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Mike prokosch2015masccc


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Presentation at the 5th Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and 4th Sustainable Campuses Conference

Published in: Environment
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Mike prokosch2015masccc

  1. 1. Gas Leaks: Massachusetts Can “Fix it First!” Boston Climate Action Network Clean Water Action March 2015 with help from Dr. Steven Wofsy, Harvard University Margaret Hendrick, Boston University Audrey Schulman, HEET
  2. 2. The Problem Natural gas, aka methane, is a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide.* And Boston’s century-old gas pipes are spewing methane. • 3356 leaks • 3.9 leaks per mile (BU) • Leaks don’t cost NGrid *The international scientific consensus says methane is 86 times more powerful than CO2 for the first 20 years in the atmosphere. IPCC report, September 2013
  3. 3. Gas Leaks • Can explode Ten months ago: 12 hurt in Dorchester gas leak explosion
  4. 4. Gas Leaks • Can explode • Harm human health Methane can aggravate asthma and other respiratory diseases.
  5. 5. Gas Leaks • Can explode • Harm human health • Kill trees Boston is losing trees at a time when we need them most.
  6. 6. Gas Leaks: • Can explode • Harm human health • Kill trees • Are paid for by YOU, not the gas company Gas leaks cost Boston area ratepayers $90 million a year. Harvard study
  7. 7. NGrid will spend $2.4 billion over the next 5 years, but that’s for all its pipelines in Massachusetts.
  8. 8. A recent Harvard study found that Methane levels in the Boston urban area are two to three times larger than previously estimated. How serious is that?
  9. 9. 0. 25. 50. 75. 100. 125. Not Counting Gas Leaks Natural Gas Electricity Gas and Diesel Fuel Oil Steam 0. 45. 90. 135. 180. With Gas Leaks Gas Distribution Leaks Are Boston’s Biggest Source of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  10. 10. Meanwhile: Regional Gas Addiction Regional consumption of natural gas
  11. 11. … and Pipeline Expansion • 5 or more interstate pipeline proposals • >4.5 billion cubic feet of gas/day. State study suggested a need for 0.6 - 1.1bcf in coming years. • Expansions would come online 2015 – 2018 • Proposals to publicly subsidize gas pipelines & shift the risk from private to public • Grassroots resistance in NY, NH, MA, CT and RI
  12. 12. Algonquin Pipeline Just Approved by FERC ThepipelinecompanywantstositeitsBostonstationnexttothisactivequarryinWRoxbury
  13. 13. Just in the past six weeks…
  14. 14. The gas distribution utilities own the pipes. The interstate companies own Congress. 1. Organize at the neighborhood level to create awareness around leaks and utility costs, pressure, and a constituency. 2. Organize our city governments to get leak maps, use them, and lean on utilities to “fix it first.” 3. Get state institutions to speed up leak repairs, limit cost recovery for gas and oppose new gas tariffs  Pressure the utilities.  Challenge the gas narrative. What’s a community to do?
  15. 15. 1. Local level: Find the leaks • Gas companies must give cities “leak data” via the state DPU (Dept of Public Utilities) • Cities are asking the DPU for those data in March •We organize Gas Leak Patrols to find, measure, and publicize gas leaks in our neighborhoods
  16. 16. Level 2: Involve city governments • Coordinate leak and street repairs o Use leak maps and our Patrols sources to prioritize street replacement where leaks are biggest o Make it cheaper for utilities to fix biggest leaks sooner • Get other cities on the case o They can also ask DPU for leak maps o They add state-level pressure on the gas utilities • Get cities to pressure utilities • City Council hearings on gas leaks &/o gas infrastructure • What more can cities do?
  17. 17. Level 3: Increase state involvement • Legislature: Pass new state bills • HD1173: Utilities pay for lost gas • HD1505: Utilities fix level 3 leaks when streets are open • DPU: Rein in Utilities, Empower Municipalities • Useful coordination with municipalities re: gas leaks info • Attorney General: • Push to limit/end cost recovery, a la HD1173 • Oppose gas expansion tariff • EEAC: Take up gas leaks as an efficiency issue • Governor Baker: If you won’t tax us for transit, why tax us to expand gas pipelines?
  18. 18. What we can do at the CITY Level Contact City Councilors to pass gas leak resolution to hold a gas leaks hearing Call Mayor that you reported a gas leak What we can do at the NEIGHBORHOOD Level Organize Gas Leak Patrols Find leaks and flag them Call utilities Invite City Councilors Invite press Invite Sens + Reps Tweet during event Take videos Table at events Canvass your neighborhood Report gas leaks on your own What we can do at the STATE level Contact Legislators to: Support two gas leaks bills No new infrastructure Support renewable energy Let them know you reported a gas leak Contact DPU Contact Attorney General Contact EEAC Contact Governor Baker National Grid Direct action! Replace leaky pipes faster! No new infrastructure! Invest in renewable energy!
  19. 19. NGrid’s solution: more fracked gas… NGrid just took a 20% share in Spectra’s proposed $3 billion Access Northeast pipeline Our solution: build a fossil-free movement! 1. Mobilize neighbors to replace gas pipes 2. Build the narrative: minimize “natural” gas 3. We can say NO to new gas supply lines and YES to repairs, energy efficiency, demand response, and renewables.
  20. 20. Get involved! • If you don’t have a lot of time: • Make phone calls to officials (we’ll let you know when!) • Come to a rally or a Gas Leak Patrol • If you have more time: • Come to our Action Team meetings on Thursdays • Help organize a Gas Leaks Patrol • Volunteer to table with others • Wake up the Earth, Saturday, May 2 • Remember to: • Sign up for our enewsletter (1 – 2 times a month) • Check our website and calendar • Like us on FaceBook