Susan Theberge

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Northfield 350th Presents “The People v. The Pipeline”: Testimony 

And Lessons Learned from The People Who Were There

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 23, 2023

Contact: Joan and Steve Stoia, Community Engagement

Northfield 350th Anniversary

Northfield350news@gmail.com

(Cell) 413-835-1269

Northfield 350th Presents “The People v. The Pipeline”: Testimony 

And Lessons Learned from The People Who Were There

NORTHFIELD   Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  In keeping with her spirit, the Northfield Oral History Project of the 350th Anniversary program of 2023 will present a multi-media production called “The People vs. The Pipeline” on Sunday, November 12 at 105 Main Street in Northfield at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and there is plenty of onsite parking.

“The People vs. The Pipeline” is the story of the diverse strategies employed and the actions that took place between 2014 and 2016, as told by the participants in their own words, that ultimately helped stop the Northeast Direct (NED) fracked gas pipeline proposed for the region by the Kinder Morgan Company of Houston, Texas.  Originating in the Pennsylvania gas fields, the pipeline was intended to traverse New York State, part of New Hampshire and numbers of small Massachusetts towns in Franklin County and beyond.  Compressor stations to push the fracked gas were to be sited along the way to Eastern Massachusetts; one of those compressor stations was planned for Northfield. 

The production features the voices of local citizens, elected officials and tribal representatives, and efforts by local and state government–even our former Attorney General—sharing research on demand for gas, on Indigenous ceremonial stone structures and sacred sites in the path of the construction and scientific data on the deleterious effects of toxic “blow downs” from compressor stations on public health, especially that of children and seniors.  Oral testimonies are interspersed with photographs and video of some of the public hearings, demonstrations, protests, public multi-day walks and other activities undertaken to highlight the coming threat to communities along the path and false claims about the need for the gas.  Music will be provided by Carrie and Michael Kline, consultants to the Northfield Oral History Project, musicians and founders of “Talking Across the Lines.”  Document compilation and editing was completed by Cate Woolner, Stephen Stoia and Joan Stoia with production assistance by Robbie Leppzer, Bernardston-Northfield Community Media (BNCTV) and Greenfield Community Television (GCTV).  The all-volunteer cast includes: Court Dorsey, William Spademan, Steve Stoia, Mary Johnson, Steven Botkin, Joan Levy and Cate Woolner, with Shirley Keech as former Attorney General, now governor, Maura Healey.  Artwork was provided by  Laura Kaye.  The audience will be able to identify the bad guys; they’re the ones wearing the black hats.

Using actual testimonies from the people who were there, music and a little bit of humor, the story of the pipeline brings the 350th Anniversary toward its close with the telling of a major contemporary event that confronted Northfield and its neighbors within the past decade.  The production is funded by a matching grant from the Grassroots Fund of New England.  Support for the Northfield Oral History Project was provided by an allocation obtained by Senator Jo Comerford’s Office.  The organizers hope that the lessons learned will be of use to other small communities facing similar challenges in the future.  

The Northfield 350th Anniversary continues with a holiday family marionette performance of “Cinderella” and the Magic Wings Butterfly traveling exhibit on December 16, a concert by Da Camera Singers on December 2, and a final town-wide luminaria on December 31, 2023.  For more information contact Joan and Steve Stoia, 413-835-1269, Northfield350news@gmail.com or visit www.northfield350.org.  Photo: DPU Hearing, Greenfield Middle School.

-end-

Warheads to Windmills

This is a call to support S.1488/H.738A Resolve providing for an investigation and study by a special commission relative to the existential threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, filed by Senator Jo Comerford and Representative Lindsay Sabadosa. 

The Resolve creates a non-partisan Citizens Commission that would explore ways to protect the residents of the Commonwealth by making recommendations to the Legislature on how to assist the transition from nuclear weapons-related jobs and activities, and towards jobs and economic opportunities that directly address the climate emergency.

Please write to your MA State Representative and Senator today, asking them to urge the chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Senator Timilty and Representative González, to vote S.1488 (the nuclear weapons and climate commission bill) favorably out of committee. This would allow the commission to begin its complex and much-needed work.

The Climate Bank bill

The Climate Bank bill sponsored by Senator Paul Mark and Representative Joan Meschino (S.675/H.3774) is included in a hearing announced by the Financial Services Committee.  We ask that you send an email message to the Committee in support of this bill (this is a priority bill supported by CAN).  

Address your e-mail message to the Co-chairs of the Financial Services Committee, and copy your state legislators.  Below is a suggested message. 

paul.feeney@masenate.gov

James.Murphy@mahouse.gov

Dear Senator Feeney and Representative Murphy:   Massachusetts needs long term funding to support work on climate change.  A climate bank, as proposed in S.675/H.3774, An Act Creating a Climate Bank in Massachusetts, is an innovative financing mechanism, that will provide funding and technical support for “climate and clean energy innovations,” by attracting private capital for projects that help reduce geenhouse gas emissions.  Climate banks adapt their focus areas over time as they monitor the market and identify areas where more funding is needed.

