WRSE Rebuttal to Spectra ad mailer on the WR Lateral pipeline

Spectra Energy Ad Mailing on WR Lateral Pipeline Tells Only Part of the Story

Note: For general information on the WR Lateral, click here

On December 22 and 23, Spectra Energy blanketed West Roxbury with a mailed advertising piece that touts the benefits of the company’s proposal to build a high-pressure natural-gas pipeline called the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) into the Grove neighborhood. The advertisement neither tells the whole story of this proposal nor speaks honestly about many of the facts. It is our intent here to provide a fuller picture of the West Roxbury Lateral and fill in the numerous gaps left out of the Spectra Energy ad mailer which are crucial to residents’ understanding the value of the pipeline as well as potential safety and health issues surrounding its current proposed location. The quotes here are taken directly from the Spectra Energy ad mailer. Our rebuttal, written by the Steering Committee of West Roxbury Saves Energy (WRSE), offers fuller facts and draws attention to unanswered questions. This WRSE rebuttal has been endorsed by Rep. Ed Coppinger and City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Michelle Wu.

In the ad mailer, Spectra Energy says:
“The WRL is a new natural gas pipeline proposed by Algonquin Gas Transmission…”

WRSE research shows the full facts are:
The WRL is part of a high-pressure interstate gas transmission system proposed to run through densely populated neighborhoods in Dedham and West Roxbury.


In the ad mailer, Spectra Energy says:
“[The WRL] will be placed under portions of Washington, Grove, and Centre Streets and will not affect private land.”

WRSE research shows the full facts are:
Portions of the WRL require easements on private land, such as Meditech in Westwood; other portions run under public land, such as Gonzales Field in Dedham. The Town of Dedham is actively opposing the WRL. The federal Environmental Impact Statement lists all “residences and other structures within 50 feet” of the proposed work (of which the WRL is only a small part): more than 65% of properties listed for the entire project are associated with the 5 miles of the West Roxbury Lateral.


In the ad mailer, Spectra Energy says:
“Today, 95 percent of the homes and businesses in West Roxbury rely on natural gas from [National] Grid. In fact, there are 146,000 homes in the Boston area that can convert to clean natural gas if the WRL is built and provides additional supply.”

WRSE research shows the full facts are:
There are fewer than 10,000 homes in West Roxbury in total (many of which already have gas). So the proposed interstate gas transmission line is sized to supply nearly 15 times the total number of homes in West Roxbury?! Natural gas is “clean” only relative to coal and oil; natural gas remains a fossil fuel that produces greenhouse gases and is not renewable.


In the ad mailer, Spectra Energy says:
“The WRL will also help address the cost of heating homes by supplying more natural gas to the area…”

WRSE research shows the full facts are:
We are not aware of any cost-management commitments to consumers by either Spectra Energy or National Grid related to the proposed project.


In the ad mailer, Spectra Energy says:
“It should also be noted that two existing gas pipelines…have been operating within Grove and Centre Streets…”

WRSE research shows the full facts are:
The existing pipelines are part of the low-pressure, local distribution network that typically run at 22 psi, NOT high-pressure pipes such as those proposed by Spectra Energy that will run at 750 psi.


In the ad mailer, Spectra Energy says:
“Elsewhere around the country, natural gas pipelines have been built and safely operated near quarries without incident.”

WRSE research shows the full facts are:
When asked on multiple occasions for locations of comparable situations—adjacent to active quarries in the midst of residential neighborhoods—Spectra Energy has been unwilling or unable to provide a single example of another high-pressure gas pipeline in a densely populated residential area adjacent to an active quarry.


In addition to providing the misleading statements above, Spectra Energy omitted from their pipeline campaign ad mailer many crucial facts and steps. These include:
—Spectra Energy is a multi-billion-dollar company based in Houston, Texas, that profits from fossil fuels. The ad mailer indicates a Dedham address, but make no mistake: Spectra Energy is not a local company.
—Community members have followed all procedures allowed by the federal government to raise questions, many of which Spectra Energy has failed to answer. Here are just two of the many questions raised: What are the safety risks, especially with a Metering & Regulating Station adjacent to blasting in the quarry? Why weren’t other locations seriously considered?   —When Congressman Lynch in November requested that Spectra Energy propose alternate routes not near the quarry, Spectra Energy offered no suggestions.
—Community members have repeatedly over the past three months asked for an independent health and safety review to address concerns about the location of the WRL. No such review has been performed to date.
—The Spectra Energy proposal has no mitigation measures for business disruption along the construction route, no payments to neighbors whose homes will lose value, and no information about constant noise and pollution emissions during regular, “safe” operation.
—The WRL is a 5-mile spur off the Algonquin interstate pipeline traveling through Westwood and Dedham, ending in West Roxbury. Dedham is fighting the pipeline vigorously.

The ad mailer fails to make clear that the proposed high-pressure pipeline is nothing like the low-pressure lines that bring gas to our homes and that the Metering & Regulating Station proposed to be built across the street from the active, blasting quarry is a quasi-industrial building and enterprise, not a quiet residential neighbor.

We encourage you not to take the information offered in the Spectra Energy advertising mailer at face value or as the full story. Consider the safety and health implications of a high-pressure gas pipeline and Metering & Regulating Station being proposed for a heavily residential area near an active quarry in our neighborhood. Learn more at our WRSE website here and then call toll free at 866-871-0356 and ask Spectra Energy to answer YOUR questions about the West Roxbury Lateral.

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