WRL Updates 2015 and 2014

 

Following are all of the e-mail updates we sent in 2015 and 2014 about the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline; they appear here in reverse chronological order. (If a link is not live, you can copy it and paste it into your browser.)

 

December 7, 2015

Dear all,

A number of you have been asking if we have heard anything further about a community meeting or mitigation measures since the e-mail newsletter update about the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) pipeline from the Mayor’s West Rox liaison Chris Rusk that I forwarded on Nov. 19. Consequently, I spoke with Chris at some length today and will do my best to summarize that conversation as I understood it.

For some weeks a number of us, including Councilor O’Malley, have been asking to have a community meeting with representatives from various Boston city departments (DPW, BPD, BTD, for example) to help us understand the construction process and steps related to the building of the WRL pipeline. While we are fully aware that this is a federal project being undertaken by Spectra, it has been our opinion that these departments would nevertheless be able to shed some light on the process for residents most affected by the construction and supply information to help residents be prepared for the implications and repercussions of construction. However, the Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) feels that a meeting with the city departments would not be productive because of the city’s lack of involvement and dearth of information about the construction of the pipeline and that city representatives would not be able to provide the information the community is seeking.

However, Tom Fitzpatrick—the outside attorney previously hired by the Mayor’s Office to handle the Request for Rehearing of the certificate FERC issued as well as the federal lawsuit by Spectra in which they were awarded eminent domain over Boston’s streets to build their pipeline—is currently working in an official capacity to both determine the compensation to be paid to Boston for Spectra’s use of the streets and to negotiate other mitigation measures with Spectra’s attorneys. As part of these mitigation requests, Mr. Fitzpatrick and the ONS are looking to schedule a community meeting at which Spectra would present their plans for the design of the Metering & Regulating (M&R) Station and hear community input in regard to that design. I asked today if this meeting might also include the opportunity for someone from Spectra or their construction staff to present an overview of the remaining construction plans to the community as well and possibly take questions. Chris said that he would take this request to Mr. Fitzpatrick to see if it could be incorporated into the conversations he is having with Spectra’s attorneys.

Because construction of the M&R Station is scheduled to begin in the spring, I asked that Chris remind Mr. Fitzpatrick that the clock is ticking and that the sooner we can schedule a design review, the more likely the possibility that Spectra will make some kind of an effort to incorporate any of the community’s feedback.

Here are links to the two most recent Weekly Compliance Reports filed on the docket by Spectra and the last to cover this fall’s construction so far of the WRL, as work was stopped for the winter moratorium on nonessential road work as of November 13:
Weekly Status Report 24 (covers week ending Nov. 6):  http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151130-5166
Weekly Status Report 25 (covers week ending Nov. 13): http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151204-5262.

In another vein, many of you are aware of the report issued by the Attorney General’s office dated November 2015 that evaluated New England’s future natural gas needs and essentially called into question the plans by Spectra and Kinder Morgan to build additional natural gas pipelines. A number of you are also aware that on the release of this report we contacted the AG’s office and requested that she and Congressman Lynch send this report to FERC and request that a rehearing of the AIM project (of which the WRL pipeline is a part) be granted in light of its findings. In response, last week I received a call from Rebecca Tepper, head of the AG’s Energy Division and deputy chief of her Energy and Environmental Bureau. Unfortunately I was informed by Rebecca that for the sake of the report and the statistics it utilized, AIM was considered to be already constructed and already distributing gas (I believe because the certificate has already been issued). Consequently, the report would not be of help in making a case against AIM.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

November 19, 2015

Dear all,

Please see below. Hopefully it bodes well that the mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services is now taking ownership of this issue in this way. While I will continue to be happy to hear from any of you at any time, everyone should e-mail Chris Rusk directly henceforth with questions or comments on the WRL pipeline: christopher.rusk@boston.gov. Feel free to cc me if you wish.

Rickie

Begin forwarded message:

From: Christopher Rusk <christopher.rusk@boston.gov>
Subject: West Roxbury Lateral Update
Date: November 19, 2015 at 11:19:38 AM EST
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

 West Roxbury Lateral Updates

Good morning,

In an effort to maintain a clear line of communication with neighborhood residents, I will be sending West Roxbury Lateral Updates as they come in addition to my weekly neighborhood newsletter.

After the City lost a lawsuit in federal court, Spectra was granted easement rights in Washington and Grove Streets by eminent domain. This allows the pipeline to be installed without the approval of the city of Boston’s Public Improvement commission (PIC). PIC is a process that requires approvals and oversight from appropriate city departments including Public Works, Boston Transportation Dept., and Boston Water and Sewer Commission. Because of the judgement, those departments do not have any oversight over the construction of the pipeline.

However, the City has kept the line of communication open with Spectra to help keep residents informed and to assist with any city related issues with the project (Boston Water and Sewer was able to promptly fix a broken water main that was broken by Spectra’s contractor. Something that might have been avoided if the city had more oversight.)

Public works has also confirmed that Spectra will be observing the moratorium on non emergency road work for the winter. Their last day of work was November 13th and will commence in April.

In the meantime the City’s Corporate Council will also be engaging Spectra to discuss appropriate compensation for the easements.

My office is engaging Spectra to discuss mitigation for community benefits including a potential community meeting for neighborhood residents to discuss design for the metering and regulation station.

I will pass along any and all updates as soon as I have them. Please share this with your friends who may be interested and have them email me to be added to the distribution list.

Thank You

Christopher Rusk
Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
Neighborhood Liaison, West Roxbury

Office: (617) 635- 4818
Cell: (617) 908-2169
Twitter: @WestroxburyONS

 

November 16, 2015

Dear all,

It appears that Spectra has halted construction on the WRL pipeline in West Roxbury as of this past Saturday. This is in compliance with the City of Boston’s winter moratorium on nonessential road work and in keeping with the schedules Spectra has attached recently to its Weekly Compliance Reports (including the one linked below), in which they stated work would cease between Nov. 15, 2015, and Apr. 15, 2016, as we reported previously.

Here is the link to the most recent Weekly Compliance Report on AIM (which includes the WRL), posted today:
Weekly Report #23 (for Oct. 24–Oct. 30): http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151116-5040.

Spectra is currently performing construction prep work at the site of the Metering & Regulating Station in West Roxbury. Therefore, I am in the process of following up with Spectra’s attorney, with whom I had an e-mail exchange earlier this year about a community process to learn about/comment on the design of the M&R Station, to now schedule such a meeting. We understand that construction is scheduled to begin on the M&R Station in the spring.

Last Friday Mayor Walsh was taking questions on WGBH and thanks to a suggestion from a member of our community a number of us sent e-mails about the WRL. Host Jim Braude noted aloud that he had received quite a few on the topic and then read the Mayor my question, as follows: “As you know, construction of a high-pressure gas pipeline in a densely populated neighborhood of West Roxbury began on Sept. 29. Since then, we and our local elected officials have been asking the City for a community meeting with relevant departments such as BTD, BPD etc. to learn more about the construction process as well as your mitigation talks. We have had no response to this request. Could you please make this meeting happen? We are happy to host the meeting, as we have done previously with other West Roxbury Lateral pipeline issues. But we need your help.” After providing some background information about the WRL, the Mayor responded that he had understood that this meeting had already been scheduled and that if it had not been, it would be. Consequently, I followed up with the Mayor’s staff on Friday via e-mail on this. Today I followed up again with the Office of Neighborhood Services. I will let you know what I learn. Thank you to all who sent e-mails to WGBH or called on Friday. We continue to hope that this community meeting will be scheduled soon now that the Mayor has given his approval of it.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

November 12, 2015

This update will be a bit unusual in that there is no new information from the Mayor’s Office or the Office of Neighborhood Services in regard to our inquiries as stated in the last few updates: what the Mayor meant by his statement in the Transcript when he wrote that he was “fighting the pipeline in other ways” than appealing the eminent domain; whether the City will ask their attorney to go to Judge Young about Spectra’s many noncompliance actions, including their intent to work beyond the City’s moratorium date on nonessential roadwork and the water-main break they caused, among others; whether there will be a community meeting with the City departments so that residents can better understand the implications of the construction.

Instead, I will report on the continuous actions organized by others that are taking place at the construction site on Washington Street in West Roxbury.

The Rally to Stop Spectra this past Saturday morning did, indeed, shut down the construction. Spectra did no work in West Roxbury on the WRL pipeline that day. In addition, more than 40 people have been arrested at the worksite since construction began in West Roxbury several weeks ago. Fifteen people were arrested just this morning, and the participants today were comprised of “mothers, grandmothers, and others.” The civil disobedience actions have been peaceful, well planned and well organized and also well attended due to the daily morning vigil/protests taking place at the Washington Street work site from 8 to 9 am (except Sundays). I attended today for the first time, along with City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Michelle Wu and Councilor-Elect Annissa Essaibi George, to witness the arrests. It was impressive and inspiring to watch these committed individuals step forward and cross the barriers into the construction site of this outrageous project. We were pleased to have the City Councilors attend this morning to show their support of the community’s efforts to protest the high-pressure gas pipeline. Here is a brief piece that ran in the Boston Globe about the morning’s civil disobedience and arrests: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/11/12/people-protesting-pipeline-expansion-west-roxbury-arrested-boston-police/KWEvoRqgUNA8LXKM7E4GaO/story.html.

This Saturday at 9 am is another large Stop Spectra Rally at the construction site. Please attend if you can. Bring signs and bring a friend.

Here are the two most recent Weekly Compliance Reports filed by Spectra:
Weekly Construction Report 21: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151103-5108
Weekly Constructoin Report 22: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151106-5144
You will note that in Report 22, which covers Oct. 20, there is absolutely no mention of Spectra’s breaking the water main during the course of their work on the pipeline that day (as reported in my update of Oct. 21). How they can simply omit this from their report on construction is a mystery. Again, we ask the City to pursue this with Judge Young as blatant refusal to work with City entities in order to avoid exactly this kind of occurrence, cooperation ordered by the judge himself.

Please consider calling and/or e-mailing the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Neighborhood Services and asking the City to report Spectra’s noncompliance and lack of cooperation with City departments to Judge Young since we know no other avenue by which to do so. And if you want to see evidence that the community refuses to back down from the fight against this pipeline we do not want and we do not need, stop by the worksite one morning between 8 and 9 am during the week or this Saturday at 9 am.

Finally, the great environmental advocate and activist Bill McKibben acknowledged the West Roxbury protesters’ efforts when he mentioned their shutting down Spectra’s work Saturday on the WBUR show “On Point” this past week. You can listen to the program here: https://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/11/09/keystone-pipeline-killed-is-the-fight-really-over

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

November 1, 2015

Dear all,

It has been reported to us that at just about the same time that construction began on Grove Street of the West Roxbury Lateral high-pressure gas pipeline, a number of the yard signs protesting the pipeline were taken from private property along the route and that more have been removed today. Councilor O’Malley has promised to look into this on Monday; he requests that anyone who has had a sign stolen report this information to the police. While this might seem like overkill, it is important to follow through on reporting it to the authorities if you have had a sign removed from your yard.

A large rally is planned for this coming Saturday, Nov. 7, to protest the construction of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. Please join if you can between 9 am and 12 noon (and plan to stay for the after party). The exact location will be determined by where construction is occurring that day (probably near the intersection of Washington and Grove Streets). For more information, e-mail resistthepipeline.org. If you visit the website resistthepipeline.org, you can watch a video of environmental leader Bill McKibben offering West Roxbury/Boston support in our actions to stop the building of this fossil-fuel infrastructure that we do not need and do not want.

Here is the link for the most recent Spectra compliance report, Weekly Report #20, which they filed on Oct. 23 for the week of Oct. 3 through 9: http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151023-5276. You will note the many complaints from residents along the WRL and how few seem to have had any satisfactory resolution. You will recall that in a previous e-mail I noted that the schedule attached to the last Weekly Report (and again attached in the link above) indicated that Spectra would be observing the City of Boston’s winter moratorium on nonessential road work by stopping construction after November 15 until March. However, we have been told that the general contractor hired by Spectra has indicated to the police that they in fact plan to work in our streets until Dec. 1, weather permitting. If this turns out to be the case, we can only hope that the Mayor’s attorney will add this to the list of noncooperation that Spectra has shown, which would seem to be in direct noncompliance with Judge Young’s second order granting Spectra eminent domain but requiring the energy company to cooperate with the City of Boston, and report this conduct to the judge.

For complaints regarding the construction, call Bill Simmons at the Spectra Landowners’ Hotline number: 866-871-0356. You may call this number 24 hours a day.

After some 15 months at this, it appears that my usefulness as liaison to the Mayor’s office and the Office of Neighborhood Services has run its course. As you know, I have been trying to get information or action on the following matters for some weeks: what the Mayor meant in his letter published several weeks ago in the Transcript when he wrote that although deciding not to appeal the eminent domain ruling, he “will continue to fight [the pipeline] in other ways”; asking the City to inform Judge Young about the water main break caused by Spectra and their subsequent refusal to immediately repair the damage; information about what mitigation talks are taking place; and our attempts along with our local elected officials to facilitate a community meeting with various City departments such as the Boston Police and Boston Transportation so that information could be shared with residents as to what to expect during construction. Absent responses from Chris Rusk or Jerome Smith on any of these matters, I am assuming that they plan to disseminate information to the community in some other way.

Finally, please remember to cast your votes on Tuesday.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

October 21, 2015

Dear all,

My apologies in advance for the length of this e-mail; there are a number of things to cover.

Since the publication two weeks ago of the Mayor’s letter in the Transcript titled “Fight Against the Pipeline,” I have been asking, with the help of our local elected officials, for more information about what Mayor Walsh meant when he wrote there: “We may not be appealing in court, but we will continue to fight in other ways.” We would very much like to know specifics about what ways he is referencing or determine whether this was just rhetoric. Unfortunately Jerome Smith, the appointed point person for the WRL, has not returned calls or responded to e-mails asking for details about this statement; and Chris Rusk, our Neighborhood Liaison, who works for Jerome Smith, said that he could not speculate at this time on what Mayor Walsh meant. If we learn more, we will pass along the information.

In addition, I have been asking the City what is happening in regard to mitigation talks, which we were told many weeks ago would take place. All I have been told is that the City’s Legal Department is engaging Spectra in mitigation talks for the land that has been taken and is also pushing for community involvement and input into the design of the M&R Station. Beyond that, to date I have been given no further details.

Many of you have no doubt heard that yesterday evening while excavating the pipeline site just north of the Dedham line on Washington Street in West Roxbury, Spectra’s contractors ruptured a water main. Bond Brothers, Spectra’s contractor, was asked by the City to repair the rupture at once, but they moved with no sense of urgency. Consequently, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) came in and rerouted the line so that water was restored to the affected residents. At some point later, Bond Brothers completed the repairs on the damaged pipes, under the scrutiny of BWSC and with the assistance of materials supplied by BWSC. Perhaps needless to say, we hope the Mayor will take note of the lack of coordination and cooperation between Spectra and their contractors and the City of Boston services, cooperation that supposedly is required by the judge’s order giving Specra eminent domain over City streets. The judge should be made aware that the stipulations in his second order are not being met. And it is precisely this kind of error of cutting through a water pipe that presumably would have been avoided if Spectra had been required to go through the City’s Public Improvement Commission’s (PIC) process and fulfill requirements of the permitting process rather than being granted property rights and the ability to bypass these steps by the judge, removing the City’s jurisdiction over the stretches of street on which Spectra is building their pipeline.

