In 2020, Columbia Gas was found to be at fault for devastating explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley that occurred in 2018. The legal settlement required them to leave Massachusetts entirely, and Eversource Energy made a deal to buy all of Columbia Gas’ assets when they left.
Immediately after Eversource acquired those assets, representatives of the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition delivered a petition and letter to Eversource, asking them not to continue Columbia Gas’ plans for a methane gas pipeline in Western Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Eversource did not respect the wishes of SCJC and all of those who signed the petition.
Eversource Gas is moving forward with plans to build a new 200 psi gas pipeline from a new point of delivery (POD) station in Longmeadow to the Bliss Street Regulator station in downtown Springfield. This pipeline would pass under major roads, through residential neighborhoods in Longmeadow and through almost exclusively environmental justice residential neighborhoods in Springfield. The Springfield and Longmeadow communities are working together to fight back against it because this pipeline project is:
- Unhealthy: This pipeline would worsen Springfield’s already poor air quality, exacerbating the city’s extremely high rates of respiratory illness. Natural gas’ components and bi-products include methane, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and chemicals introduced during fracking, all of which can cause and exacerbate respiratory illnesses and/or pulmonary disease.
- Dangerous: All pipelines leak eventually, and gas leaks can cause devastating fires and explosions. Springfield knows firsthand how dangerous gas is, after the explosion that injured 18 people and damaged 42 buildings in 2012. Communities in the Merrimack Valley are still recovering from the disastrous and deadly gas explosions and fires of 2018. Eversource is willing to sacrifice Springfield and Longmeadow’s health and safety to make more money.
- Climate Changing: Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a greenhouse gas 80 times more climate changing than carbon dioxide over 20 years. This pipeline would increase Springfield and Longmeadow’s greenhouse gas emissions when we need to dramatically reduce them to curb the climate crisis. This pipeline would also make it harder for Springfield to reach the mandatory 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050 introduced by the MA Climate Roadmap Bill.
- Unnecessary: Eversource has admitted that Springfield doesn’t need more gas. They call this a “reliability project” as they fearmonger about the existing gas pipeline in Springfield being a single point of failure for the city’s gas supply. Yet, even with this new pipeline, the Bliss Street Regulator Station would still be a single point of failure for Springfield’s entire gas supply. This is not a reliability project; it is an expansion project. They are pushing lies and misinformation, following the gas industry’ playbook to try and keep their climate killing industry profitable as the world transitions over to clean and green energy.
- Costly: It would cost an estimated $35-45 million dollars to build this pipeline, all of which would be funded by Massachusetts rate-payers. As more and more households transition away from gas, those who cannot afford to make that transition or who don’t own their homes, like many in Springfield, would be stuck paying the ever increasing bill for Eversource’s “stranded assets.”
Eversource is moving forward with the permitting process
Eversource filed the project with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA), which is part of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, on May 16th, 2022. The Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs will publish notice of the filing in the Environmental Monitor, receive public comments on the project, and then decide if an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required.
We will be making a commenting toolkit to help you draft and submit public comments! That toolkit will posted here as soon as it is ready.
Help us stop the construction of this pipeline!
For All Massachusetts Residents
We are still collecting signatures on our petition addressed to Bill Akley, President of Gas Operations, Eversource. As people who live and work in Springfield and surrounding areas, we demand that Eversource withdraw this unnecessary project and invest instead in a just transition to clean, renewable energy.
Contact your state legislators
Write or call your State Senator and State Representative to ask them to oppose the pipeline.
You can look up the Senator and Representative who represent you here.
Sample phone message here.
Sample written message here.
For Springfield Residents
Sign up to get a lawn sign!
Lawn signs are available and being posted in Springfield right now to raise public awareness of the pipeline threat. Our dedicated volunteers can bring one and post it in your yard, or you may arrange for pick-up or home delivery at your convenience. If you would like a sign, please fill out this form.
Contact your city councilors!
Call or write your City Councilors (Your Ward and At-large) and ask them to oppose the pipeline and pass a resolution against the pipeline.
You can look up what Ward you live in here.
Find councilors’ emails and phone numbers here.
As this fight unfolds, we will continue to post action alerts and updates here