There are several different petitions, each focusing on a different aspect of this issue. Please sign them all if you agree!
» Petition to the Massachusetts Legislature and Executive Branch To Ban New Natural Gas Pipeline and Champion Sustainable Energy
(Over 10,000 signatures so far – sign and be counted! – Text Below)
And please remember that signing a petition is just the first step. Our greatest leverage is in direct requests from the people to their elected officials. See the Action Plan from Berkshire Environmental Action Team’s Jane Winn and pick up that phone!
PETITION TO BAN NEW “FRACKED GAS” PIPELINES AND TO CHAMPION SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
To be delivered to the Massachusetts State House, the Massachusetts State Senate, and Governor Deval Patrick.
We, the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth, call upon your leadership to enact legislation and take such other actions as are necessary:
1. To disallow in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the construction of any and all new pipelines carrying natural gas obtained through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).
2. To fully fund and comply with the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act (“GWSA”).
3. To create and enforce more stringent energy efficiency standards and effective subsidies for energy efficiency.
4. To promote further exploration of “distributed” renewable energy sources, creating effective subsidies for such sources, in order to move us away from large power plants (including big wind) to smaller, more resilient, efficient, and ecologically sound locally produced energy.
Let us devote our resources to creating a comprehensive renewable energy infrastructure rather than fortifying our reliance on fossil fuels. Our children and future generations will thank you for taking action now to protect our land, air, and water.
Background for Petition To Ban “Fracked Gas” Pipelines and To Champion Sustainable Energy
“Fracked gas” necessarily travels at high pressure, which increases the likelihood of leaks, ruptures and explosions causing damage to property and lives. Our existing natural gas infrastructure is in need of repair, not expansion: 2012 study identified 3,356 separate natural gas leaks under the streets of Boston alone.(1) At least 99 billion cubic feet of natural gas was “lost and unaccounted for” in Massachusetts from 2000-2011; Massachusetts ratepayers paid between $640 million and $1.5 billion during that period for gas that never reached their homes and businesses.(2)
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports over 990 “significant” natural gas transmission line accidents since 2000.(3) Major effects of these accidents vary from collapsed structures, injuries,(4) and sustained fire (in the case of explosions), to environmental contamination and health impacts from volatile chemical additives (in the case of non-exploding leaks).
High-pressure natural gas pipelines bisect family farms, protected wooded areas, wetlands, and wildlife habitat. They also negatively affect property values and aesthetics for countless parcels of land.
Beyond the inevitable local environmental impacts and potential for disaster, fracking can be devastating to the health of people who live in areas near gas extraction. Fracking uses hundreds of chemicals including EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals, which affect fertility and hormone regulation), known carcinogens, and neurotoxins.(5) These chemicals are pumped into the ground, and have been found in the water supply near drilling sites.
On a global scale, natural gas contributes to climate change. Adding more natural gas to our energy production would increase greenhouse gas emissions and prevent us from meeting the reduced emission requirements under the GWSA. While natural gas has lower carbon dioxide emissions than other fossil fuels, leaks in extraction and transmission emit methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.(6) Natural gas is not a “clean energy” source.
More natural gas is not needed to meet our heating fuel needs, nor our electricity needs. In Massachusetts, natural gas accounts for 67 percent of the state’s electricity generation.(7) As a starting point, natural gas currently used in electricity generation could be shifted over to heating uses, since it is easier to use non-fossil fuel energy sources for electricity than heat. In a study projecting out to 2022, ISO-New England has projected that we already have enough infrastructure in place to meet future annual energy needs.(8) Improvements in energy efficiency will help us to meet future needs.
Increasing small scale, “distributed energy” or on-site energy generation resources, such as rooftop wind and solar, is a more ecologically sound solution to provide energy beyond what improvements in efficiency will yield. Small scale projects would also create more long-term local jobs than massive pipeline projects(9), which are likely to involve out-of-state workers on a short-term basis.
(1) – “Study Details Natural Gas Leaks in Boston,” November 20, 2012 (http://www.bu.edu/cas/2012/11/20/thousands-of-natural-gas-leaks-discovered-in-boston).
(2) – “America Pays for Gas Leaks: Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks Cost Consumers Billions,” a report prepared for Sen. Edward J. Markey by the Conservation Law Foundation, Released July 2013 (http://www.clf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Markey-Gas-Leaks-Report-2.pdf).
(3) – “Significant Pipeline Incidents,” U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Pipeline & Hazardous MaterialsSafety Administration (http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/safety/sigpsi.html#_ngtrans) (visited 2/9/2014).
(4) – “Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Found At Fracking Sites Linked To Cancer, Infertility: Study,” Dominique Mosbergen, The Huffington Post, December 20, 2013 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/20/fracking-chemicals-cancer-study_n_4468243.html).
(5) – Id.
(6) – “Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field: Methane leaks during production may offset climate benefits of natural gas,” Jeff Tollefson, February 7, 2012 (http://www.nature.com/news/air-sampling-reveals-high-emissions-from-gas-field-1.9982).
(7) – “Utilities seek boost in region’s natural gas: Pipeline capacity jump could lower power costs,” Erin Ailworth, Boston Globe, November 5, 2013, https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/11/05/agreements-with-utilities-moving-pipeline-expansion-forward/8uyv2tJ9dqhXReB3BxgkYN/story.html.
(8) – ISO New England Final 2013 Energy-Efficiency Forecast 2016-2022, Energy Efficiency Working Group, February 22, 2013, Holyoke, MA.
(9) – “Report: More Than 110,000 Clean Energy, Clean Transportation Jobs Announced In 2012 – CA, NC, FL, Ill., Conn., AZ, NY, Mich., Texas and Ore. lead country in 2012; But Job Growth Being Threatened in Statehouses Nationwide,” March 14, 2013 (http://www.distributedenergy.com/DE/Articles/Report_More_Than_110000_Clean_ Energy_Clean_Transpo_20873.aspx).