Please support a favorable vote on S.675/H.3774.  

Thank you,

NAME

TOWN 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You may also call the the Financial Service Committee, and ask for support of the bill, which is included in an October 24th hearing. Bill name/numbers above. (617) 722-1222 or (617) 722-2220 S.675/H.3774·        Provides long-term funding·        Brings private capital to fund green-house gas reduction projects·        Evauates and adjusts funding programs over time as markets change

Act for Climate Justice Education in Our Schools

Does the climate crisis belong in Massachusetts’ public school curriculum? Our young people will see a growing intensification of the climate crisis in their lifetimes. But they won’t learn how the climate crisis works or what we can do about it in school. More than 86% of teachers and 84% of parents support climate education in schools. But only New Jersey has a robust, interdisciplinary, and mandatory curriculum.  

Our Climate MA and the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition have been working on climate justice education legislation, especially H. 3887, An Act to include climate education in the Massachusetts elementary and secondary school curriculum and they are asking us to submit testimony. This bill is a Climate Action Now priority bill and we urge everyone to support them by submitting testimony.

Our Climate has created a toolkit for writing testimony for H.3887 which you can view here. In writing testimony, emphasize the importance of teaching climate justice and supporting teachers, as we need the committee to strengthen the language on those things in the bill, since it is the most likely of several climate education bills to make it through committee. When you have written your testimony, please submit it here.

Susanna Kelman, a high-school junior from Belmont, says this in her testimony: “The need for quality climate education cannot be overstated. As young people, climate change is the future we will inherit. We have to understand climate change to make informed decisions about the future we want to create. Beyond empowering us to make decisions about our future, climate education has been proven to lead students to make more climate friendly choices in their everyday life.” 

Please write to your state senator and representative. Ask them to support climate justice education legislation that offers a robust and multi-disciplinary curriculum. And while you’re at it, look for an opportunity to support the drive to get a question on the ballot that would drop the MCAS standardized test as a graduation requirement. Only seven other states require passage of a test for high school graduation. The current focus on “teaching to the test” doesn’t leave room for the rich climate curriculum our students deserve if they are to have the knowledge to face this dangerous new world they’ve inherited.

RESPECT: Reforming Energy System Planning for Equity and Climate Transformation

RESPECT: Reforming Energy System Planning for Equity and Climate Transformation

(H 755/ S 2091)

Representative Blais/Senator Comerford

A priority bill for Climate Action Now

This bill addresses the conflict of interest in the utility planning process in which the utilities conduct long-range planning for the distribution systems that they own and operate at a profit for their investors.  

The bill, if passed into law, would create a Department of Energy Transformation Planning within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to lead energy system planning and ensure it is aligned with state goals to address climate pollution, further environmental justice, and lower consumer costs.  

What you can do to support this bill

It is really important to show support for Senator Comerford and Representative Blais’ bill because it requires the state of Massachusetts to take responsibility for long term planning of utility services rather than having the utilities in charge of that planning.  


We urge you to submit written testimony using the template below

[YOUR ADDRESS]

[DATE]                  

Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE)

Senate Chair, Senator Michael J. Barrett

House Chair, Representative Jeffrey Roy

24 Beacon St., Room 109-D

Boston, MA, 02133

As submitted by email to Abigail.Kuhn@masenate.gov  and 

JointCommittee.Utilities&Energy@malegislature.gov

Dear Co-Chairs Senator Barrett and Representative Roy:  

As a member of Climate Action Now, Western Massachusetts I am writing in support of H.755/S.2091, An Act Reforming Energy System Planning for Equity and Climate Transformation, sponsored by Senator Jo Comerford and Representative Natalie Blais. 

[Insert comments here about why acting on climate change is important to you].

The bill mentioned above addresses the conflict of interest in the utility planning process in which the utilities conduct long-range planning for the distribution systems that they own and operate at a profit for their investors.  The bill creates instead a Department of Energy Transformation Planning within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to lead energy system planning and ensure it is aligned with state goals to address climate pollution, further environmental justice, and lower consumer costs. 

This shift in responsibility for long-term planning would allow the state to focus on greenhouse gas reduction goals, meaningful public input, and environmental justice impacts.  This would in turn permit the utilities to focus on operating reliable distribution systems and serving their customers and investors.

    Sincerely, 

    [Your Name]

How to submit your testimony

Email your testimony to: 

 Abigail.Kuhn@masenate.gov and

 JointCommittee.Utilities&Energy@malegislature.gov   

 Copy your legislators as well as

 Jo.Comerford@masenate.gov  and

 Natalie.Blais@mahouse.gov     

The subject line of the email should be “H.755/S.2091, Member Climate Action Now, in Support”.


