As we have reported, National Grid has proposed to construct a new, mile-long gas pipeline through Boston’s Back Bay and South End. The line would carry “fracked” gas to service new buildings. On Thursday, December 7, the City of Boston’s Public Improvement Commission (PIC) will hold a public hearing to discuss this proposal. Located within Boston’s Public Works Department, PIC has the authority to grant or deny permits for projects which use public space for business ventures. Like the previous PIC hearing on November 2, this is a strategic opportunity for citizens to speak out against the pipeline.
Boston Public Improvement Commission – Back Bay Pipeline Hearings
Thursday, December 7th, at 10:00 AM
Boston City Hall, Room 801
Opposition to the pipeline is being spearheaded by the Boston Clean Energy Coalition (BCEC), a grassroots group with eleven member environmental organizations, including the Boston Climate Action Network. According to its website, BCEC’s mission is accelerate Boston’s “transition to a clean, green economy,” and its current focus is “on halting the expansion of fracked gas and other fossil-fuel infrastructure while promoting net-zero carbon standards for the built environment.”
BCEC hopes to pack the house for the hearing, which takes place this Thursday at 10:00 AM, Boston City Hall, Room 801. To request more information, or to sign a petition against the pipeline, go to BCEC’s site.
The City Council may choose to vote tomorrow (Wednesday, 11/29) to enact a plastic bag ban ordinance. Opponents of the ban are already bombarding the councilors and the mayor with “vote no” emails, so we need to do all we can to turn out calls and emails in favor of the ban.
Call your district councilor and all of the at-large councilors as well as the mayor and ask them to support the ban!
Contact your District City Councilor, the At-Large Councilors, and Mayor Walsh BY WEDNESDAY MORNING: Tell them to support the plastic bag ban! It is time for Boston to do this—60 other towns and cities in Massachusetts have already passed bans.
District City Councilors
At-Large City Councilors
Boston should be leading the way, not trailing behind the 60 Massachusetts towns that have already banned plastic bags.
Tell the City Councilors they should vote in favor of the plastic bag ban ordinance (#17-19)!
Here are some reasons why we need to ban plastic bags; they are:
—made from fossil fuels so contribute to our dependence on petroleum.
—a major litter problem, thanks especially to their aerodynamic qualities.
—used for an average of 12 minutes and then live nearly forever in our landfills.
—breaking the recycling equipment, costing the City money and time to repair.
—almost never recycled and nearly impossible to recycle properly anyway.
—not free from stores! The cost paid by stores for bags is passed along to shoppers.
—dangerous to both domestic and wild animals, who eat them and die.
Tell Mayor Walsh he should support the plastic bag ban ordinance because:
—Boston has repeatedly been voted the “greenest city in the U.S.”; why haven’t we banned
plastic bags already?
—Plastic bags didn’t exist until the 1970s; we all managed just fine without them.
—Plastic bags are banned all over the world, including Ireland in 2002. What is wrong with Boston?
—As part of the ordinance outreach, free reusable bags will be distributed in low-income areas and
to seniors; as Councilor Pressley points out: low-income communities suffer the most from trash due to single-use bags and should’t be used as an excuse not to ban plastic bags.
Earlier this month, members of the Boston Climate Action Network performed their Cantastoria at the Massachusetts College of Art. This production contains an update reflecting the City Council’s unanimous vote authorizing CCE!
The Cantastoria was one of many ways that BCAN got the word out about CCE and engaged with the community. We gave presentations at civic associations throughout Boston, tabled at farmers markets and innovation events, joined marches, passed out leaflets, and worked hard to increase public awareness of climate change.
On November 2, 2017, Boston’s Public Improvement Commission (PIC) held a public hearing on a pipeline proposed by National Grid. Transporting fracked natural gas, the pipeline would go through the Back Bay and South End. Approximately 60 Boston residents attended the hearing in protest. Organized by the Boston Clean Energy Coalition (BCEC), the hearing’s protestors included members of the Boston Climate Action Network (BCAN), Mothers Out Front, 350.org, and the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.
According to Jom Michel, a Steering Team Member of BCEC, “In the Back Bay, a few activists are trying to wake up their fellow citizens,” most of whom oppose the pipeline. He said that National Grid has not been open at all. “The planning process was behind closed doors. Before that, you could call it a rumor.”
To reduce Boston’s carbon emissions, BCEC advocates energy efficiency and clean energy for the City’s buildings, with the goal of making them net zero in terms of their carbon footprint. Jom stated that it doesn’t make sense to construct buildings powered by natural gas. He said, “The pipeline is going to feed luxury condos so they can have their gas fireplaces and their gas stoves . . . It’s not passive housing; it’s not what it needs to be.”
For the time being, the City Council has placed a moratorium on the decision-making process to allow National Grid to proceed with its pipeline. This is thanks to BCEC asking Councilor Josh Zakim to introduce a resolution calling for the moratorium. PIC will hold another hearing regarding the pipeline on November 16, 2017. The Mayor’s office has also asked National Grid to hold a public hearing, so residents will have a chance to voice their concerns. Thus far, no date has been set for this hearing.
Climate Ready Boston has announced a grant-funded job opportunity with the City of Boston. Details below:
The Climate Ready Boston Coordinator will be a key player in helping the City build resilient solutions to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change.
Part of the workload will include supporting neighborhood climate resilience planning, developing specific plans to address risks from longer and more frequent heat waves, and leading innovative community outreach pilots. They will work in the City’s Environment Department alongside the Director of Climate and Environmental Planning and Climate Ready Boston Program Manager.
The position will support our City’s mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for the effects of climate change, and make Boston’s communities greener, healthier, and more resilient.
Learn more about the position here.
Applications are due by Friday, November 17, 2017.
The Boston Globe released an editorial on Community Choice Energy in its October 8th print edition.
There are lots of reasons for Boston to lead the way with this sort of program. One, of course, is that the city sits on the water and is sure to feel the effects of climate change for years to come. But that’s not all.
Boston is an important city. It’s the largest in New England. It’s filled with top-notch scientists and big thinkers, and its citizens increasingly feel like citizens of the world. Boston needs to do something. This is something. Let’s do it.
Read the whole editorial here.
It’s powerful to see the momentum building on this campaign as group after group comes out in support of CCE. Now is the time to keep the pressure on! Call Boston 311 to tell the Mayor’s office that you support CCE and want it to be a priority.
Boston City Council voted unanimously today to authorize Marty Walsh to implement Community Choice Energy. This is a huge step forward toward our goal of having a citywide green electricity purchasing program!