A number of people have noted the fact that the metal plates that cover the trenches dug for the pipes are not being appropriately bolted down when work is not under way, and therefore, these plates are creating a great deal of noise as traffic rolls over them. Complaints have been filed with the Spectra hotline, and I have written to Jerome Smith and Chris Rusk about this issue in the hope that they can pursue it. However, to date I do not believe this matter has been addressed, either by Spectra or by the City. If you are affected by this noise now or as the construction moves forward, please be sure to call Bill Simmons at the Spectra Landowners’ Hotline number: 866-871-0356. Be sure to call this number, day or night, with any and all complaints pertaining to construction.

As promised previously, here are the links to the two most recent Weekly Compliance Reports filed by Spectra with FERC, as required, which both posted on the docket on Oct. 13 even though they are supposed to post weekly. You will note that there are specific sections about the timing and location of construction in West Roxbury and that all complaints are meant to be on record herein. If you have called the hotline and your complaint related to construction is not listed here, please let me know.
Week 18 (for the week ending Sept. 25):  http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151009-5278
Week 19 (for the week ending Oct. 2):  http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20151013-5626

Finally, we are working with Councilor O’Malley and Rep. Coppinger to try to facilitate a community meeting with members of the relevant City departments (Boston Transportation Department, Department of Public Works, Boston Police Department, for example) to have a conversation with them to help us understand more about the construction process and what we might expect. Even though the City departments have little or no jurisdiction over the construction, it still might be useful for the community to be able to learn more and ask questions. We will keep you apprised if this moves forward.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

October 1, 2015

Dear all,

As most of you know, construction of the West Roxbury Lateral began on Washington Street in West Roxbury on Tuesday. Here is the official statement from the Spectra spokesperson, Marylee Hanley: “Algonquin Gas Transmission is beginning construction today, September 29, along a portion of Washington Street in West Roxbury starting from the Dedham town line and working toward Grove Street. The work is planned to occur each week, Monday through Saturday, and will continue until the effective date for the winter moratorium for street work.” For a detailed description of how the construction will proceed (also from Ms. Hanley), please see the end of this e-mail.

My understanding was that abutters to the WRL route were to receive notification of the start of construction by mail prior to that start. To date, I have not heard of anyone receiving such a letter. If you have received such a letter, would you please e-mail me?

Prior to the start of construction, the community was also meant to be given a landowners’ hotline number to call in the event of any issues, violations, concerns, or problems during construction. I have been trying to obtain this number since Sept. 29 and finally did so today. It is toll free. The number was out of order this morning but appeared to be back in operation this afternoon.

Spectra Landowners’ Hotline number: 866-871-0356

You can call this number 24 hours a day. If no one answers, leave a message. I believe Spectra states that the problem will be resolved within 48 hours. We shall see. Dedham was assigned a specific person to handle calls at this number, and he was quite good about responding (even if he couldn’t make the problem go away). I have been informed that we will have multiple staff people answering the number during the day and different people on the night shift. I am trying to get Spectra to designate one person to be a supervisor or in charge so that ultimately one person is responsible.

Here is the link to the most recent Weekly Compliance Report: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150930-5067. Spectra is required to file these reports, which run about a week behind as they essentially cover the prior week. We will forward these to you as they are posted to the docket. Among other things, these reports include construction schedules for various portions of the route and also are meant to include complaints made and their resolutions. If you call with a complaint and do not see it appear on the Weekly Compliance Report the following week, please notify me.

FERC can also be called. Here is various contact information; I believe Marcia Lurensky will be at the other end regardless of which number or method you choose. Leave a message if no one answers.

FERC Landowners’ Helpline number: 877-337-2237 (toll free)
E-mail: LandownerHelp@ferc.gov
FERC Enforcement Hotline number: 888-899-8030 (toll free)
marcia.lurensky@ferc.gov or her office number: 202-502-7313

Finally, FERC has a Dispute Resolution helpline number: 844-238-1560 (toll free).

You can also go to the construction work site and tell one of the police detail that you want to speak to the Spectra person on site who is in charge. (I have generally found the police to be very sympathetic to our cause, which they offer without my asking.) I was there today to find out our hotline number, and I spoke with the Senior Right-of-Way Agent, Greg Butler. Interestingly, he mentioned that they are very short-staffed, which is why we won’t be assigned a single person to answer the hotline, and also that gas would not be turned on in the WRL pipes until 2017. This is very curious, as Spectra has said all along that their schedule is driven by their commitment to National Grid to supply gas by November 2016. But as we know, it is so difficult to believe anything that these companies say.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

From Spectra on 10/1/15:
Algonquin Gas Transmission’s construction in West Roxbury is beginning along a portion of Washington Street starting at the Dedham town line and working toward Grove Street. The work is planned to occur each week, Monday through Saturday, and will continue until the effective date for the winter moratorium for street work. Pipeline construction will start again in the spring of 2016 and continue into late fall.
 
For in street construction in West Roxbury, the work area will move along the street as the pipeline installation advances.
Here is an overview of the construction process:

 
Traffic control devices are installed, and traffic is managed around the construction area in coordination with the Boston Police Department. Pavement over the trench is cut, removed, and properly disposed prior to excavation of the trench. The trench is excavated using a backhoe. Excavation of the trench proceeds ahead of the pipe installation so the contractor may assess existing utilities that have to be crossed and make vertical or horizontal adjustments in the alignment of the pipeline.
 
The pipe is installed in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. The pipe joints are welded together, and each weld is visually inspected and radiographed. Radiographs are processed on-site to ensure the integrity of every weld. Specialized epoxy coating is applied to each of the weld joint areas after the radiographic inspection is completed and the weld is approved.

 

 
The trench is then backfilled, and “Gas Pipeline” warning ribbon is placed 18 inches below the pavement.
 
To ensure public safety, no trench is left unprotected overnight. The open trench is either backfilled as the pipe is installed or covered with steel plates. Only a portion of the pipeline trench will be open in advance of pipeline installation and that portion will be plated.
 
Once the trench line is backfilled, the contractor installs and maintains a temporary patch in those areas. Final paving will be completed based on the timing of the winter street construction moratorium and the availability of asphalt. Final paving may have to be accomplished the year following pipeline construction to allow for these timing factors and the potential settlement of the trench line in the road surface.
 
As required by the U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), flush mounted pipeline markers will be placed identifying the presence of a pipeline below the surface of the pavement.

 

September 28, 2015

Dear all,

I have just received word from the City that Judge Young’s second order has been filed (it is attached) and that as far as the City understands, Spectra can begin work tomorrow. If they can, there is little doubt that that they will. They have been poised and ready to do so for some days.

We will be forwarding information about what number(s) to call with complaints about construction violations and hindrances. We will also begin to forward the Weekly Compliance Reports that Spectra is required to file, which contain schedule information, other details, and are meant to also list every complaint received. As we enter the construction phase, it is important for us to continue to be vigilant, and for our part we will try to understand the attached order fully in an attempt to determine what rights remain with Boston and what compliance is expected from Spectra, as well as what recourse the City has if Spectra fails to honor the order as written.

Meantime, thank you to all who came to the rally and march yesterday and thanks especially to all of those involved in organizing it. Here is the link to the Globe article, which rather understates the attendance, which was more like 250 to 300: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/09/27/activists-rally-against-west-roxbury-gas-pipeline-extension/nQv6Qrh5mijD2Mn6bQFhyK/story.html.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

JudgeYoung’s Order Algonquin

 

September 23, 2015

Dear all,

Last evening we learned that Mayor Walsh, on advice of counsel, has decided not to pursue an appeal of the judge’s recent decision to grant Spectra eminent domain to take our streets to build their West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. It does not appear that the City will pursue any other legal measures available at this time either. Of course I expressed our extreme disappointment that Mayor Walsh elected not to exhaust all legal means available to stop construction of the WRL on the community’s behalf, even as we are grateful that he has taken steps to get this far.

The City will now enter into talks about mitigation with Spectra, although what form these will take was unclear and how to hold Spectra to any commitments they might agree to is also unclear. I was told that the mitigation talks are meant to include the design of the M&R Station on the site across from the quarry.

The information provided last night did not include whether the second hearing order has yet been filed by the judge. As we know, Judge Young deemed that construction was not begin until that order—which will include details about the cooperation Spectra is supposed to give the City during the construction phase—has been filed. It is my hope that we will receive information soon about what is happening in regard to this order and its timing and that we will be supplied with a copy of that order when it is filed so that it can be shared with the community.

It is very sad to have to convey to all of you the news about the City’s decision not to appeal. The judge explicitly stated in the hearing on Sept. 10 that the appeal option existed. We have not been given details about the reasoning behind counsel’s advice, but we can speculate that it was determined that the prospects of winning were not favorable.

As always, we will pass along further information as we learn it.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

September 22, 2015

Dear all,

Attached please find the court reporter’s transcript of the federal hearing held the morning of Sept. 10 between Spectra and the City of Boston, when Judge Young granted Spectra eminent domain over the West Roxbury streets in order to build their West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. You may find it interesting to read; you will certainly find it frustrating.

(Note: even though the title page of the transcript calls this a preliminary injunction hearing, two days earlier at a preceding hearing both parties agreed to conflate the preliminary injunction and the trial on the merits, and consequently, the 9/10 hearing was not actually preliminary but final.)

Please remember: This Sunday, Sept. 27, rally and march against the WRL pipeline, 2 pm, Billings Field in West Roxbury. For more information, here is the link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/429857630547805/.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

HearingTranscript15cv12870-wgy.algonquin.tn.prelim-inj.09-10-15

 

September 18, 2015

Dear all,

I apologize for two e-mails today back to back. In short order (less than 24 hours), FERC has already granted Spectra permission to proceed with construction on the West Roxbury portion of the WRL pipeline. It is amazing how quickly bureaucracy can move when motivated.

http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150918-3028

Technically, Spectra now has permission to proceed with construction at any time. However, as we reported last week in the summary of Thursday’s hearing with Judge William Young, the judge stipulated that even though he would expedite Spectra’s receipt of their permission to proceed from FERC by writing a “fast and dirty” (his words) order giving Spectra eminent domain, Spectra was under no circumstances to begin any construction until Judge Young files a second order, in which he would include various conditions about how Spectra was to cooperate with the City in terms of following construction protocols. We have been unable to confirm that the judge has any authority to keep Spectra from starting construction once permission to proceed has been granted by FERC, but because of this “second order” the judge says he is going to file, there remains a chance that construction will not immediately commence. Our understanding is that the City’s outside counsel is working with the judge and Spectra on the language to be included in this second order, but we have received no firsthand information regarding the writing or filing of that order from the City. We will keep trying to get such an update.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

September 18, 2015

Dear all,

Although it has been entirely expected, I am very sorry to report that yesterday Spectra filed its request for a Notice to Proceed with construction on the West Roxbury portion of the WRL pipeline. This request appeared on the docket today (link below). Also fully expected is that FERC will grant approval of this request by Monday. I have been told by FERC’s project manager for the AIM project that Spectra is allowed to begin construction on the same day the approval is issued.

http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150918-5015

We have been doing our best to learn what the City’s plans are in regard to this fight. At this writing, all I have been told is that they would inform me of their decision to appeal or not to appeal or to take any other measures “as soon as possible.” Since it is now more than a week since the federal judge’s decision last Thursday to grant Spectra eminent domain to take Boston’s streets for their pipeline project in spite of the City’s objections and since Spectra has now filed for its Notice to Proceed, it is difficult to feel optimistic that we will see an appeal from the City. However, if we learn otherwise, I will let you know.

In the meantime, please note that a rally is planned for Sunday, Sept. 27, at Billings Field (on LaGrange St. between Centre St. and Sturges Rd., W Rox), organized by a consortium of anti-pipeline groups. The rally begins at 2 pm. Here is a link to the rally’s event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1150026601678379/.

It is very difficult for us all to face the day when we will see construction on this dangerous and appalling project begin in our midst, in spite of garnering the support over the past year of every single elected official of whom we are constituents to object to the location of this high-pressure natural gas line. If even they are powerless in the face of big energy/big money interests, it does make one wonder if there was anything more we could possibly have done to avoid getting to this point. And it is appalling that a public utility monopoly like National Grid initiates, supports, and encourages projects like the WRL.

This whole experience makes it that much more important that we all stay engaged in issues of energy policy for Boston, Massachusetts, and New England.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

September 15, 2015

Dear all,

We are still awaiting word as to whether the City will opt to appeal Judge Young’s decision last week to grant Spectra eminent domain to take the streets in West Roxbury they need in order to continue construction of their West Roxbury Lateral. Our understanding is that the City is currently considering this and potential other options.

A number of people have asked if we have a copy of the court’s decision from last Thursday. As of this afternoon, the City’s outside counsel informed me that, for now, the transcript of the hearing constitutes the order. A transcript can be purchased from the court reporter only by sending a check for $57.60 to him; then he will send a PDF. We are considering obtaining this transcript, and we will make it available to you if we do. If you wish to purchase it yourself, let me know, and I will send the you court recorder’s contact information and other details in order to obtain it.

Finally, I wanted to make sure you all are aware of an important City Council hearing this coming Monday, Sept. 21, at 3 pm, on the gas leaks crisis in Boston. At this hearing the Boston City Council will hear testimony on the leaks: why it is happening, who is responsible, and what to do about it. Please attend this hearing if at all possible so that we can show by our turnout that we want the City to push National Grid and the Department of Public Utilities to stop the leaks now, not ten or twenty years from now. Our thanks to Councilor O’Malley for sponsoring this hearing.

Hearing: Boston’s Gas Leaks Crisis
When: Monday, Sept. 21, at 3 pm
Where: Boston City Hall, 5th Floor City Council Chambers

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

September 10, 2015

Dear all,

This morning, in a hearing that lasted nearly two hours, Judge William Young declared that Spectra has the authority to proceed to take the easements in our streets by eminent domain so that they can build their pipeline. The judge ruled that Spectra does not have to follow the City’s PIC (permitting) process. He declared that Spectra established that the company has a right through the certificate issued by FERC to the immediate taking of an easement. This is the judge’s final determination, as on Tuesday both parties agreed to collapse the preliminary injunction and the trial on the merits of the case and hear this injunction today.

I have many pages of notes from what transpired this morning. There was much back and forth, and one sensed that the judge felt very bound by his duty under the Natural Gas Act and to FERC; he stated, “The national policy is to keep gas flowing and to keep the cost down.” It was painful to hear him say at one point that the residents of West Roxbury, whom he acknowledged would be inconvenienced by the construction, would one day reap the benefits of lower gas prices because of the pipeline installation.