Hearing for the bill

The bill will be heard by the legislature’s joint committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) on September 20th at 1 pm and again on September 21st at 10 AM. Click on the links below for information about the hearings.

https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/4669

https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/4577

Stop the Springfield-Longmeadow Pipeline 

Social Media Toolkit

The Springfield and Longmeadow communities have joined together to fight back against the proposed Springfield-Longmeadow Eversource pipeline because it is unhealthy, dangerous, climate-changing, costly, and unnecessary. 

We just received great news this week: the MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Rebecca Tepper, decided that Eversource’s Draft Environmental Impact Report did not meet MEPA requirements! This means Eversource has to do a lot more work, outreach, and analysis before submitting a supplemental report.

Secretary Tepper explicitly mentioned the many comments and 6000 petition signatures she received in opposition to this project, and the very important environmental justice concerns raised by so many people and organizations. Now it’s time to celebrate, thank the secretary for her decision, and prepare for what comes next!

Go here for actions you can take right now!  And thanks to Mireille from Slingshot for creating this toolkit!

Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social media platform using the sample language below:

Thank you @EEASecretary for ruling that @EversourceMA’s Draft Env Impact Report for their unnecessary and unhealthy fracked gas pipeline does not comply! We appreciate your commitment to #EnvironmentalJustice.

#NoEversourcePipeline

After hundreds of comment co-signers and thousands of petition signatures, we got great news: @EEASecretary ruled that the Draft Env Impact Report for @EversourceMA’s fracked gas pipeline does not comply! Thank you Secretary Tepper for your leadership in #EnvironmentalJustice.

BIG NEWS: @EversourceMA’s fracked gas pipeline Draft Env Impact Report does not comply!

Thank you to our many allies and partners for their tireless work, and thank you @EEASecretary for your leadership in #EnvironmentalJustice.

We will keep pushing on to #StopTheSLP

Key pieces to include in your post: 

One or both of these main hashtags: 

#NoSpringfieldLongmeadowPipeline

#StopTheSLP

Any of these supplementary hashtags:

#PeopleOverProfit

#NoEversourcePipeline

#DontSacrificeSpringfield

#Environment

#ClimateAction

#Sustainability

#Pipeline

Tag SCJC so we can retweet! @SCJC413

Tag Eversource’s Social Media Accounts

Twitter: @EversourceMA 

Facebook: @EversourceMA

Instagram: @EversourceEnergy

Retweet, like, comment on & share other posts you see with these hashtags

 Statement from Springfield Climate Justice Coalition

 

On Monday, July 17, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Rebecca Tepper, determined that Eversource Energy’s Draft Environmental Impact Report for a proposed gas pipeline running from Longmeadow to Springfield does not comply with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act and its regulations. 

Therefore, Eversource must do additional analysis and conduct meaningful outreach in the community before submitting a supplemental report.

Springfield Climate Justice Coalition’s response to Secretary Tepper’s determination 

“The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC) is thrilled with Secretary Tepper’s response to Eversource which reinforces the importance of environmental justice. In her ruling, Secretary Tepper explicitly underlined the concerns SCJC raised in our comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report : public health considerations were not taken into account, impacts on environmental justice communities were disregarded, and alternatives to fossil fuel infrastructure were not meaningfully considered. The Secretary demonstrated that she is truly hearing frontline communities and weighing their voices in her decision-making. 

SCJC commends the administration for this thoughtful and science-based response, and looks forward to engaging in every step of the regulatory process around this unhealthy, unnecessary, and costly project.

We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from individuals and organizations across Western Mass and the entire Commonwealth. This demonstrated once again that when people join together to speak out against injustice, our voices will be heard.”

 Detailed information regarding the Secretary’s ruling is below

The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, a diverse coalition of community, social, civic, and public health organizations, faith based groups, and businesses,​ is celebrating an important victory in its campaign to stop Eversource Gas from building a new gas expansion project in Springfield. This proposed project, which includes a new 200 psi high-pressure 16” pipeline main and expansion of an existing regulator station within Springfield, would run through many Environmental Justice neighborhoods and would impose yet another inequitable environmental burden on a city already targeted by multiple toxic and polluting industries.

On Monday, July 17, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Rebecca Tepper, determined that Eversource Energy’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) released on July 14th,

“does not adequately and properly comply with MEPA and its implementing regulations. The Proponent  (Eversource Energy) should prepare a Supplemental DEIR (SDEIR) with the additional analysis… including a supplemental alternatives analysis and other information which was to have been provided in the DEIR.”( p.1)

MEPA is the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. The MEPA review process provides meaningful opportunities for public review of potential environmental impacts of projects for which certain actions by state agencies, such as issuing permits, are required.

