Goldberg: Do we need those yellow pipes?

Ellie Goldberg, FigCityNews OCTOBER 18, 2022

On October 7 a group of Newton’s clean energy advocates sent a proposal to the Public Facilities Committee suggesting changes to the permitting  procedure for National Grid’s new high pressure plastic gas pipelines. 

The proposal asks the Committee to first develop a city-wide plan for pipelines instead of automatically approving National Grid’s ‘Grant of Location’ applications one by one. It also asks the Councilors to obtain a cost and risk analysis for comparing a replacement vs a repair.

Instead of squandering public money for dangerous and wasteful gas pipelines, the advocates want the funds used for investing in efficiencies, electrification and clean energy. The changes would especially protect ratepayers and taxpayers and further the goals of Newton’s Climate Action Plan and the Commonwealth’s Climate goals.

In an earlier September 8 letter the group asked the Committee to consider evidence of less costly and more effective repair options than National Grid’s current pipeline replacements. Currently National Grid makes a large profit when it replaces pipes (that taxpayers will be paying for long after gas pipelines are obsolete) while also charging  ratepayers for the lost gas from Newton’s many hundreds of unrepaired gas leaks.

Newton officials claim the state program requires National Grid to replace “leak prone” pipes. The advocates are asking for more transparency about the criteria for decisions for pipe replacements and more accountability for fixing gas leaks, especially the many high volume leaks. (See the Newton Gas Leaks Map.)

Advocates that signed the letter to the Public Facilities Committee are members of Mothers Out Front/Newton, 350Mass/Newton, Green Newton, and the Citizens Energy Commission.

Ellie Goldberg, affiliated with Mothers Out Front/Newton, 350Mass/Newton, Green Newton

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