Tom Fitzpatrick, the outside counsel hired by the City, did a terrific job. He argued forcefully but respectfully, and he hit all the points that we would have hoped him to. The judge was simply too concerned with giving Spectra the “immediate action” he said they had requested, so they could get under way with construction of this pipeline the judge obviously deemed to be necessary.

I believe the judge said that the City could not now request a stay (because he would deny it) but could appeal. I do not know on what grounds an appeal might be based or if the City will opt to appeal. More on this if/when I learn it.

So, when will construction in West Roxbury begin? The answer to this is not entirely clear, as the judge did have some concern about the incomplete and weak documents Spectra had submitted describing the easements they were requesting. He listened to Tom when he argued that the City’s concern was that once eminent domain is granted, Spectra has “property rights” to the land (which would not have been granted through the PIC process) and Spectra is, therefore, not required to discuss any aspect of the pipeline construction with the City or cooperate with City entities (Water and Sewer, Transportation, etc.) but can proceed at will and without consultation.  

Consequently, in the judge’s granting of eminent domain, he made it a two-step process. First, there will be a “quick and dirty” (judge’s words) order granting easements that will be prepared and submitted to FERC in the next day or so in order that Spectra can be issued their Notice to Proceed. HOWEVER, the judge said that “no one can construct until a second draft of the order is filed.” The judge will file the second draft only when he feels that “Spectra has done back flips” to include in it every possible detail about what property rights are being conferred; the judge will require the final draft to spell out all details clearly and (I believe) to state that Spectra will cooperate with the City and its pertinent departments. The City’s attorney will be involved in the drafting of this order and have input as well. The judge will determine and write all of the final wording based on what is provided to him by Spectra and Tom. The judge says he will do this “quickly,” as he is aware of Spectra’s request to start construction in West Roxbury by September 21. No exact time frame was put on this document, however, and the judge said several times that no construction was to begin until the second draft of the order was filed.

The City will receive a still-to-be-determined amount of compensation for the easements. The judge wanted to have a hearing to decide that amount right away and before filing the order, but Spectra was adamant about putting this off (obviously not wanting any discussions to delay start of construction). In the end, Spectra offered to post a bond for twice the amount originally specified, I believe they said, and Tom agreed to this. Both parties agreed to negotiate the sum at some later date. (I couldn’t hear clearly what they said for the amount of the bond, but I think it was $1.2 million.)

This would seem to be an end to a long road for so many of us. I couldn’t be more sorry about this turn of events. As we all have known for many months, the cards are all stacked in favor of the energy companies who do this kind of business; they have all the power and even a municipality the size of Boston has none. Today’s proceedings just bear this out. If we learn of any new developments or actions the City feels it can take, we will let you know. And as we find out the construction schedule, we will do the same.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

September 8, 2015

Dear all,

This morning a federal judge held a hearing in regard to Spectra’s recent request for an injunction to allow them to immediately begin construction of the West Roxbury portion of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline (construction is already under way in Westwood and Dedham). After agreeing to make a judgment and asking the attorneys to take a break and return at 11:30 for the actual hearing, the judge then resumed the second portion of the session by stating that “we all know we need more natural gas but we should take into account placing the pipeline in a densely populated area of the City” and therefore respect the City’s processes. However, not long afterward, having heard a bit from both Spectra’s attorneys and the outside counsel hired by the City, Tom Fitzpatrick (primarily about whether Spectra can jump right to eminent domain or needs to go through the City’s permitting process), the judge called the attorneys up to a sidebar, stating “there is no need for this to be in the general record.” After 10 minutes or so of sidebar consultation, the attorneys sat down, and the judge announced that the hearing would be postponed until Thursday (9/10) at 9:30 am and that if the two parties came to a resolution between now and that time that, he should be so apprised.

We can only speculate that—in the same vein as the Tom Brady case—the judge told the two sides to go away and “work it out” and come back with a resolution. However, he seems prepared to make a ruling on Thursday if this does not occur. The basic issue is whether Spectra has the right to simply take the space they need in the three West Roxbury streets (Washington, Grove, and Centre) through “condemnation” and move ahead with construction once suitable payment is agreed upon or whether Spectra needs to make a good faith effort first to acquire permits (such as street openings) from the City, as would be required of any entity pursuing development in the City.

I have attached the City’s opposition to the motion Spectra filed for an injunction as it is excellent reading that I can almost guarantee you will appreciate if you take the time to even scan it. (I also attach Spectra’s filing, but it contains far less entertaining language.) We can only hope that on Thursday Tom Fitzpatrick will have the opportunity to argue the City’s points in person before the judge simply moves ahead with granting Spectra permission to take our town’s streets for their pipeline.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

Opposition To Motion For Preliminary Injunction
SpectraPreliminaryInjunctionMotion

 

September 2, 2015

Dear all,

One year to the day that WRSE first learned that a high-pressure natural gas pipeline was proposed for the Grove area of West Roxbury (Sept. 2, 2014, was the date of the Spectra “Open House” at the Elks), we have the latest development in the battle between the City of Boston, representing the residents, and Spectra Energy in regard to the location of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline in this densely populated neighborhood and adjacent to the blasting quarry. Yesterday Spectra filed an injunction in federal court requesting they be given immediate access to Washington, Grove, and Centre streets in West Roxbury in order to begin construction of the WRL pipeline and its Metering & Regulating Station. Today the City has filed its response, asking the court to deny Spectra’s motion for this injunction. A hearing date has already been set: this case will be heard this coming Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 10 am, in the District Court, Courtroom 18, in the Federal Courthouse in the Seaport.

In its opposition to Spectra’s injunction, the City continues to state that it is critical for Spectra to comply with the same processes that any entity would need to follow when pursuing development within Boston. Spectra continues to attempt to circumvent the appropriate processes, this being their latest effort. One possible interpretation is that Spectra was worried about waiting until the hearing already scheduled for Sept. 22 in federal court, at which point a judge would rule on Spectra’s request filed July 1 to take the rights of way in our streets via eminent domain, a request that was opposed by the City on July 22. One can only assume that Spectra’s team of lawyers felt that Spectra’s chances of succeeding on Sept. 22 were limited. Thus, yesterday’s most recent end-run attempt around the process.

We have been told that the City believes Spectra wishes to force them to negotiate a price for the rights of way. (You may recall that just prior to filing the eminent domain suit, Spectra offered Boston $600,000 for easements and threatened to take the rights of way by eminent domain if Boston did not take the money.) We have been assured that the City has no interest in taking Spectra’s money; the only point on which the City will negotiate with Spectra is in regard to the location of the WRL. If Spectra wishes to negotiate, the City will ask that the WRL be relocated away from the quarry and out of any residential neighborhood.

Part of the City’s filing of opposition to the injunction that was submitted to Judge William G. Young, who will be conducting the hearing on Tuesday, was a video made by the attorneys hired by the City of the proposed route of the West Roxbury Lateral and site of the M&R Station. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we commend these attorneys for taking the initiative to illustrate the density of the neighborhood; the proximity of homes to the street; the hilly, curvy nature of the streets; and the location of the quarry vis-a-vis the site of the M&R Station and the high-pressure line for the judge.

Today’s press release about the latest legal filings included this quote from Congressman Lynch, among others: “I give credit to Mayor Walsh and his administration for their continued legal action to protect the people of West Roxbury . . . The federal, state, and local elected officials from West Roxbury remain united in stopping Algonquin [Spectra] from proceeding as the proposed alignment of the pipeline is a threat to public safety.”

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

July 24, 2015

Dear all,

Here is the summary I just received from the City in regard to this week’s legal filings in response to the Spectra’s July 1 law suit to take the rights of way in West Roxbury via eminent domain so they can built the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline:

“On July 1, Algonquin Gas Transmissions, LLC (Algonquin) filed an action in federal court to take easements in Washington, Grove and Centre Streets in West Roxbury so that Algonquin could commence excavation and installation of its gas transmission line. The grounds for this extraordinary action were that it was unable to ‘acquire the necessary easements’ from the Public Improvement Commission.
“Yesterday, Wednesday, July 22, the City filed its opposition to the taking. The City opposes the taking based on the following: the easements that Algonquin seeks are not necessary to install the pipeline; Algonquin did not negotiate in good faith with the City for the acquisition of rights to be under the streets; and the Public Improvement Commission (PIC) process, which results in grants of location for utilities under public ways, is not inconsistent with the National Gas Act or the certificate issued by FERC.
“The City pointed out that Algonquin had started but never completed the PIC process, and that there is nothing to prevent it from continuing the process to completion.
“A hearing on the City’s opposition has been scheduled for September 22 in federal court.”

Here is a portion of the press release the City sent out today in regard to the filings (the remainder essentially repeats the above summary):

“It is critical that Algonquin uses the appropriate process for any proposed development in our City,” said Mayor Walsh. “We will continue pursue all avenues to protect the health and safety of the residents of West Roxbury by working together with the community and with our city, state and federal partners to find the best long-term solution in the interest of our residents.”

The proposed pipeline poses public safety concerns because it would be constructed directly across the street from a quarry that uses dynamite on a daily basis.

Statements of Support:

“As a united group, the federal, state and local elected officials from West Roxbury have repeatedly made it painfully clear to Spectra Energy that we believe that the current alignment of the pipeline is a threat to public safety,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “Mayor Walsh, the local elected officials, and I have stated that we will take every legal measure to prevent them from going forward. Mayor Walsh’s filing is an important step towards preventing Algonquin from taking easements in West Roxbury and proceeding with installation of the pipeline.”

“I commend Mayor Walsh and my federal, state, and local colleagues for continuing to listen to our constituents’ apprehensions regarding major aspects of the West Roxbury lateral pipeline project,” said State Senator Mike Rush. “For well over a year, we have been trying to engage with Algonquin to mitigate the potential effects of this project. The actions taken by the city of Boston, and the local delegation, is another step in lending a voice to the concerns of the community.”

“I applaud Mayor Walsh for his response to Algonquin’s absurd request and demand of easements in our West Roxbury neighborhood,” said Representative Ed Coppinger. “Throughout this process Algonquin has tried to do the minimal amount of work required. In this case they have shown that they would like to skirt the process that the City of Boston has in place for such requests. Our elected delegation in West Roxbury made up of our Mayor, our District City Councilor, our State Senator, State Representative and Congressman will continue to listen to our constituency and continue to fight on their behalf.”

“I applaud Mayor Walsh and his administration for their work in ensuring the integrity of the public process. I support the city’s response to the efforts by Alqonquin gas to circumvent the required steps to obtain a grant of location,” said Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, whose district includes the West Roxbury neighborhood. “I am proud to continue to stand firm with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch, Senator Rush and Representative Coppinger in opposition to the pipeline and support the residents of the West Roxbury community.”

There are seven filings in total, so I will not attach those here. However, if you wish to see them, please let me know and I can forward them to you.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

July 23, 2015

Dear all,

On Wednesday of this week, counsel for the City of Boston responded to the law suit filed by Spectra on July 1 to take the rights of way in the West Roxbury streets via eminent domain to build their pipeline, in spite of the fact that Spectra has not properly pursued the City’s permitting process. I hope to be able to share the details of the City’s response as well as more information about the resultant timeline and process sometime tomorrow, once all of the appropriate elected officials have been briefed.

In the meantime, I wanted to make sure that all of you are aware of this Sunday’s shared event with Dedham to show opposition to the WR Lateral pipeline. Here are the details provided to me. Try to attend if you can. If you have any questions about the event, please post them to the “ for more information” Facebook event link below. If you are not on Facebook, you can send questions to me and I will forward them to one of the organizers.

Sunday, July 26, at 4pm—Our Lives on the Line: A Rally and Vigil Against the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline.  Rally at Gonzalez Field in Dedham, 500 High Street. Starting at 4:30, a walk and peaceful vigil at the Dedham–Boston City Line, 5530 Washington Street, West Roxbury, along the path of the proposed pipeline, linking arms.

Worship Along the Pipeline. Prior to the Rally, at 3:00 pm at Gonzalez Park, there will be a “Worship Along the Pipeline” service led by area clergy.  All are welcome.  

For more information, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/1626482794289467/.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: //westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

July 15, 2015

Dear all,

First, thank you to Rachel Poliner for representing WRSE last night at a TV panel discussion about the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) and also pipelines throughout the Northeast that was filmed locally in Dedham. The entire panel was excellent. A taped version of the hour and a half show is available on vimeo here. WRSE and the Dedham Safety Over Profit group prepared a handout for the TV audience that is also available online at WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org. Among other information, the sheet includes a list of a number of action items, as more anti-pipeline groups continue to form and more avenues to protest the WRL are becoming available to our communities. Check the links there and choose one or two areas in which you are comfortable participating.

Several weeks ago the Town of Dedham filed an injunction in federal court for a stay on the construction of the WRL. The hearing was held yesterday morning in Boston, and today the federal judge dismissed the case. The dismissal decision is attached. Despite the ruling, we appreciate Dedham’s highlighting the fundamental problem with a process that lets Spectra proceed with construction of the West Roxbury Lateral with its attendant impacts on the community while FERC refuses to make a ruling in a timely fashion on properly filed Requests for Rehearing from the Town of Dedham, the City of Boston, and many other Intervenors. Construction in Westwood and Dedham continues apace. It has not yet begun in West Roxbury.

As reported previously, Spectra filed suit in federal court against the City of Boston on July 1 to take the rights of way in the West Roxbury streets via eminent domain to build their pipeline, in spite of the fact that Spectra has not properly pursued the City’s permitting process. The City will inform us of their response as soon as it is ready, and we will pass it along; we believe that response will come within the next week.

We continue to inquire of Jerome Smith and others at the City whether there remains any possibility of creating baselines at the site of the WRL and M&R Station in West Roxbury so that conditions may be monitored in a meaningful way both during and after construction. The lack of response from the City on this issue suggests that the hope of engaging a group to create these baselines for the community no longer exists. If we learn otherwise, we will let you know. But in the meantime many months have passed since April 1, when we first asked Mayor Walsh to ensure the creation of these baselines, and of course this is precious time lost that was vital to creating meaningful baselines before the start of construction, as ideally two or three seasons are needed to do so.

Remember to display your red ribbon to show solidarity against Spectra’s WRL; ribbons continue to be available for the taking at Atlas True Value (1871 Centre Street) and Hercules Press (91 Spring Street). They can be placed anywhere in front of your home that is visible from the street.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: http://westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

dedham dismissal

 

July 2, 2015

Dear all,

Shortly after I sent last night’s WR Lateral update, I learned that Spectra had proceeded yesterday to file a lawsuit in federal district court to obtain easements in the West Roxbury streets for the WR Lateral pipeline by way of eminent domain. That filing is attached.

We are awaiting word in regard to how the City plans to respond and will let you know in due course. The City continues to state that Spectra did not file for permits through the PIC process. The easement request by Spectra was made on June 23, per the update I sent last night.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: http://westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

SpectraCondemnationComplaint

 

July 1, 2015

Dear all,

Last week Spectra delivered the attached letter and approximately 20 pages of additional documents to the Boston Department of Public Works (DPW). In the letter, Spectra requests a Grant of Easement so that they can place the WRL pipes in the streets of West Roxbury. You will see in paragraph D that Spectra indicates the appraised value of the easements to be $425,000 and then offers Boston compensation of $600,000, adding that if the offer is not accepted by close of business yesterday, Spectra would immediately begin the process of taking the easements through eminent domain, per the Natural Gas Act.

