Gas is not safe, not clean, not green. With our own eyes we see how the climate crisis is increasing the social and financial costs of increasingly extreme weather. The answer is to stop burning fossil fuels while transitioning to a rapid, equitable transition to carbon-free energy sources. On February 21 the City Council voted (19 yes, O no, 5 absent) for a Resolution for A Future WithOut Gas and for Clean Heat.
The Resolution proposes a city-wide plan to prioritize fixing the most dangerous and wasteful of Newton’s 600+ gas leaks and to speed up the retirement of Newton’s pipelines. A successful plan would have many benefits including reducing charges for the lost gas that National Grid now passes on to ratepayers and reducing indoor and outdoor pollution from gas. It would enable Newton to achieve local and state goals for emissions reduction.
The plan would depend on timely information on the history and characteristics of our leaky pipelines so Newton could strategically triage repairs and transition off of fossil fuels to real climate solutions. Instead of squandering $40 billion dollars on pipeline replacement to extend the obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure, we could invest in clean energy and electrification for year-round comfort and cooking.
Newton’s Resolution has inspired similar measures in other towns also frustrated by the gas company’s current lack of transparency and accountability. Many features of Newton’s Resolution are also detailed in Senator Creem’s Future of Clean Heat (S.2105/H.3202) and Representative Armini’s An Act relative to intervenors and utility work (H.3137). These legislative initiatives would increase gas company transparency and accountability, empower Newton to exercise greater oversight of the gas utilities and to set conditions on gas infrastructure projects. We also support Representative Khan's bill, H.3183 An Act relative to the electrification of new and substantially remodeled or rehabilitated buildings.
The Campaign for A Future WithOut Gas — organized by members of Mothers Out Front Newton, 350Mass Newton, and Green Newton — thanks Councilor Alison Leary for her leadership which led to passing the Resolution at the Public Facilities Committee last month. Please write or call to thank our City Councilors for their support for a A Future WithOut Gas and for Clean Heat.
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