The Secretary further stated that

“The purpose of the DEIR for any project is to provide sufficient information to analyze and support a selection of a Preferred Alternative that will avoid, minimize and mitigate environmental impacts to the maximum extent feasible. For the reasons stated above, the DEIR has not provided an adequate alternatives analysis, and has not fully justified dismissal of the “No Build” Alternative or other non-pipeline alternatives.” (p. 7)

Secretary Tepper highlighted the massive opposition to this project in Springfield and across the Commonwealth and the environmental justice issues raised by proposing to build new dirty energy facilities in Springfield.

“Several comment letters, including a petition signed by approximately 6,000 individuals and organizations, strongly advocate for exploration of further alternatives to the project to support a “just transition to a clean and green energy future,” and note the potential for disproportionate adverse impacts on EJ populations who may have to bear the burden of additional fossil fuel infrastructure in their communities.” (p.6- 7)

Bolstering SCJC’s claim that Eversource’s proposed pipeline is unnecessary and again reinforcing the environmental injustice of this proposal, Secretary Tepper stated that

“the DEIR has not fully justified the purpose and need for the project, and does not explain why the risk of outage was determined to be unacceptably high at this location so as to warrant immediate action, as compared to other areas with aged infrastructure throughout the Proponent’s statewide distribution network.” 

“Given the location of the project within EJ populations, the SDEIR should discuss how and why this location was chosen for infrastructure upgrades, and whether the presence of EJ and other vulnerable populations was considered as a factor in site selection.” (p.16)

Eversource proposed to expand dirty energy infrastructure at a time when farmers in Western Massachusetts are grappling with massive crop failures due to torrential climate change fueled rainstorms, as toddlers in Phoenix burn their feet on sidewalks with temperatures as high as 116 degrees F and as vast portions of the United States face toxic smoke choking our lungs due to historic fires raging in Canadian forests. Yet Eversource Energy failed to address the climate costs of this unnecessary and toxic pipeline proposal. As stated by Secretary Tepper

“In addition, the DEIR did not address other items in the Scope, including a quantitative estimate of the potential increase in gas supply that may result from the project and associated impacts, including increased GHG emissions. The DEIR has failed to provide full justification for dismissing non-pipeline alternatives to the project, and has not shown why a “hybrid” scenario of combining shorter term redundancy solutions (such as use of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquified natural gas (LNG) to meet winter peak demand), combined with a longer term transition to other fuel sources, may not be a feasible option.”

Media Contacts

Cathy Kristofferson  978-204-3940

Susan Theberge 413-575-7345  

Naia Tenerowicz: 303-906-3848 

Quotes: 

“This proposed pipeline would run through many Environmental Justice neighborhoods in Springfield and would impose yet another inequitable environmental burden on a city already targeted by multiple toxic and polluting industries. Additionally, the cost of at least $65 million gets passed on to ratepayers, who will increasingly be the poor, those least able to pay to transition off gas”, stated Naia Tenerowicz, a lead organizer with Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. 

“In addition to the existential threat of climate change/chaos that would be increased by Eversource Energy’s proposed project if approved, this gas expansion project would exacerbate child health and environmental justice problems in Springfield” said Susan Theberge, co-founder of climate Action Now. 

“We applaud Secretary Tepper agreeing with our assessment that Eversource did not provide adequate alternative analysis nor justification for dismissing none-pipe solutions for their perceived project need,” said Cathy Kristofferson of the Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast. “The gas companies cannot continue expanding their distribution systems if we hope to meet our emission reduction mandates.”

Some tips for making Zoom work for you:

Audio:

  • If you hover over the bottom left corner of the zoom window, you can choose between calling in on your phone or using computer audio. If your internet isn’t very strong, your phone audio may be better.
  • Please keep yourself muted except when you are speaking. On a computer, click on the audio icon on the lower left of your screen to mute and unmute. On a landline phone, hit * 6 to mute and unmute. 

Video:

  • To turn your webcam on, hover over the lower left corner of the zoom window and click on “Start Video.” You do need a webcam for this to work! 
  • If your internet isn’t very strong, turning your camera off may make your connection more stable.

View:

  • In the upper right corner of the zoom window, try clicking back and forth between gallery and speaker view. Use whichever you like – this only affects your own screen!

Participation:

  • You can ‘raise your hand’ to ask a question. On a computer, click the participants icon at the bottom of your screen and click raise hand in the dialog box.  If you are on a landline phone, hit *9 to raise/lower your hand.
  • When doing a go-around (like introductions), after you have spoken, call on someone else to speak. Everyone’s view of the group is not the same, so we can’t say ‘pass to the person on your left’.
  • You can also use the chat window to share links, comments, etc.

If you would like to test this out before the meeting, click join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom.

We recommend that you join us through a computer or tablet.  If you must use a phone, please download the Zoom app, to improve your ability to participate.

Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count

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