The City responded today informing Spectra that in order to secure permission to use the streets they—like any other applicant—need to follow the Public Improvement Commission (PIC) process, which includes preparing and submitting plans to various agencies, utility companies, and counsel; providing a full submission package; appearing at PIC for a hearing; and several additional steps. With the letter, the City provided Spectra with a checklist of necessary steps accompanied by a more detailed description of each step. The City noted that initiating the eminent domain action would be premature, as Spectra had not to date fully pursued and completed the PIC process.

We do not yet know a timetable for the PIC process but will pass along this information when we learn more details.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: http://westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

SpectraEasementLetter

 

June 24, 2015

Dear all,

Yesterday Congressman Lynch, Rep. Coppinger, Sen. Rush, and Councilor O’Malley filed the attached request for an emergency stay on the construction of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline with FERC. They did so as representatives of Dedham (Congressman Lynch and Sen. Rush) and representatives of districts that abut  Dedham (Rep. Coppinger and Councilor O’Malley), as construction has begun in Dedham. This is an excellent step, for which we are very appreciative.

I want to correct an error in my last update that many of you noted. When I listed the “Boston Coalition” of Intervenors in the first paragraph, I failed to include District Councilor Matt O’Malley. I hope we all are aware of how involved and supportive Councilor O’Malley has been. He most definitely has Intervenor status; please accept my sincere apologies for this oversight.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: http://westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

LocalOfficialsMotionforStay_6.23.15

 

June 18, 2015

Dear all,

Shortly after I sent yesterday’s update, I received confirmation from Dedham Town Selectman Dennis Teehan that Dedham yesterday filed an injunction in federal court against Spectra in regard to the construction of the WRL pipeline. If anyone wants to see the actual legal documents, please let me know. I have sent them to our elected officials along with the summary below, prepared by Ray Porfilio, for which we are very appreciative. We have no way of assessing whether these arguments will prevail in court, but to Dedham’s credit they are on the record with a cogent request without saying “no pipeline, no way, no how.” They are asking the courts to represent their rights and by extension the rights of their citizens—which is where we wanted to be when we decided to get involved last fall.

Needless to say, this is a major and important step by Dedham. We hope that the Boston Coalition of Intervenors—which includes Congressman Lynch and Mayor Walsh, our four at-large City Councilors, District Councilor Matt O’Malley, Rep. Coppinger, and Sen. Rush—will follow suit.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Compilation of all previous updates sent by us: http://westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

Summary of filings by the Town of Dedham on June 17, 2015
A.  Complaint (7 pages)
This lays out timeline from issuance of Certificate to the present (see supporting documents in the Exhibits) and asks for a Preliminary Injunction ordering FERC to immediately exercise its statutory authority to stay construcion of the WRL to be built in Dedham while FERC considers the Town’s Request for Rehearing.

B.  Motion for Injunction (16 pages) includes also
Memorandum in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction and
Emergency Motion for Scheduling of Hearing
Basis of request is that injunction is needed to preserve meaningful judicial review of FERC process and that such review will be undermined and potential irremediable harm done if construction is allowed to proceed while Request for Rehearing is tolled. The arguments presented include the following:
–Dedham cites the lack of meaningful alternative routes (eg, both those that do and do not include routing through Dedham)
–Cleverly suggests that FERC’s tolling order demonstrates that Town’s contentions are “manifestly meritorious” because FERC themselves have accepted them for consideration and not denied them within the 30 days.
–Importance of judicial intervention supported by a FERC proceeding cited that took over 5 years to complete (meaning that harm would be done from construction and operation while still being considered).
–There is no deadline by which FERC needs to complete its review.
–Establishes that FERC will not be harmed if ordered to stay construction because FERC is vested with the authority to do precisely that; Algonquin may argue their economic interests are being harmed but courts have established that economic harm is remediable and further Algonquin has no legal basis for expectation of approval or action by a certain date.  In contrast Dedham’s harm is non-economic (health and welfare and access to statutorily established judicial review in a meaningful way) and thus not remediable without intervention of the courts.

C.  Exhibits (39 pages)
a.  FERC Order Issuing Certificate dated 3/3/2015
b.  Excerpts from FEIS
c.  Request for Rehearing from Dedham
d.  FERC Order Granting Rehearing for Further Consideration dated 5/1/2015
e.  Spectra Request to Commence Construction dated 6/8/2015
f.   Dedham Opposition to Algonquin’s Request for Authorization to Commence Construction
g.  FERC Partial Notice to Proceed dated 6/11/205

 

June 17, 2015

Dear all,

We are told that construction of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline has begun in both Westwood and Dedham. Both towns have granted all the requested permits and, as we have noted previously, per Spectra’s Implementation Plan posted in March, construction was scheduled to begin June 15 on the 24-inch mainline installation and on upgrades to the Westwood M&R Station. Our understanding is that, to date, Spectra has not requested the permits necessary to begin work in West Roxbury. We have not seen any Request to Proceed on construction in West Roxbury posted on the FERC docket by Spectra.

Recent letters from Congressman Lynch (dated June 12, 2015) and Mayor Walsh (dated June 16, 2015) to the FERC chairman are attached. Congressman Lynch references FERC’s granting of a rehearing, which is not the case. The tolling order is indeed confusing as written, but it simply means that FERC chose not to rule on the many Requests for Rehearing of the AIM project within the 30-day period and is a review of the Rehearing Requests to determine whether FERC will grant or deny a rehearing. It is our understanding that is unlikely that any rehearing will be granted (FERC grants rehearings only 5% of the time), and in the meantime FERC is required to allow Spectra to proceed with construction. The letter from Mayor Walsh makes a similar reference, but again, the tolling order issued in May simply prolongs the process of consideration and promises nothing. We had asked Mayor Walsh and the entire “Boston Coalition” of Intervenors to request a stay on construction from FERC about a week ago, and this letter is the outcome. It is unclear to us why the request for a stay on construction morphed into this letter from the Mayor. It is our belief (but we are checking this with an attorney) that the City cannot file for a stay on construction in federal court unless it has previously asked FERC for a stay and been denied. So it was an important step to get Mayor Walsh and the entire Boston Coalition to request a stay on construction from FERC this week; we are disappointed that that request did not materialize.

I have also attached a letter from the Dedham Town Selectmen to FERC dated June 9, 2015. It explicitly asks for a stay on construction.

Red Ribbons = Reject the Spectra Pipeline. Please place a red ribbon outside your home or business in any location possible. Any red ribbon will fill the bill, but if you do not have a red ribbon for your front yard or porch to show solidarity against the imminent start of construction of the WRL in the Grove area, you may pick one up at either Atlas True Value (1871 Centre Street; in the box inside the front door) or Hercules Press (91 Spring Street; box on the counter). The boxes have recently been replenished. You can also send me an e-mail, and I will drop one at your house. Please spread the word so we can make our dissent as visible as possible. Post photos of your ribbon on the WRL pipeline Facebook page or e-mail them to me.

Reminder: On Monday, June 22, Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale holds its Summer Meeting at 7 pm at the Area E Police Station Community Room (at Holy Name rotary). This meeting will be a Conversation with our At-Large City Councilors on issues of concern to them and to our community. Councilors Pressley, Wu, and Flaherty have confirmed their attendance. Join us!

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

LynchFERC expedited rehearing letter_1

WalshFERC

DedhamSpectra

 

June 2, 2015

Dear all,

As we presented tonight at the Charles River Spring Valley Neighborhood Association meeting, based on several recent communications with Jerome Smith, Chief of Civic Engagement and the City’s the point person on the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) pipeline issue, the following areas are being pursued by the City:

1) Baselines. As we have previously reported, on April 1 we sent a request to Mayor Walsh that the Boston Public Health Commission create baseline measurements at the site of the WRL so that if/when construction begins there can be meaningful monitoring of impacts caused by construction and the pipeline and M&R Station. This request was further buttressed by a City Council resolution introduced by Councilor O’Malley. As we reported after our May meeting with the BPHC, they said they were unable to help us. However, the City is now in conversations with institutions such as Harvard’s School of Public Health to review impacts of the WRL pipeline. This is good news, in spite of the loss of many weeks, when crucial data could have been collected (ideally two seasons are needed in which to capture information before baselines can be created).

2) Permits. The City has a plan in regard to dealing with the permits that Spectra will need before they can begin construction. The City understands that denying the permits outright would mean the federal process would simply override the denials and grant the permits. Consequently, City approvals will be given, but with conditions that Spectra will need to meet attached. We have been advised that this is the best way to proceed, and the City has agreed and intends to proceed in this fashion.

3) Legal options. As we have stated here previously, several legal avenues can be pursued in spite of FERC’s tolling order that removes the option to appeal in federal court at this time. We have been advised that the City’s attorney is considering these options.

In addition, Jerome Smith has indicated that the City wishes to keep the community well informed as the above-outlined steps unfold. Consequently, we have been told that several members of the community will be asked to serve as conduits for disseminating this information, to be provided by the City. We have been asked to be one of the conduits of this information, and we can assure you that as we receive information, we will pass it along to all of you.

Finally, you might be interested to know that as part of the construction process, Spectra is required to issue Weekly Compliance Reports, on which they record what work has been done and where, as well as additional information, including any complaints they have received in regard to the work. The first such Weekly Report was filed on May 29, and the section on complaints (along with much else) is empty. Once work has begun on the WRL, we expect this to cease to be the case. If you would like to see the format of these reports, you can view the first one here: http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150601-5272.

Red Ribbons = Reject the Spectra Pipeline. We have been seeing many red ribbons going up around the community, but we would like to see more. Any red ribbon will fill the bill, but if you do not have a red ribbon for your front yard or porch to show solidarity against the imminent start of construction of the WRL in the Grove area, you may pick one up at either Atlas True Value (1871 Centre Street; in the box inside the front door) or Hercules Press (91 Spring Street; box on the counter). You can also send me an e-mail, and I will drop one at your house. Please spread the word so we can make our dissent as visible as possible. Post photos of your ribbon on the WRL pipeline Facebook page or e-mail them to me.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

May 15, 2015

Dear all,

Thank you to Chris Lange of Senator Warren’s office for forwarding me the attached letter from Senators Warren and Markey, which they sent to FERC Chairman Norman Bay this week. While the letter would have been more timely if sent prior to FERC’s issuing of the tolling order (which forestalls any decision about granting a rehearing as the Senators request), it is significant that the Senators correct an error made in the previous letter they sent to FERC on the community’s behalf by noting that the West Roxbury Lateral and M&R Station are entirely new construction (unlike much of the rest of the AIM project) and therefore should be more demandingly assessed and impacts scrutinized more fully than in the case of replacement pipes. We appreciate the Senators’ decision to join the chorus of requests for a rehearing of the certificate issued for Spectra’s AIM project and wanted to share this letter with all of you.

Red Ribbons = Reject the Spectra Pipeline. Any red ribbon will fill the bill, but if you do not have a red ribbon for your front yard or porch to show solidarity against the imminent start of construction of the WRL in the Grove area, you may pick one up at either Atlas True Value (1871 Centre Street; in the box inside the front door) or Hercules Press (91 Spring Street; box on the counter). You can also send me an e-mail, and I will drop one at your house. Please spread the word so we can make our dissent as visible as possible. Post photos of your ribbon on the WRL pipeline Facebook page or e-mail them to me.

Finally, please save the date for the summer meeting of Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale: Monday, June 22, at 7 pm. We have invited At-Large City Councilors Flaherty, Murphy, Pressley, and Wu to attend to discuss the issues they are working on and so that we can share with them the issues we are concerned about. To learn more about PWRR, visit the FB page: ProgressiveWRoxRoz.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

Warren&Markey2ndFERCletterMay112015

 

May 12, 2015

Dear all,

Apologies for two e-mails in two days; this is a follow-up to yesterday’s. This afternoon Jerome Smith, Mayor Walsh’s Chief of Civic Engagement, called to let me know that the Mayor’s Office, the Legal Department, and he continue to work on several fronts on the community’s behalf against the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. Among these steps is that the City has hired an attorney to explore possible legal options not eliminated by the tolling order. It is my understanding that several potential legal avenues remain, and I passed these suggestions along. Mr. Smith also told me that Spectra has not filed yet for any permits and that we will be told should they do so. It is my understanding that we will continue to be in touch as the City delves into the situation in its current form.

Red Ribbon Update: I have heard from a number of you who have already put out red ribbon, signifying you Reject the Spectra Pipeline, and a number more who promise to do so. If you don’t have red ribbon on hand, AC Moore has a pretty good supply. It is also my plan (hopefully by Thursday) to put a box of ribbons on my front porch so that anyone who needs to can pick up a length. If you need a ribbon, send me an e-mail and I will send you my address. Another option would be for us to identify a local business who supports our cause who would be willing to keep the ribbons there for anyone who comes in requesting one. If you have a business to suggest, particularly one that is along the WRL route, please let me know.

Finally, many thanks to Rachel Poliner, who so ably represented WRSE last night at a forum held at the Theodore Parker Church on the subject of gas pipelines generally and the WRL pipeline specifically. We are very grateful to Rachel for her time and effort.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox (general) and #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos)

 

May 11, 2015

Dear all,

With construction scheduled to begin next month on the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) pipeline and later in the summer on the M&R Station across from the quarry, we would like to propose a symbolic action to demonstrate our solidarity against building this high-pressure line in the midst of the Grove Street neighborhood. We would like to get as many residents and businesses in West Roxbury as possible to display a red ribbon to show opposition to the WRL as currently proposed by Spectra. Please make it as wide and as red as possible, but the important thing is to make some kind of red ribbon visible: on a tree or fence or bush or put a stick in the ground in your front yard and tie it to that. Red is for Reject the Spectra Pipeline. Help us make a statement that is visible and ubiquitous.

Last week FERC’s project manager confirmed for me that there is no deadline by which FERC is required to lift the “tolling order” issued on Friday, May 1, that places opponents of Spectra’s AIM project (which includes the WR Lateral pipeline) in limbo because opponents are unable to appeal the project in federal court while the tolling order is in effect. With no deadline, FERC is under no obligation to ever lift the tolling order and issue a response to the Requests for Rehearing that were filed on April 2. Meanwhile, as I stated in my last update, while the tolling order is in effect, FERC is required to grant permission to Spectra to proceed with construction “at their own risk.”

In light of this information, last week I sent the following e-mail to Jerome Smith, Chief of Civic Engagement for the Mayor, whom I understand is now the Mayor’s “point person” for the WRL pipeline issue. The e-mail also went to Rep. Coppinger, Councilors O’Malley and Wu, and the Mayor’s generic e-mail address. Both Councilor O’Malley and Councilor Wu have made calls to Jerome Smith to follow up on the information in this e-mail. To date I know of no response, nor have I had any response from Jerome Smith.

