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.