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.
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.