Dear Elected Officials and Mr. Smith,

I have just received confirmation from the FERC project manager of Spectra’s AIM project (of which the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline is a part) that there is no statutory timeline after issuing a tolling order in which FERC is required to issue the rehearing order (i.e., respond to the Requests for Rehearing that were filed April 2). This is as we suspected, as in previous instances when FERC has issued tolling orders, they have gone on for months and in some cases have never been lifted.

In the meantime, Spectra will be proceeding full steam ahead with their construction plans, as FERC is required to issue them permission to proceed while the tolling order is in effect.

Please note that this means Congressman Lynch and Mayor Walsh may never have an opportunity to bring a federal appeal as they have declared they would do because such an appeal is not possible while the tolling order is in effect (there is nothing to appeal until the Requests for Rehearing are denied; if they are never denied by lifting the tolling order, then no appeal can be brought).

If the Congressman and Mayor are serious about delaying, stopping, or moving the construction of the WRL site, other legal means must be pursued, and they must be pursued at once, as construction is meant to begin next month. There are options. We have suggestions if either Congressman Lynch or Mayor Walsh or their attorneys are interested. But primarily an attorney familiar with FERC must be hired immediately for any hope of forestalling the imminent construction of the WR Lateral pipeline.

Thank you for your very prompt attention to this matter.

Please display a red ribbon to show your opposition to the WRL. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Blanket West Roxbury in red to show our rejection of this high-pressure line near residences and schools and a nursing home and a blasting quarry.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

May 1, 2015

Dear all,

Just within the 30-day deadline, today FERC issued a “tolling order” (PDF attached) in response to the Requests for Rehearing that were filed on the AIM project April 2. On the surface, this two-paragraph document might appear to be straightforward and to bear good news, as it states that FERC needs more time to review the Requests. But after conversations with a number of people today, including FERC’s project manager for the AIM project, it is clear that the implications of this document are complex and probably are not helpful to our cause.

1) The tolling order essentially stops the clock—but only for us. Because no denial has been issued, Congressman Lynch, Mayor Walsh, et al. are blocked from pursuing a legal case against the WRL in federal court. For as long as the tolling order is in effect, opponents to the project remain in a kind of limbo.

2) Spectra, on the other hand, may proceed with placing work-order requests on the docket (as they have been doing for the past couple of weeks), asking permission to begin various phases of construction and other activities, and FERC is required to grant Spectra permission to start construction. FERC “has to operate under the circumstances as if the project has been approved unless Spectra has not complied with all conditions” related to the work orders (quotes here and next graph from the project manager).

Consequently, for as long as the tolling order is in place, any obvious options for stopping the construction (legal recourse in a federal court) have been removed from opponents to the project, while Spectra is fully able to proceed. The only caveat for Spectra: they do so “at their own risk.” If ultimately the project were to be overturned, Spectra would have to “put everything back the way it was.”

So, for how long could this tolling order be in place? Somewhat amazingly, the project manager isn’t sure if there is a deadline statutorily required; she is checking and will get back to me. But her recent tolling-order cases lasted on average four or five months. Anecdotally, I have been told of instances where they lasted two years.

That leaves us hoping that FERC is seriously considering the Requests for Rehearing and scrutinizing the points made therein against this project’s proceeding and that FERC is not simply using this device of the “tolling order” to block opponents from being able to go to federal court to launch an appeal and fight the project. I will leave it to each of you to hazard a guess as to which it is.

Meantime, we will continue to look for other ways to take action against Spectra’s beginning construction on the WRL. One or two ideas have been suggested, and we are making an effort to pursue them.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

TollingOrderAIM

 

April 30, 2015

Dear all,

Congratulations and thanks to Councilor O’Malley, after consultation with the folks from SWRL, on writing and passing unanimously a nonbinding resolution in the City Council yesterday that requests baselines be established at the site of the WRL pipeline by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Energy and also asking that the City not grant permits at the construction location until questions and concerns are met. You can read the resolution, which is attached, and you can watch the Council hearing here; it begins at about the 1 hour mark: http://www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/cc_video_library.asp?id=9797. It is a pleasure to hear the entire City Council agreeing to sign on to this resolution, and likely you will appreciate not only Councilor O’Malley’s remarks at the hearing but those by Councilor Wu and others as well if you watch the video.

Ironically, just minutes after the resolution was passed, Ray Porfilio, Mary Ellen McMahon (as a direct abutter), and I met with four department heads at the BPHC in regard to our request to Mayor Walsh dated April 1 (previously sent in an earlier update) to create these baselines, and they essentially spent the hour telling us all the reasons they cannot create them. It was a discouraging meeting. Equally discouraging was our conference call this morning with the chief of Environment and Energy, in which he essentially conveyed the same response, although with somewhat more willingness to look into the issue of mechanisms through which the City might slow down permitting approvals (asking us to follow up with information regarding this that we can learn from attorneys we are consulting).

As many of you know, the 30-day time period following the April 2 deadline to file Requests for Rehearing of FERC ends this weekend. We assume that means that if there is no response from FERC by Monday, the Requests are automatically denied, according to FERC’s rules (they are not required to respond). Consequently, we have been actively attempting to get Mayor Walsh or Congressman Lynch to jump start the legal process for an injunction, stay, or other course of action now, as opposed to waiting until next week, by which point Spectra will be off and running. We have not had much luck learning whether such legal action is under way or not, but we will keep trying to determine this.

As noted in my last update, FERC has already issued some documents during this 30-day waiting period that allow work by Spectra to proceed on various portions of the AIM project, in New York and also at the Dedham yard. This is within their purview and certainly doesn’t suggest much reason to hope that a Rehearing will be granted, as we have already pointed out.

Our hopes continue to lie with Congressman Lynch and Mayor Walsh and their previously stated commitment to take legal action to stop the WRL pipeline from being built at the current proposed location.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

CityCouncilPipelineResolution

 

April 23, 2015

Dear all,

We are a little bit more than mid way through the 30-day period following the filing deadline of the Requests for Rehearing from any intervenors wishing to ask FERC to reconsider the issuance of their certificate to Spectra to commence work on the AIM project. Within the last week FERC has already begun issuing documents stating that various pieces of work may go ahead and begin along the route of AIM (but none related to the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline proposal so far), which apparently FERC is allowed to do. In addition, last week Spectra/Algonquin posted to the docket their response to several of the Requests for Rehearing; I attach the PDF of that document. It comes as no surprise that for each point they state that FERC has done the appropriate due diligence and met all requirements. It will be equally unsurprising if we see much of the language from Spectra’s document repeated in any response that might be issued by FERC within the 30 days (although no response by FERC is required, at which point the Requests are denied, as I stated in my last update).

We continue to pursue our request that the City of Boston create baselines for the WRL pipeline area in regard to traffic, safety, and air quality and that this be done immediately, before construction begins. Otherwise, monitoring of that location will be meaningless without previously established baselines. The West Roxbury liaison for the Mayor’s Office, Chris Rusk, has put us in touch with the Boston Public Health Department and the City’s Department of the Environment, Energy, and Open Space. Other community members/WRSE have scheduled conversations with both next week on this topic. At this point it is unclear to us which of the two departments should or can take responsibility for creating baselines, but we will continue to push for this work to be accomplished in the eventuality that construction commences.

We have also been trying to indicate to both Congressman Lynch and to the Mayor that it behooves them to not wait the full 30 days before beginning legal efforts to file for an emergency stay, as construction is slated to begin June 1. Because only 5 percent of Requests for Rehearing are granted by FERC, it remains unlikely theirs will be, and now is the time to be preparing strategy to stop Spectra from building the WRL in its current configuration. We are very much missing Rep. Ed Coppinger, who is recovering from surgery (but is doing well, so far!), as our communication with both of these offices has been so well facilitated by him in the past months. Please send Rep. Coppinger many good thoughts for a speedy recovery!

More to come, when we learn it.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

SpectraAnswertoRequestsforRehearing (CP14-96)

 

April 7, 2015

Dear all,

I have had e-mails from a number of you asking about the timeline for FERC’s response to the Requests for Rehearing that were filed April 2, of which there were ten that I am aware of. (Please find links to those ten at the end of this e-mail; the first two listed are those filed by our elected officials as reported last week and by the Town of Dedham.) Unfortunately the FERC process continues to be unfairly weighted against meaningful public participation: not only does FERC make the determination about whether the Requests raise valid points about the way FERC itself handled the Environmental Impact Study process (why would they deem themselves to have done a poor job?), but we understand that what happens next is that unless the Commission acts upon the Requests for Rehearing within 30 days after the Requests are filed, the Requests are denied.

As we have said previously, we do not expect the Request for Rehearing to be granted, as FERC rarely finds itself to have been at fault in their own proceedings, but it would still be preferable that FERC at least be required to respond to the Requests. Regrettably, this appears not to be the case.

Follow-up on our request of the City to establish baselines of various environmental and safety concerns in the area around the proposed site of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline and M&R Station so that meaningful monitoring of these impacts can occur if the WRL proceeds with construction: We learned today that the West Roxbury liaison for the Mayor, Chris Rusk, will be meeting later this week with the City’s new chief of the Environment, Energy, and Open Space—Austin Blackmon—to discuss our request for the creation of these baselines. In light of this, we have suggested that—as our district city councilor and chair of the Council’s Committee on the Environment and Parks—Councilor O’Malley be included in this meeting as well. We hope this will be possible, and we will let you know the outcome of the meeting.

Finally, I understand that we should look for an OpEd piece on the WRL pipeline by Congressman Lynch in the West Roxbury Transcript.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5135
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5308
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150401-5627
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150401-5718
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5265
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5267
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5274
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5290
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150403-5016
http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150403-4001

 

April 2, 2015

Dear all,

As many of you are aware, today is the date by which all Requests for Rehearing of FERC’s approval of the AIM pipeline, which includes the West Roxbury Lateral, must be filed. I am pleased to report that our elected officials who have intervenor status (thus allowing them to submit such a Request) filed their Request for Rehearing. You can read the “Boston Coalition’s” Request here: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150402-5135. While in our opinion many additional issues could have been covered, the attorney hired by the City to write this Request did address a number of the matters we discussed with him and took into account some of the documents we supplied. Given the short amount of time Mr. Fitzpatrick had to digest a great deal of information and many lengthy documents and then write this Request, we feel he is to be commended for his effort. We are grateful to Mayor Walsh for responding to the community’s urging that this Request be prepared.

Mary Ellen is faithfully posting all of the Requests for Rehearing that are being filed in regard to the AIM project on the Facebook page; you can find links to them at the page titled West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion.

Following up on my conversation with Mayor Walsh in regard to the Boston Public Health Commission’s performing a health and safety review of the proposed location of the West Roxbury Lateral, we again were told that doing such a review was not in the jurisdiction of the BPHC (which is what we were told five months ago when we initially made this request). So yesterday we sent the following request to Mayor Walsh on behalf of WRSE and the community:

We understand that the City does not have jurisdiction to perform a health and safety review of a federal project such as the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. However, because the neighborhood will be impacted by future quarry activities and the building of a high-pressure pipeline and M&R Station, the community deserves that the City use the available opportunity now to establish a baseline for current conditions so there is something to compare to should the pipeline be built in this location and/or the quarry embark on reclamation. This baseline is necessary in regard to traffic, air quality, and safety. Without this baseline, there will be no way to monitor the impacts of the anticipated activity at the quarry and on the route of the pipeline. Creating this baseline is well worth the City’s time, is within the City’s jurisdiction and ability, and would have crucial value to the community. This is particularly important in light of the both young (nearby schools) and elderly (nursing home and many residents) population surrounding the quarry and pipeline route; it is crucial to monitor and be aware of air-quality changes, especially, in light of the nature of the surrounding population. The current report supplied by Spectra in the FEIS does not provide predicted air-quality concentration increases due to construction and operation of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline within an area already in non-attainment of the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and also does not address the extent to which fugitive dust could be an issue beyond the nuisance factor and local deposition impacts. Although mitigation approaches (such as watering things down) might help some, these emissions need to be monitored by the City as they may still lead to releases of finer and inhalable dust particles; these fine particles could also contain metals and organic contaminants in soil which may result in allergic or reparatory symptoms among the nearby sensitive populations. Again, only by establishing a baseline now, before work commences, can these issues be monitored. We request that the Boston Public Health Commission commence to create a baseline immediately, as construction is imminent.

I was contacted by the Mayor’s Office this morning and told that they would be in touch in regard to this request. We will await word and let you know what response we receive. Our thanks to Rep. Coppinger for facilitating our making this request, which we also conveyed to Councilors O’Malley and Wu.

Our thanks as well to Congressman Lynch, who continues to speak out about the WRL issue and push FERC; he recently had a direct conversation with the chairwoman at a meeting with members of the New England Congressional delegation and expressed to her his concern about the Commission’s approval of AIM and, specifically, the safety impacts of locating the high-pressure pipeline near a blasting quarry.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

March 21, 2015

Dear all,

In my last update I told you that we had unexpectedly been offered funding on March 6 to hire a company to perform an independent health and safety review of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline, a review we have been seeking from the City and state for many months with no cooperation. I realize now, after contacting more than 20 companies since then, that I was naive to believe any company would be willing to take on this job in light of the vast amount of money Spectra and other natural gas transmission and distribution companies spend hiring the very engineering companies who do these studies. Our request was declined by every one that is large enough to perform these reviews on the basis of conflict of interest with Spectra/Algonquin or National Grid. A couple of these companies actually then went to some lengths to put us in touch with others they thought would not have a conflict, and even these additional companies all declined. We went as far afield as speaking with a CEO in Denmark Thursday morning, and even they ultimately declined to assist with a review (it turns out one of their offices is in Houston).

It was suggested to us by several people that we try to get the Engineering or Public Health Departments of one of the local universities to assist with a review. After reaching out to Northeastern, BU, and Harvard, a recently retired EPA environmental health expert was recommended to us via these avenues. In the short time remaining, this expert is reviewing the GZA report in order to give us feedback and raise any questions or flag pertinent issues. We will let you know the results of this review, and we thank Roxbury Latin for its offer to help us fund it, albeit more limited than we had hoped when that offer was initially made.

Monday of this past week, Congressman Lynch and Mayor Walsh met with Attorney General Maura Healey to discuss potential next steps on the WRL. The primary outcome of this meeting is that the elected officials who have intervenor status will be filing a request for a rehearing by April 2, to be prepared by the City’s Law Department. (As we have explained in previous updates, any further action such as an appeal or lawsuit can be taken only if its basis is covered in this request for a rehearing, so every possible issue/allegation/argument must be included in the request.) I was encouraged to receive a call from Mayor Walsh yesterday (facilitated by Rep. Coppinger) in which we discussed how WRSE might help the City’s attorneys frame the arguments in the request for a rehearing since they are new to the issue and time is dwindling. I have also over the past two weeks spent a number of hours talking to attorneys whose expertise is with FERC matters who have generously shared insights even though the cost of our hiring them to write the request for us was prohibitive. Hopefully some of what I have learned will useful, and we of course will help in any way we can. In addition, we will be looking at WRSE and the abutters who have intervenor status being able to sign the City’s request.

