Clean Energy Advocates Meet with Congressman Kennedy

Newton, Massachusetts – January 26, 2018 –
Representatives from a coalition of concerned medical, climate, and citizen advocacy groups came together to meet with Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Friday, January 26 to discuss the urgent need for leadership to circumvent a Massachusetts energy policy that refers to natural gas as a bridge fuel calling for more gas capacity projects. “There is nothing ‘natural’ about so-called natural gas,” countered SCNU President Wendy Graça, “and if it is a bridge fuel, it is a bridge to nowhere. We are at a crossroads and decisions we make today will either impede or accelerate our efforts toward a clean energy future.” While climate activist Mary Dewart emphasized that, “There are better, real-world alternatives to our Governor’s ‘combo platter’ energy approach which is already overloaded with gas. Massachusetts businesses are driving clean energy jobs and economic growth, and what we need to do now is modernize our grid towards renewables, not invest in more dirty energy projects.”

Dr. Brita Lundberg, an infectious diseases physician and member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, expressed the growing concern of the medical community over direct human exposures to toxins, carcinogens, and environmental pollutants from natural gas infrastructure (NGI), as well as the indirect health consequences of methane gas as a contributor to climate change. Citing a mounting body of medical evidence, Dr. Lundberg touched on known human health impacts from hazardous air pollutant exposure to methane gas releases such as asthma and other respiratory complaints. She also referenced illnesses from exposures to benzene and other carcinogens, which have been detected in populations living close to the gas drilling rigs, including childhood cancers such as acute lymphocytic leukemia. When considering the health consequences, Beth Rodio of Mothers Out Front, asked the Congressman “to think as a parent about this issue. We are concerned about the effects of fracked gas on children’s health and are asking for leadership and action from all of our representatives.”

“We have met with the Congressman before, and we really appreciate his open-door policy and readiness to listen,” said CARCS director Tracy Manzella, “and while we commend Congressman Kennedy for all of his outstanding work in Washington on our behalf, we will continue to urge him to exert whatever influence he can to address the pressing concerns of his constituents right here at home.”


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