In both Northampton and Springfield the campaign to get Columbia Gas to repair the over-600 gas leaks reported in the two cities is gaining momentum. Initiated in Northampton by a group of neighbors concerned with climate change and calling itself TwoDegreesatGreenNeighbors.Earth, who discovered during planning for an Earth Day celebration that their town was riddled with leaks from old natural gas pipelines, the effort was quickly adopted by the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition.
Both groups had consulted information at the Boston-based Home Energy Efficiency Team’s “Squeaky Leak” site www.heetma.org where gas company leak reports have been posted on google maps. In Springfield there exist at least 538 leaks from pipes and mains, whereas in Northampton 91 were recorded.
As detailed in Bill McKibben’s recent Nation article
http://www.thenation.com/article/global-warming-terrifying-new-chemistry/, natural gas is increasingly being viewed as a climate change threat, independent of the co2 emissions from its burning. Massive leaks from well and storage facilities, added to chronic leakage from throughout the
transport system, may counteract all our efforts to reign in fossil fuel emissions, since each molecule of methane, the main component of natural gas, is over eighty times as potent as a molecule of carbon dioxide over twenty years.
Add to that the hazards from explosions of gas leaks, the toxicity to humans of its additives, it’s penchant for killing trees AND the fact that ratepayers have been footing the bill for these leaks all these years, and there is a forceful argument to repair the leaks.
It became personal for two neighbors in the Two Degrees group who found on the HEETMA leaks right in front of their homes. The group wrote a letter to Columbia Gas President Steven Bryant and contacted the press http://wwlp.com/2016/04/11/northampton-has-nearly-a-hundred-natural-gas-leak
s/ & http://www.gazettenet.com/News/Local/Northampton-group-sounds-alarm-on-91-natural-gas-leaks-1453999 and are now working with the City Council to create
additional pressure to fix the leaks.
In the fall of 2015, the council passed a non-binding resolution supporting leak repair and legislation to make the
utilities pay for the wasted gas. The group is looking to create teeth for that demand. SCJC is waiting for a reply to their letter to Columbia Gas and has created a petition that we urge you to sign at https://www.change.org/p/stephen-bryant-tell-columbia-gas-fix-leaking-gas-pipes-and-stop-charging-ratepayers-for-lost-gas .
There were public fora in Springfield and Northampton on Thursday, June 2, 2016 featuring Boston Mothers
Out Front gas leaks organizer Ania Camargo.
For more information, contact Marty Nathan at 413-531-9915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.