In addition, I discussed with Mayor Walsh what it would mean to the community if he would have the Boston Public Health Department review the location of the WRL in light of our being unable to hire a company to do so. I told him about our requests in this regard five months ago, of which he seemed unaware, and he promised he would look into this. The Mayor also said he had called Spectra this past week and again asked them to get back to him with an alternate route for the WRL; he awaits a response. Finally, he and I briefly talked about other potential next steps moving forward.

Thanks to the many of you who responded to my last e-mail with suggestions of engineering companies and attorneys and people in the public and environmental health spheres. We believe we pursued them all and only wish we could have been more successful in hiring a company to do a full review of the WRL and in retaining an affordable attorney.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

March 12. 2015

Dear all,

Late last week we unexpectedly were offered funding for an independent health and safety review of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline proposal. Since then we have contacted numerous environmental engineering firms in an effort to arrange this review, which would need to be completed in the next two weeks. In nearly all cases there was a conflict of interest (because they are on retainer to Spectra/Algonquin or other pipeline company) restraining them from doing our study; a few of them simply do not perform this kind of somewhat-specialized review. We have a few more places to try, but if you have contacts to suggest, please send them to me via a return e-mail as soon as possible, as time is of the essence.

Now that FERC has issued a certificate to Spectra to proceed with the AIM project, it is our belief that the right next step for us is to file a request for a rehearing or to participate with other groups in such a filing. Ideally this request would be written by an attorney familiar with the FERC process, as it needs to be thorough, comprehensive, and include any possible grounds for a later legal appeal. Any issue not cited in the request for a rehearing apparently cannot be raised at a later date. All requests for rehearing are due by April 2. We continue to hope that Congressman Lynch, Mayor Walsh, and our other elected officials who have intervenor status will work with their attorneys to prepare such a request and make the claim that only they can: that they asked Spectra to come up with an alternate route for the WRL and Spectra refused to do so. WRSE has been speaking with an attorney who is local and familiar with the WRL who has good FERC experience about possibly preparing our request for rehearing. If this occurs, we would welcome any abutters who have intervenor status to be signatories on our request as well. If filing a request on our own does not make sense either strategically or financially, we will look to sign on to one being made by other groups from the four states affected by AIM who are coordinating in preparing a request; we would look to represent the issues facing the WRL in that request.

I had hoped to have more specific information for you in regard to all of the above by this point, but it has been slow going with so many leads not panning out. Please be assured that we are pursuing any and all avenues that we can and will continue to do so until time runs out. Stay with us!

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

March 11, 2015

Dear all,

I will be sending an update very soon on the steps we are preparing to take as intervenors in the AIM project in regard to the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. We have been working hard on determining these next steps and how best to go about them, but it is taking a bit of time.

In the meantime, I hope that a great many of you will call Congressman Lynch’s office and Mayor Walsh’s office and, after thanking them for their support, let them know that the community is counting on them to meet with attorneys immediately to prepare a Request for a Rehearing on the AIM project so that the WR Lateral proposal will be reconsidered. Please remind them that this Request for a Rehearing must be thorough and must be filed no later than April 2, 2015.

Congressman Lynch’s office: 617-428-2000
Jerome Smith, Chief of Civic Engagement, at the Mayor’s Hotline: 617-635-4500

Please call today or tomorrow. Congressman Lynch is out of the country until tomorrow, but he will get word of the number of calls received.

Thank you all for your continued commitment to this effort.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

March 4, 2015

Dear all,

As many of you are aware, FERC issued its certificate of approval for the AIM project yesterday evening. A PDF of that certificate is attached. While the issuance was no surprise, it is still edifying to read through the document and note that at each and every point where a concern was raised by citizens, elected officials, organizations, or businesses throughout four states, FERC has sided with Algonquin/Spectra’s opinion and statements on the matter and have deemed no value or credence to the viewpoint of the objectioner. It is almost painful to read. The sections on the WR quarry (pp.22–23) and WRL property values (pp. 33–34) are cases in point. As before, FERC just cites the GZA Engineering report arranged and paid for by Spectra to represent that it is safe to put the high-pressure pipeline adjacent to the quarry and provides the helpful suggestion regarding home values that homeowners “appeal to local tax agencies for reappraisal and potential reduction of taxes.” You can read the rest for yourself; the tone remains consistent throughout the document—in our opinion arrogant and always dismissive of community concerns, reliant in most part on Spectra’s word for their responses to these concerns.

So, what are the next steps? We remain optimistic that Congressman Lynch and the other elected officials who have been granted intervenor status will work with the Attorney General or other legal entity to file a request for a prehearing, which must be done within the next 30 days. As we understand it, this is essentially a request to revisit the issuance of the certificate. While we have no evidence that FERC has ever actually granted a rehearing, we understand that filing a request for one is a requirement before proceeding with any subsequent steps and that the rehearing request also forms the basis for any appeal in federal court. If you are contacting our elected officials as requested in Mary Ellen’s post on the Facebook page today (see names and contact info there), you might also wholeheartedly thank those officials who have strongly and visibly supported us (in particular, Congressman Lynch, Councilors O’Malley and Wu, and Rep. Coppinger) and urge all of those who have intervenor status to file for a rehearing within the next 30 days and to seek the severance of the WRL from the AIM project via any legal means possible.

In addition, we are contacting lawyers to pursue the possibility of getting help with filing a request for a rehearing on behalf of West Roxbury Saves Energy and the abutters who have also received intervenor status. The more requests for a rehearing, the better. Because this request for a rehearing needs to be comprehensive and cover all of our health and safety concerns about the location of the WRL so as to form a solid basis for any further appeal, it is a major undertaking without a lawyer and funding for one. But we will see what we can do.

We continue to look into the permitting situation, with the help of Councilor O’Malley and Wu’s offices. We have learned that because AIM is a federal project and the federal process supersedes local zoning, Spectra is exempt from the usual requirement of making an application and appearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Nevertheless, we have—through a series of e-mails over the last two days—requested that Spectra voluntarily present its plans for the M&R Station to the board of the West Roxbury Neighborhood Council for questions and comment, as is traditional in West Roxbury for any building project here. While I have yet to receive a commitment that they will do so, this is one portion of the several responses that I received from Spectra in regard to my request: “The Project is committed to getting input concerning ‘plans for the M&R station including planting, fencing…’ and will provide adequate time for such input.” Our hope is that Spectra will make good on this promise, and we will keep you apprised as circumstances develop related to their doing so.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

AIMcertificate

 

February 20, 2015

Dear all,

It is our understanding that the 30-day waiting period that began with the publication in the Federal Register of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for AIM (and, thus, the WR Lateral) concludes Monday, March 2. This means that the certificate to proceed will likely be issued to Spectra between that date and April 23, which marks the end of the 90-day federal decision period that commenced with the issuance of the FEIS.

In light of the fact that the holding period will soon be over, we inquired about Congressman Lynch’s upcoming actions on our behalf. We learned that Congressman Lynch spoke at length yesterday with the Attorney General about the WRL and that the plan is for them to meet with our local elected officials next week to go over next steps and to make a determination about how to proceed, presumably with an injunction, but options are still to be discussed. Hopefully we will be able to update you on the outcome of this meeting next week.

Attached please find a copy of correspondence related to the issue of segmentation that was posted on the docket last week by twelve groups, led by FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas). It is a relatively clear articulation of the larger landscape of which AIM and the WRL are a part and addresses the attempt by Spectra to claim that the AIM, Atlantic Bridge, and Access Northeast projects are separate and unrelated, causing them to be considered separately by FERC rather than cumulatively. However, it is our understanding that Atlantic Bridge and Access Northeast are dependent upon AIM’s being completed and, therefore, Spectra’s claim is a misrepresentation.

Finally, a couple of reminders:
Tuesday, Feb. 24: The West Roxbury Neighborhood Council has invited WRSE to give an update on the pipeline at their meeting; 7:30 pm at the Area E police station.
Wednesday, Feb. 25: You are invited to the launch of Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale, a new chapter of Progressive Mass. The goal of this nascent group is to form an ongoing entity from which to draw immediate support and involvement when an important issue arises, such as the WRL pipeline. This kickoff is at 7 pm, at the Area E police station. For more information, you can e-mail me or ProgressiveWRoxRoz@gmail.com.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

SegmentationcorrespondenceFANG

 

February 12, 2015

Dear all,

As we take a (very short) breather between storms, I have a bit of good news about the WR Lateral. About a week ago Congressman Lynch was a guest on “NightSide with Dan Rea” on WBZ (thank you to Mary Mulvey Jacobson for bringing this to our attention), and much of the second half of the hour was questions from callers. With two minutes left, Dan took one more call, and it was from “Ed” in West Roxbury, asking about what was happening with the WRL. The Congressman’s response was quite good, and it included the information that he had spoken to the Attorney General’s office about bringing an injunction to stop the WRL. You can download the show here, and if you listen to the final two minutes, you can hear the Congressman’s complete response to the question.

Further, at the end of the program, Dan Rea said that he would like to do an entire hour on the WRL and that Congressman Lynch should “drop him a note” about coming back for that. We are in touch with the Congressman’s office in an effort to follow up on this offer.

The West Roxbury Neighborhood Council invited WRSE to give an update on the pipeline situation at their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 pm (the meeting will take place at the Area E police station, at the rotary). We have agreed to be added to the agenda for the 24th and will be speaking at that meeting.

Finally, I wanted to let you all know about an important gathering on Wednesday, Feb. 25. That evening a group of us will be launching a new chapter of Progressive Mass, called Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale (PWRR). While we have been discussing the start of this chapter since before we learned about the WRL, the emergence of this pipeline issue is a perfect example of why a number of us feel we need an ongoing entity from which to draw immediate support and involvement when an important issue arises. Having such a group in place will allow us to raise awareness through instant outreach to the PWRR list, and team building and information gathering for an issue can happen quickly. I have included more information about this kickoff below, and I hope any of you who are interested will join us on the 25th. If you cannot attend but are interested in being involved or learning more, just let me know by responding to this e-mail, and we can keep you informed about upcoming meetings and efforts.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

Join us to launch a new chapter of Progressive Massachusetts
Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale
Grassroots organizing for progressive change every day, not just on election day

Helping to launch our chapter: City Councilor Matt O’Malley and Ben Wright, Executive Director of Progressive Mass

Wednesday evening, February 25, 7:00–8:30 pm
Community Room, Area E Police Station (at the rotary near Holy Name Church)

Being an involved citizen doesn’t stop at campaigning and voting! We’ll be talking about:
—what we can we do after the elections are over and how we can we help promote progressive public policy
—what issues you are you interested in
—what the progressive movement in Massachusetts is all about
—why we are forming a chapter.

On twitter, follow us @ProWRoxRoz

 

January 29, 2015

Dear all,

Please see the attached letter from Senators Warren and Markey and Congressman Lynch to the Chairwoman of FERC which was just forwarded to me by Senator Warren’s office. Our deepest thanks to everyone who has contacted the senators’ offices these past months and, in particular, to Councilor O’Malley for bringing about this much-needed and sought-after involvement from our senators, who have finally joined Congressman Lynch in his ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.

That said, the letter does not go as far as we would have liked. FERC will likely respond that they have heard all considerations and inputs and have not acted rashly. In addition, it is puzzling that in the third paragraph it is stated that the majority of the AIM pipeline facilities replace existing pipelines, etc., when we would have thought they would have emphasized that for the West Roxbury Lateral this is all NEW infrastructure that is being inserted into an existing, densely populated neighborhood.

Nevertheless, we remain grateful for this effort by our elected officials.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

WarrenMarkeyLynchletterJan2015

 

January 27, 2015

Dear all,

While it was a discouraging day for us in the news with the Boston Globe’s editorial encouraging the increase in gas pipelines and the short piece in the Business section, please note that we exchanged a series of e-mails with the reporter who wrote the latter in an effort to point out the following:

1) While we acknowledged he did not write the headline, it nevertheless is in error, as there is no mention of the WR Lateral in the letter from the senators from the other states; they write about the AIM project, and we feel quite certain they have never heard of the WR Lateral.
2) While five senators from other states may have signed this recent letter to FERC in support of AIM (which except for CT does not involve their states), it should be noted that—more importantly—back in April 2014 there were EIGHT senators from other states who wrote such a letter to FERC. So they LOST the support of three senators (the two from RI and one from NH) in the intervening months.
3) How could a piece like this be written with a straight face and fail to mention the silence on the part of our own two senators here in Massachusetts? Did he not even wonder why they have been silent about both AIM and the WRL? Did he even know that we have been contacting our senators for four months, with no response from them?

For anyone interested in reading the two letters from the senators of the other states about AIM, they are attached. Our thanks to Karina Wilkinson for providing the April 2015 letter, since of course we were unaware of the pipeline at that time and, consequently, were not following the docket back in the spring when it was posted.

Following is a link to a document dated January 16, 2015, provided by Courtney Williams on the Facebook page that outlines the process and timing of the remaining FERC application review: https://l.facebook.com/l/yAQGhWZ1W/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fas.org%2Fsgp%2Fcrs%2Fmisc%2FR43138.pdf.
Here are a few of the more pertinent details in this document:
1) FERC cannot issue a decision on the AIM application for at least 30 days after issuing the final EIS
2) Spectra will need all relevant permits before proceeding with construction
3) Intervenors have 30 days after FERC issues the certificate to proceed to request a rehearing (which is a necessary step, as we understand it, before an injunction or law suit can be filed).

Earlier this week the Globe ran an article about the extent of the gas leaks in Boston, which are far more prevalent than previously believed. As many have been asking since we first learned about the West Roxbury Lateral, why couldn’t National Grid just increase its capacity by fixing the leaks instead of spending a billion dollars to bring in a high-pressure gas line that will exist for 40 to 50 years? This article would seem to support that sentiment. We recommend you all write letters to the editor asking why, in light of the Globe’s article, the West Roxbury Lateral could not just be severed from the AIM project and National Grid increase its capacity through gas leak repairs; this would be cheaper and would not saddle our community with a high-pressure line in a densely populated area adjacent to an active quarry. Instructions for sending your letter to the editors of the Globe: Include your name, address, and daytime number. The letter should be 200 or fewer words. E-mail the letter to letter@globe.com or fax to 617-929-2098. You may also mail the letter to: Letters to the Editor, The Boston Globe, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819.

Finally, we hope everyone saw the two letters to the editor last Sunday about the West Roxbury Lateral (as well as the ridiculously huge photograph accompanying it). Thank you to all who sent letters, and to Ray and Sally, in particular, for the ones that were chosen for publication.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

EightSenators

AIMSenateLetter

 

January 24, 2015

Dear all,

FERC issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the AIM project yesterday morning, as expected. You can view it here: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150123-4001. We are in the process of reviewing the responses to the comments that were posted during the comments period, which ended Sept. 29, 2014. FERC states that they continued to read and respond to comments until Oct. 10, 2015, and that after that date no comments posted raised new questions or supplied new information/evidence that had not already been addressed. The comments/responses are in Vol. II of the PDFs. From the first look that we have taken, it appears that FERC’s responses are following Spectra’s party line. For example, for questions on the quarry, FERC refers the commenter to Spectra’s GZA report and states that National Grid already has pipelines near the quarry; for the assertion that true alternate routes have not been considered, FERC states that Spectra has considered alternate routes and refers the commenter to the DEIS. There are over 1,500 pages of comments and responses for the AIM project. You can check the link above for comments you submitted and for FERC’s response(s) to them if you submitted prior to Oct. 10. If you find anything interesting or unexpected, please let me know since this is a lot of material to review.

