Slow Down on Back Bay Pipeline

by James Michel, Boston Clean Energy Coalition and Ania Camargo, Mothers Out Front
October 19, 2017

Boston – Today the Public Improvement Commission delayed action on National Grid’s proposed gas pipeline expansion for the Back Bay. Yesterday Boston City Council voted unanimously to ask the Public Improvement Commission to hold off on making any binding decisions on a controversial pipeline proposal for the Back Bay.

Councillor Josh Zakim presented the resolution, “I first heard about this pipeline in my district some months ago. One of the issues here is there has not been enough attention. This is a major addition to the non-renewable infrastructure in the City of Boston. If we want to be bold, better, greener, planning for the future, we need to start now and talk about what kind of infrastructure we’re building. We need to make sure the people in our neighborhoods what is happening.”

Councillor Matt O’Malley co-presented the resolution and commented, “With the paucity of leadership in Washington, it’s up to cities and towns to work on combatting climate change. Our focus should be on building renewable energy infrastructure, not furthering our reliance on fossil fuels. I was proud to partner with Josh Zakim in unanimously passing a resolution that seeks to protect the residents of Boston.”

Councillor Tito Jackson spoke in strong support, “I want to quote J.F.K. He said that our basic and most common link is we all inhabit the planet, all breathe the same air and we all cherish our children’s future. What are we doing? We need to thoughtful and move cautiously when it comes to this. This is gas not for affordable housing, but for luxury condos. We should be thinking about all we can do to get off fossil fuels. We are a coastal city and there’s no doubt that weather events are coming. We must do our part.”

Martyn Roetter Chair of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay said, “I am concerned about the foreseeable growth in the use of natural gas to meet the needs of the new buildings already approved and under review in Boston, which is inconsistent with the City’s climate change targets to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 30 years.  As the resolution passed by the City Council calls for, careful deliberation is required to develop solutions that enable a transition to much lower and ultimately zero reliance on fossil fuels in buildings, and do not lock the City into long lived investments in additional natural gas infrastructure and equipment that will make these targets unachievable.”

James Michel of the Boston Clean Energy Coalition reacted,  “Why on earth would we as a city invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a fracked gas pipeline – and certainly National Grid will be transferring the costs to ratepayers – when we could be designing net zero carbon buildings for the 21st century?”

Dozens of community leaders attended the Public Improvement Commission meeting to express their opposition to the proposed pipelines. Councillor Jackson personally testified to inform the Commission of the City Council’s resolution calling for a more broad and thoughtful consideration.

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