Six Reasons Why We Oppose the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline
The West Roxbury Lateral is a “spur” off of a much larger pipeline under construction, the purpose of which is to bring fracked methane (“natural gas”) from the Marcellus Shale fracking fields of Pennsylvania up to Canada, where it will be turned into liquefied natural gas for export to foreign markets. The company that seeks to build the pipeline is called Spectra Energy. There are many reasons to oppose this particular project, the larger pipeline, and fracked gas in general. We’re outlining the main points here, with citations that tell the larger story.
- As expert gas safety consultants have warned, the risks of a devastating explosion are much too great, particularly at the “metering/regulating station” located across from an active quarry, considered a “high value terrorist target” by the Dept. of Homeland Security, and given Spectra’s poor safety record with pipelines (as with the recent explosion near Pittsburgh).
- Fixing the well-documented dangerous and extensive leaks in the current system– enough to heat some 200,000 homes by one estimate—should take priority over any new gas infrastructure. This is gas that we are already effectively paying for in our electricity or gas bills which National Grid has therefore had little incentive to fix and which is lost to the atmosphere where it worsens global warming.
- Natural gas is methane, proven to be a worse a greenhouse gas than coal for impacting climate change. It is now well-documented that massive leakage occurs throughout the transmission process, and in this form of unburned gas, it is trapping more than 80 times more heat than CO2. We must transition rapidly to clean energy sources if our children and grandchildren are to have a chance.
- Massachusetts does not need more natural gas, according to the Attorney General’s report (see:http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and- updates/press-releases/2015/2015- 11-18- electric-reliability- study.html). The report also says that conservation, energy efficiency measures and “demand response”; supply mechanisms are much more economical approaches than massive new investment and being locked into 30 more years of obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure.
- Our ability to rely on wind and solar power has been improving dramatically as those renewable technologies drop in cost, creating huge numbers of new local jobs and contributing to a sustainable future. ISO New England’s own forecasts of peak demand for electricity, much of which comes from gas-fired power plants, have been declining as more efficient lighting, appliances, and insulation are being installed.
- Proposals to expand gas infrastructure in Massachusetts are largely about facilitating the export of liquefied natural gas to foreign markets where the price of gas is much higher. The funding method proposed by the alliance of Spectra, Eversource and National Grid would shift the $3 billion cost of gas infrastructure expansion onto consumers through a surcharge on electric bills, while only gas company stockholders and overpaid executives stand to gain from exporting natural gas. Having to compete with foreign markets will put upward pressure on gas prices here in New England.