With the issuance of the Final EIS yesterday, the 90-day federal decision period commences, and Spectra will be issued a certificate to proceed within that 90-day period. Our understanding is that the certificate to proceed can come any time within that period, as soon as next week or as late as April 23, 2015.

As I noted previously, yesterday the local cable TV station Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) interviewed WRSE’s Ray Porfilio and Rep. Ed Coppinger about the West Roxbury Lateral. You can see the interview here: https://vimeo.com/117629052. (This link and links to other media coverage of the WRL are also available at WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org.)We are grateful to Rep. Coppinger for joining us for this interview and to John St. Amand for creating the excellent map of the area with its overlay of nearby schools, the German Centre, etc. that was displayed during the segment.

Today WBUR’s news broadcast made mention of the WRL and the issuance of the FEIS, erroneously stating that it constituted approval of the project to proceed; the short piece also noted that residents are against the pipeline. Rachel Poliner has spoken at length with the reporter at WBUR and, in addition to clarifying that approval has not yet been given by FERC, apprised him of other aspects of the community’s recent history in regard to the WRL. Many thanks to Rachel for contacting WBUR on our behalf today.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

January 22, 2015

Dear all,

At various pipeline meetings many of you will have heard the Dedham Town Selectmen talk about how the Town of Dedham filed a request for “intervenor” status in regard to the AIM project so that they would be able to have special standing to fight the West Roxbury Lateral even after the certificate to proceed is issued to Spectra. This past week, thanks to Karina Wilkinson of Food and Water Watch, we learned that while the regular deadline to file a request for intervenor status was long past (spring 2013), it remains possible to file a motion to intervene “out of time” until tomorrow, the date on which the Final Environment Impact Statement is expected to be issued.

Consequently, this week we have been busy initiating such requests and encouraging many stakeholders to file for intervenor status. I have filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Steering Committee of West Roxbury Saves Energy, and John St. Amand has done the same for his WR organization, Charles River Spring Valley Neighborhood Association. A number of abutters have also filed requests for intervenor status this week, both individually and as a group.

In addition, we asked City Councilors O’Malley and Wu if they would file a request for intervenor status, and the Councilors not only agreed but led the effort (with outstanding assistance from Bill MacGregor and Henry Cohen) to ask the following elected officials to also sign the motion to intervene: Congressman Lynch; Mayor Walsh; Rep. Coppinger; Sen. Rush; and At-Large Councilors Pressley, Murphy, and Flaherty. All of these officials agreed, and all are listed on the motion requesting intervenor status that was filed with FERC just before 5 pm today.

If intervenor status is granted, the intervenor has the right to participate in hearings before FERC’s administrative law judges; file briefs; file for rehearing of a Commission decision; be placed on a service list to receive copies of case-related Commission documents and filings by other intervenors; and has legal standing in a Court of Appeals if he/she challenges the Commission’s final decision.

Yesterday I also filed the attached letter to the FERC docket for AIM asking that the WR Lateral be severed from the AIM project for the reasons listed and sent copies of the letter to the elected officials listed.

As I reported last week, WRSE was invited to interview with Chris Lovett on the cable TV network Boston Neighborhood News. Tomorrow Ray Porfilio and Rep. Coppinger will be holding that interview in the afternoon. BNN has been unable to tell me yet when the segment will air, but I will forward the link to the program to all of you afterward, and it will be posted also.

Tomorrow we will also be watching for the issuance of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. The appendix portion of the FEIS is meant to address the many comments and questions raised on the docket in the past weeks and months. Once the FEIS is issued, the 90-day federal decision period commences, during which FERC is expected to grant Spectra a certificate that allows the company to proceed with building AIM. We understand that this certificate may be issued at any point in that 90-day time frame.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

WRSEtoFERC&Officials

 

January 18, 2015

Dear all,

About two months ago, John St. Amand, Ray Porfilio, and I met with Meghan Irons of the Boston Globe to bring to her attention the issues surrounding the location of the West Roxbury Lateral. Meghan’s fine article ran today, and I copy it below in full if you have not seen it. (It is also available at WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org, including the photos that accompanied it.) Our thanks to Meghan for her hard work and persistence in getting this article to see the light of day.

Now it is important for us to follow up this article with letters to the editor (sending instructions below) so that aspects of this pipeline proposal that could not be covered fully or at all in this single article are highlighted as well. Here are some topics you might consider writing about in your letter, just to make a few suggestions.

1) In the article National Grid representative David Graves is quoted as saying that ““Ninety-eight percent of the residents and businesses in West Roxbury have natural gas.” Question this: 98 percent?!

2) What is the position of Senators Warren and Markey on the location of the WR Lateral?

3) The community and WRSE have repeatedly asked Spectra to provide examples of other locations where they have built Metering & Regulating Stations across the street from active, blasting quarries. They have failed to provide even one example. What does this tell us?

4)  Why aren’t our city and/or state agencies asking for health and safety reviews?  All studies seem to be aligned only with opening gates for the energy companies, not done from the perspective of residents. We asked for reviews from both the city and state health agencies and were told the project isn’t in their jurisdiction; does that make them incapable of studying the situation?

5) Homeowners in proximity to the quarry could write that their houses shake when blasts occur, not just their plates.

6) Local homeowners could describe the gravel-heavy trucks (on ice?) on the curvy road smashing into their cars and fences (how many jersey barriers will keep a gravel truck from hitting the Metering & Regulating Station?)

7) It’s amazing and completely unfair that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rules about communication of a project such as this are so minimal. Spectra Energy was required to inform only the direct abutters; people two houses away got no notification. The notification was technical; people didn’t understand it. There was no parallel explanation from any public agency. Spectra Energy held the one “open house” they were required to: with technical maps and charts on easel stands with only PR representatives to welcome people; no presentation, no Q&A session, again only direct abutters invited—on Sept 2, 2014, the evening before school started and the night of the first widely televised Democratic gubernatorial primary debate.  

8) Local homeowners could voice concern with a sudden drop in your home value due to risk, having an industrial building instead of a house on the parcel that is the site of the Metering & Regulating Station, noise, and emissions. (Note the wealth transfer from Boston working families to some Houston gas magnates.)

9) Local homeowners could voice concern with health, sleep, etc. because of fear, noise, traffic, emissions, even if no explosion (the article emphasized a possible explosion, but there are health and residential life concerns even if the worst doesn’t happen).

10) Spectra Energy says the pipe will carry gas for 146,000 homes. National Grid says the pipeline and the M&R station have to be in West Roxbury because it’s for local use. WRox has fewer than 10,000 homes, most of which already have gas.  So, for whom is all that gas actually intended?  For whom are we to bear the risks and other detriments involved in building this high-pressure line and M&R Station in our neighborhood?

Instructions for sending your letter to the editors of the Globe: Include your name, address, and daytime number. The letter should be 200 or fewer words. E-mail the letter to letter@globe.com or fax to 617-929-2098. You may also mail the letter to: Letters to the Editor, The Boston Globe, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819.

If you are on Twitter, you can tweet out both the WBZ video and the Globe article by sending the link to WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org; both are posted there. Please be sure to use the hashtag #PipelineWRox when you tweet about the WR Lateral.

Rickie Harvey

Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send to you.

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

West Roxbury Gas Pipeline Proposal Draws Fire
By Meghan E. Irons
Globe Staff,  January 18, 2015

Dynamite explodes inside a massive West Roxbury quarry many times each week, rattling plates in nearby homes and jarring nerves in this far-flung section of the city.  

But now, neighbors say they have something new to fear.

A Houston energy company is planning to build a $1 billion natural gas pipeline through the neighborhood along with a gas pressure regulating station across from the quarry. Residents fear the underground transmission pipeline could one day rupture because of relentless blasting at the quarry, causing catastrophic harm to families, schools, and a nursing home nearby.

“People are scared,’’ West Roxbury resident Rickie Harvey said. “Residents do not have any assurances that this is safe.”

Spectra Energy Corp., the Fortune 500 company planning the West Roxbury pipeline, said it has a clean safety record. The pipeline would be designed, constructed, and maintained to meet federal guidelines and would not interfere with the safe operations of the quarry, the company said.

Spectra has not had a safety violation involving death or injury since 2006, but has amassed more than $350,000 in fines for failure to inspect transmission lines, according to recent data from the US Department of Transportation, which has a unit that regulates pipeline safety.

“Spectra Energy has been operating safely in the New England region for more than 60 years,’’ company spokeswoman Marylee Hanley said.

‘I was shocked to find out it was actually being placed next to an active blasting quarry. There was no proper discussion.’

The West Roxbury gas line issue, simmering for two years, has gained steam recently and pits residents against one of North America’s largest pipeline companies, whose customers include NStar and National Grid. It has also generated broad — and uniformly negative — responses from the political class, with Boston’s mayor, a US representative, and officials from at least one other community rallying against the pipeline.

The burst of opposition comes as Spectra nears the end of a lengthy application process aimed at securing crucial federal approval for the planned gas route into West Roxbury, which is being built at the request of National Grid as it struggles to satisfy surging demand for natural gas.

National Grid said it needs to increase the volume of gas it delivers to West Roxbury residential and business customers who have endured outages and hiccups in service.

“Ninety-eight percent of the residents and businesses in West Roxbury have natural gas, so there is a tremendous demand,’’ National Grid spokesman David Graves said. “The problem is there is not enough transmission pipeline capacity coming into New England to meet the demand.”

To meet the needs of National Grid, Spectra proposed building a connection to its massive Algonquin Incremental Market Project, a 1,127-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from New Jersey through New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

The proposed 5.1-mile spur into Boston would snake underground from near a golf course in Westwood, passing Legacy Place shopping center and a soccer field in Dedham, and winding under densely packed areas along Washington, Centre, and Grove streets in West Roxbury — where it would connect into National Grid’s existing gas lines.

Spectra has held open houses and public information meetings on the pipeline since 2012. In 2013, the energy company acquired land from the quarry’s owners, West Roxbury Crushed Stone Co., on a patch of Grove Street outside the pit, where trucks rumble in and out, and blasts are common.

The energy company intends to build a metering and regulating station on undeveloped land outside the quarry’s entrance on Grove Street.

After quietly sailing through a public notification process, Spectra formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last February for approval for the new line, called the West Roxbury Lateral Alternative Route.

The regulatory commission released a draft environmental impact statement on the project in August, and a final version is expected in January. A decision on whether to authorize the pipeline is not expected until the spring. If approved, the pipeline extension would begin operating by 2016.

Some West Roxbury residents active in neighborhood and environmental issues said they did not know about the pipeline until late in the process and were stunned it had been proposed.

“I was shocked to find out it was actually being placed next to an active blasting quarry,” said John St. Amand, president of the Charles River/Spring Valley Neighborhood Association. “There was no proper discussion for the residents of West Roxbury.”

Others, including Harvey, who runs the environmental group West Roxbury Saves Energy, have been demanding that Spectra answer safety questions, including what precautions will be taken to avoid an explosion along the line. She said she is still waiting for answers.

The draft environmental statement notes some safety risks associated with the project, but declared they were not significant. Federal regulators analyzed the schedule and logistics associated with having construction and operations existing so close to the quarry and found “no direct conflicts” that would inhibit the project or continued operation of the quarry, the document said.

Spectra retained consultants at GeoEnvironmental Inc. to analyze the potential effects on the proposed project from quarry blasting, including ground vibrations, air vibrations, hydrogeologic disturbance, and projectiles such as flying rock.

Spectra said it would bury the pipeline about 5 feet underground. Its pipeline would be coated with high-strength steel and enveloped in either compacted sand or a low density concrete-sand mixture to support the pipe and serve as a barrier from any problems.

In recent years, Spectra has faced a series of warnings and threats of lawsuits from the US office that regulates pipeline safety. In 2010 and 2011, documents show, the company’s Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC paid $154,700 in fines for failing to inspect transmission line valves, retain records of internal corrosion inspections for five years, and check pressure regulating stations.

Spectra’s Texas Eastern Transmission LP company has been fined $361,900 since 2006 for inspection violations, including lack of corrosion control and maintenance, federal documents show.

Spectra has addressed problems identified by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and takes the agency’s recommendations “very seriously,” the company spokeswoman said.

Since learning of the proposed West Roxbury spur, residents have been pushing elected officials, including Mayor Martin J. Walsh, to take action. Groups such as the Committee to Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline have formed to fight it. And in Dedham, selectmen voted 5 to 0 to oppose it.

“This presents a small, but real, catastrophic risk,’’ said Dr. Dennis J. Teehan Jr., one of the selectmen. “People need to understand that whatever gets built there is going to be there for decades.”

Joseph M. Lovett, a West Virginia environmental lawyer, said residents have clear reason to be concerned.

“The opportunity for accidents will always be there,’’ Lovett said. “Natural gas lines fail all over the country.”

US Representative Stephen F. Lynch has written letters to the chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, citing “grave concerns” about the project. Walsh and Boston councilors have joined the opposition chorus.

Lynch said he met with Walsh staff members and Spectra officials, and urged the energy company to take a fresh look at the route.

Spectra officials “are ready to come back to meet with the elected officials to talk about some other options,’’ Lynch said recently. “That’s what I anticipate — some other configurations that might work.”

But Hanley, the Spectra spokeswoman, said the decision on the route is up to the regulatory commission, which has yet to decide. A spokeswoman said the commission will consider all input submitted to it. Hanley and a National Grid official contend that neither the pipeline nor the planned metering station next to the quarry pose any danger.

“We have metering stations all over our service territory,’’ said Graves. “I live near a gas metering station. I don’t ever recall a gas metering station that caused any harm to the public.”

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.

 

January 17, 2015

Dear all,

Last night WBZ aired an excellent story on the community’s opposition to the current proposed location of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. You can view it here: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/01/16/west-roxbury-residents-worried-about-gas-pipeline-project/.We are grateful to Julie Loncich for her outstanding reporting and for capturing the elements of the situation so cogently and completely in clear and understandable terms. Ms. Loncich is to be commended, as well, for both acknowledging Congressman’s Lynch efforts and mentioning that Senators Warren and Markey are silent on the issue and never responded to WBZ’s outreach to them, just as they have ignored the community’s attempts to engage them on this project for four months.

Most regrettably, yesterday’s meeting between Congressman Lynch and Spectra and National Grid did not yield any new results. The energy companies continue to claim there are no feasible alternate routes, in spite of the Congressman’s request they determine one. The energy companies continue to throw up highly questionable road blocks to other suggested locations. One example is Rivermoor, which they repeatedly claim is more than one mile from the National Grid handoff point at the corner of Spring and Centre Streets (and therefore too far away) in spite of our attached map which clearly indicates at least 90 percent of Rivermoor is within a one-mile radius. The Congressman remains determined to move the WR Lateral to another location, and we will keep you updated on next steps.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

RivermoorLocation

 

January 15, 2015

Dear all,

Monday night’s meeting of the West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association was well attended (about 75 people). Ray Porfilio gave a summary of the WR Lateral for the few people present who were not already pretty well apprised of the situation and then took questions, answered to the best of our ability. Many in the audience gave statements about their dissatisfaction with, in particular, Senators Warren and Markey for their silence on this matter, and others present supplied information about “stop the pipeline” efforts in the community. Thank you to the WRCIA for inviting WRSE to speak at their meeting.

