the valid and fact-based concerns of the residents and officials.

During the review process, state laws have been broken and/or ignored, ethics have been breached, air test results paid for with tax dollars were hidden from the public. All of these infractions have gone unpunished and unacknowledged by Gov. Baker.

Any normally strong arguments like:

  • “But it’s protected conservation land”
  • “There is massive political pressure against this project”
  • “Residents are entitled to due process”
  • “There are laws and regulations against this!”
  • “The local emergency planning councils say this is a massive public safety concern”
  • “Important state infrastructure would be decimated in the event of an explosion!”

Are useless against this administration

The project you may end up fighting may not be a gas-related project. It may be something else you care very much about keeping away from your family and friends. I wish you well in your fight, because Governor Baker has made it very easy for corporations to do whatever they want in Massachusetts.

What are you supposed to do when the Governor, who swore to uphold MA’s laws, will NOT uphold them?

Well, As Baker would say: See you in court.


Since the end of June (and DEP’s go ahead for the air permit plan), I have taken many steps to try to get Senator Warren’s attention back to the Fore River Basin. Senators Warren and Markey did what they could to try to raise important questions w/ FERC and PHMSA a couple of years ago.  I’m not ungrateful in the least for Warren and Markey’s past involvement with the compressor issue, but we are at a dangerous tipping point right now.

With the issuance of the air permit, and likely other permits ready to roll by early August, I don’t have time to participate in polite and repetitive requests.

Despite demands to stop the project from Municipal, State and Federal elected officials, our Governor has been steadfast in his dedication to Canadian-owned Enbridge. Gov. Baker is no longer embarrassed or pushed to action by local political, activist or press pressure. Our story needs national attention, and I believe Senator Warren can use her current position as Presidential candidate to shine a big light on our plight.

So I’m making a public plea to SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN:

WE NEED YOUR HELP.

Weymouth is in the fight of its life, with national implications if this precedent-setting compressor is allowed to be built. It’s not just Weymouth or the Fore River Basin that would be affected in New England: Residents of New Hampshire and Maine will face increased danger from highly pressurized gas that would run through a Weymouth compressor and an old pipeline not built for the increased pressure, as well as two compressors in New Hampshire and five compressors in Maine.

Residents of the Marcellus shale area of PA will also be further burdened with increased fracking. We need Senator Warren’s voice against this terrible project, on the national level. Weymouth’s fight is a microcosm of what’s going on nationally regarding fossil fuel companies shoving projects down people’s throats. Don’t let Jay Inslee show you up, Senator Warren! Speak out!


That last one got a wee bit of traction in State House News:

Which netted some overdue communication from Warren’s office. Oh yeah. Stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, I made a promise to Gov. Baker:

I mean every word on that post-it.

Gov. Baker, it’s not too late to do the lawful thing. And you still owe us 2 studies that you promised in 2017 that would be done BEFORE any permits were issued. Where are they? HEre’s Alice Arena of FRRACS reading your 2017 letter at the Aug 1st rally outside your office: