Citizens Advocate for A  Future WithOut Gas

Ellie Goldberg, FigCityNews, January 20, 2023

For years, members of Mothers Out Front, 350Mass Newton, and Green Newton watched in frustration as the DPW and Newton’s Public Facilities Committee agreed to National Grid's whack-a-mole scattershot approach to gas pipelines.They have not reduced the many high volume and dangerous leaks nor curbed methane emissions. 

At the recent January 18 Public Facilities meeting, it was more apparent than ever that Newton City Councilors need to pass a resolution that clearly commits to strategically retiring the gas distribution system. 

“National Grid’s latest request is to replace pipe in an entire Upper Falls neighborhood with a 44X increase in pipeline pressure, a dramatic expansion of pipeline capacity rather than far less disruptive and costly pipeline repair,” said Nathan Phillips, Newton resident and BU professor. He explains the impact of gas leaks in a video on his website that shows his work measuring and imaging the lost gas around greater Boston.

Phillips is one of a group of Newton climate action advocates organizing as the Campaign for A Future WithOut Gas (AFWOG). They have proposed a plan to stop National Grid from profiting off of the leaking gas and costly disruptive pipeline replacements.  

“For too long we have been living with the unmitigated hazards, waste and pollution from Newton's hundreds of gas leaks that dwarf any of Newton's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Newton resident Cory Alperstein. “And, homeowners don't realize that National Grid charges customers for the lost gas while it also profits from the utility's pipeline replacement program when repair and retirement would be much much cheaper.” 

At the Public Facilities Committee meeting City Councilors and the public both mentioned ideas from AFWOG’s proposal for a smart new city-wide approach. AFWOG asks city councilors to commit to using comprehensive information from National Grid about the age and condition of Newton’s entire pipeline system. With a new transparency about the pipelines under our streets, we could make a clear-eyed assessment of the riskiest and most wasteful pipelines. Then we could prioritize how to adopt the best technology and programs for the efficiencies and clean energy that the citizens of Newton want and deserve. 

At the January 18 meeting, AFWOG members and others repeatedly spoke up in favor of weaning us off gas and for a responsible transition to safe, non-emitting, non-combustible energy. For example, instead of squandering billions of dollars on an obsolete gas system, National Grid could offer homeowners a choice for non-emitting thermal energy such as heat pumps or participating in a block geogrid energy system. That would assure us the comfort, economic security, health and safety of a livable community for years to come. Let your City Councilors know you want A Future WithOut Gas

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