WRSE has also been invited to give an interview about the WR Lateral next week on the local cable TV network Boston Neighborhood News with Chris Lovett. Ray will give the interview on the afternoon of Jan. 23, and we have asked Rep. Coppinger to join him. (We first invited Congressman Lynch to give the interview with Ray, but Congressman Lynch will be in Washington next week and so could not be there.) When we learn the day and time at which the interview will air, I will let you know.

Congressman Lynch’s office has scheduled the next meeting—with both Spectra and National Grid in attendance—to discuss alternate route possibilities tomorrow (Friday) afternoon. Congressman Lynch is very aware that time is short before the Final EIS is to be issued.

I have been asked to let you all know that the group Stop the West Roxbury Lateral continues to spearhead actions to bring attention to the pipeline, including a rally tomorrow night at 7 pm at the proposed location of the M&R Station. For more details about this rally and other actions suggested by SWRL, visit their Web site at swrl.info.  

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

January 4, 2015

Dear all,

Happy New Year! We have been busy over the holidays on the WR Lateral situation due to the ad mailing Spectra dropped all over our neighborhood on December 22 and 23. In my last update I attached the rebuttal ad that we created and ran in the West Roxbury Bulletin last week. (Thank you to all who have contributed money to help defray the $350 cost of that ad.)

In addition, we wrote a point-by-point rebuttal to the Spectra ad mailing (which I also attached in my last e-mail) that has been sent to all of the local media sources (and so far ran in Patch last week and will do so again tomorrow) as well as to all of the West Roxbury civic associations, who have said they would forward it to their memberships. In addition, Councilor Wu has agreed to send the rebuttal to her WR e-mail list this coming week, and I have asked Councilor O’Malley and Rep. Coppinger to do the same. I hope that all of you have forwarded it to your friends and neighbors as well. The rebuttal is posted on the westroxburysavesenergy.org website in full. It is important that we do everything we can to combat the misleading statements made in the Spectra ad mailing by disseminating the full story of the pipeline to as many residents as possible.

WRSE has been invited to speak at the upcoming meeting on Jan. 12 of the West Roxbury Civic & Improvement Association to give an update about the WR Lateral and to answer questions, and we have agreed to do so. I have reached out to two representatives from National Grid and asked them to join us at that meeting if possible. The meeting starts at 7 pm and takes place at St. Stephen’s Church Hall (1560 Washington Street). I understand that the other item on the agenda for that evening is a status report on the reclamation of the West Roxbury Crushed Stone quarry by its owners.

Rickie Harvey
West Roxbury Saves Energy

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

December 26, 2014

Dear all,

Earlier this week Spectra Energy blanketed West Roxbury with an advertisement mailing (attached) that touts the benefits of the West Roxbury Lateral in our neighborhood. The Spectra ad piece does not give all of the facts about the pipeline (for example, the words “high pressure” appear nowhere in the oversize mailing), and it distorts others. I heard from numerous people when they received this ad mailer that they were very upset about the misrepresentation of the lateral pipeline situation in West Roxbury, and we were encouraged to rebut the Spectra ad mailer, which could be the first time many WR residents heard anything about the pipeline.

Consequently, WRSE has prepared a half-page rebuttal ad (attached) that we will run in the Bulletin this coming week, and we have also written a point-by-point rebuttal piece that will be posted on the West Roxbury Saves Energy website, the WR Lateral pipeline Facebook page, and sent to as many community lists as possible as well as to the local media. This rebuttal is also attached. Our hope is to reach as many West Roxbury residents as possible (with your help) in order to combat the incomplete and questionable information provided by Spectra. Rep. Coppinger and City Councilors O’Malley and Wu have endorsed the WRSE rebuttal statement.

The cost for the ad in the Bulletin is $350. If anyone is willing to help us defray this cost, we would appreciate it. Checks can be made to West Roxbury Saves Energy, and if you e-mail me, I will send you my address where you can mail the check.

Also earlier this week, Congressman Lynch had a conference call with Spectra and our electeds and/or their representatives (National Grid was not on the call). Spectra has reiterated they have no alternative routes for the West Roxbury Lateral. They said that Rivermoor (which many of us feel should be closely considered as an alternative) is too far away from the National Grid requested handoff point and that it is also too small an area for the M&R Station. According to our research, neither of these points is conclusive, and we have urged Congressman Lynch to ask for more specific information and not take Spectra’s response on Rivermoor at their word. We understand that a meeting with both Spectra and National Grid at Congressman Lynch’s office is still planned. Congressman Lynch has once again indicated that he will continue to work to find an alternative for the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline and that he does not feel the current route is acceptable.

Best wishes for the holidays.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

SpectraAdMailing
WRSEadSpectra
PipelineMailerRebuttal

 

December 16, 2014

Dear all,

Yesterday Spectra returned to Congressman Lynch’s office with no presentation offering any alternate to the current proposed route for the West Roxbury Lateral. Spectra simply said they had considered the area and had been able to see no other location. After this disclosure, apparently a number of suggestions were made by those in attendance (including Rep. Coppinger; Sen. Rush; aides representing Councilors O’Malley, Wu, Pressley, and Flaherty; and the mayor’s office), and Spectra pretty much came up with reasons why none would be viable but said they would look into one or two. In addition, National Grid (who was not in attendance) will be asked by Congressman Lynch’s office to determine if other connection points than the current one being considered might be available; if so, this would provide more potential flexibility for the location of the pipeline and M&R Station than Spectra claims they currently have.

We continue to ask why the Rivermoor location is not being considered. You have seen one of Spectra’s responses in the questions we presented to them, and we would argue that nothing stated there rules out this alternative. I have passed along some of our thoughts and the information we have about the Rivermoor location to Congressman Lynch’s office, and our hope is that this location will be revisited by Spectra in a thorough and serious manner.  

Congressman Lynch stated in no uncertain terms to Spectra at yesterday’s gathering that if they did not find a suitable alternative route, he would fight them on the current proposal.

Today Spectra submitted a letter to FERC reiterating their request for approval of the AIM project by Jan. 31, 2015; that letter is attached.

When we receive more information as to next steps, I will forward it.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

SpectratoFERC20141216-5228(29990262)

 

December 7, 2014

Dear all,

On Friday FERC posted to the docket the Commission’s response to Mayor Walsh’s Oct. 24 letter requesting an alternate route for the WR Lateral and M&R Station as well as additional review of the health and safety impacts of placing the pipeline facilities in a densely populated area near a blasting quarry. The Commission’s response is attached. Among other statements, Commissioner LaFleur states that the DEIS “discusses and evaluates two route alternatives for portions of the West Roxbury Lateral. The draft EIS also recognizes the potential conflicts associated with the proposed facilities being located near an active quarry.” Her letter goes on to state that “the Commission staff is preparing the final EIS, which will address all the comments received during the draft EIS comment period, including those regarding alternatives, safety, and the quarry’s blasting operations.”

In general, these are the usual inconclusive comments from FERC. Also to be noted is that FERC has yet to issue an new date for the final EIS since postponing the original Dec. 19 date back in October.

Also the end of last week I received what I assume will be the final response from Spectra about providing specific answers to ALL of the questions posed by the community at our Oct. 8 meeting. The extent of their response was: “Thanks for your email on Monday night. As I stated in my email, however, we feel that we have answered the questions that you have given us.” I responded the following: “This is indeed disappointing. No one reading the responses to many of our questions could accurately claim they had been answered with any kind of specificity; many were ignored completely. And certainly no dates have been provided for the ‘many discussions’ Spectra claims to have had with Mayor Walsh and the City Council during the summer and fall of 2014. I am surprised you asked me to send you the questions from our Oct. 8 Community Meeting if there was never any intent to respond to the vast majority of them. Seems like a colossal waste of time on all of our parts.” The answers, such as they are, that Spectra supplied are posted at westroxburysavesenergy.org.

I continue to be in contact with Congressman Lynch’s office in regard to the alternate route requested from Spectra and will let you know when we learn any more information about that awaited proposal.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

20141205-0018(29957350)

 

December 2, 2014

Dear all,

Congressman Lynch’s office followed up with Spectra yesterday, as promised, in regard to the Congressman’s request that the energy company propose an alternate route for the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline and M&R Station that is not near the quarry and, one hopes, also not in a residential area. The report back is that engineers and project teams are meeting to “evaluate the request.” This process is not expected to happen quickly, as while the Congressman hopes that the engineers can provide a good alternative, doing so will obviously require some work. I will keep you posted on any information or progress.

I have asked Katherine Shea, at Congressman Lynch’s office, if she can find out how the FERC process would be affected and how it would proceed in the event that an alternate route for the lateral and M&R Station is indeed proposed.

In the meantime, yesterday I received an e-mail from Spectra in response to my Nov. 16 e-mail expressing disappointment at the lack of specific answers (for which we waited so many weeks) to the questions asked by the community in the meeting on Oct. 8 and forwarded to Spectra (at their request). As you know, I compiled a list of all the questions that were not addressed and resent them to Spectra on Nov. 16. In the same e-mail, I addressed the statement in the most recent filings by Spectra that their representatives had had “numerous discussions” with the mayor and the City Council, “including Councilors O’Malley and Wu” over the summer and fall of 2014. As I have reported, there is no record of any discussion between Spectra and the City Council, and Councilors O’Malley and Wu have said they had no individual discussions with Spectra during this time period either. Consequently, I had asked Spectra to provide dates for these discussions.

Essentially, Spectra’s response yesterday 1) referred us to the GZA GeoEnvironmental study, with which we are already familiar (and of which we made a number of copies available at our Oct. 8 meeting) and which we already know does not provide answers to the community’s specific unanswered questions; 2) pointed out that I “had largely restated my earlier questions” (no kidding); and 3) stated that as all the public officials copied on my e-mail “can attest, outreach [that] began in the spring of 2013 . . . has continued, periodically and regularly, throughout the development of the Project.” So: still no answers to the questions posed by the community that they did not address the first time around and no dates of the “numerous discussions” with the mayor and City Council in the summer and fall of 2014.

I have responded stating our disappointment that Spectra continues to be either unable or unwilling to give specific answers to the specific questions raised and also reiterated that Spectra should supply dates to substantiate their claim of discussions with our city officials over the summer and fall or should acknowledge that this is a misstatement in their filings and make this known to FERC. I am sorry that I have been unsuccessful in getting Spectra to provide the answers that the community deserves and can only hope at this point that an alternate route for the pipeline will be forthcoming and, thus, will at least make those answers that pertain to the safety and health issues of locating the WR Lateral and M&R Station near the active quarry moot.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

November 30, 2014

Dear all,

As I mentioned in my last e-mail, I have heard from some of you with questions/concerns about the wetlands designation at the M&R site in the current proposal from Spectra for the West Roxbury Lateral. Consequently, I asked Spectra to supply a site map and information about the location on the property of the proposed station vis-á-vis the wetlands and any building or impact there. They sent the attached drawing and wrote the following: “You’ll note that there is no work within the wetland area and, therefore, there are no wetland impacts. I would also add that the wetland depicted on both the drawing which you forwarded and the attached drawing is ‘isolated’ and was created from historic excavation related to the gravel operation.” (To view the attached drawing from Spectra, open it and enlarge it: the cross-hatched area shows the wetlands limit, and there is a line that shows the construction limit.) At this time we would concur that the proposed M&R Station appears to be located on a portion of the property that does not impact the wetlands. That said, there remains the apparent issue that this land is zoned for single-family housing.

In the meantime I have heard again from Robert Shea, lawyer for the Massachusetts Siting Board, in response to my reiterated request on behalf of the community that the DPU hold a health and safety review of the current proposed location for the West Roxbury Lateral, including the M&R Station. Here is a portion of the e-mail I received from Mr. Shea: “Based on our review of the record evidence provided in this proceeding, as well numerous comments from organizations and individuals involved in this proceeding, we believe there is already an extensive record that has been developed for FERC to review regarding the myriad issues involved with the Project, including health and safety concerns. The additional input from your organization will further inform FERC in their upcoming determinations and, we hope, ensure that the many important concerns you raised are not overlooked.” As we have heard many times previously, our state and local agencies cede oversight of this project to FERC, depending on that commission to follow through on safety and health questions based on inquiries currently on the record.

We are hopeful that news will come this week from Congressman Lynch’s office that Spectra has fulfilled the Congressman’s request to determine an alternate route for the West Roxbury Lateral, including an alternate site for the M&R Station, which would make the above concerns about the current proposed site moot. I will let you know when I have obtained any information in regard to this request made of Spectra.

Lastly, I have been asked to let you know that the contact e-mail address that was part of the notice from the anti-pipeline group called Committee to Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline in my last e-mail was incorrect. Their e-mail for more information about the meeting they are holding on Dec. 3 is: stopwrpipeline@gmail.com.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

M&R Layout

 

November 24, 2014

Dear all,

While Friday’s news that Congressman Lynch (with Mayor Walsh’s support) has asked Spectra to determine an alternate route for the West Roxbury Lateral that does not come near the quarry is a positive step, we need to remain vigilant that any alternative pipeline route will not be placed in another densely populated area. In addition, as a community we should make suggestions for alternative sites for the M&R Station that are in nonresidential areas. Please think about this and send me any suggestions you might have for alternate M&R sites. It is important that we stay involved and informed as a community in regard to any forthcoming proposals by Spectra/Algonquin.

A number of you have written me regarding the current proposed site for the M&R Station’s being an area that includes designated wetlands, asking if this could be an issue in regard to Spectra’s ability to build the M&R Station there. Our assumption is that Spectra is aware that part of the site is wetlands and that’s why the flags designating portions of the acreage as wetlands are there, to delineate those portions as such. It’s also reasonable to think there is enough acreage to build the station on the site without impacting the wetlands portion. However, it is worth clarifying this point. I have sent an e-mail to Spectra asking that they provide documentation of the M&R Station placement on the site by forwarding us a site plan showing the relationship between the proposed M&R Station and its associated sitework and the limits of wetlands on the site, including any proposed work in the buffer zone.

A further interesting point to be made about the proposed site for the M&R Station is that it is zoned for single-family residences. This would appear to mean that Spectra would need to seek and obtain a variance from the city’s Zoning Board before they could build the M&R Station structure on this particular piece of land.

Today I received an e-mail from Robert Shea (the lawyer for the DPU Siting Board who contacted me after our request to others at the DPU that a safety and health review be held of the WR Lateral) with a copy of a letter he sent to FERC that included the community’s questions to Spectra, Spectra’s answers, and my criticism of the lack of information in those answers (I had sent all of this to Mr. Shea and the DPU’s Andrew Greene last week by way of informing them in more detail of the community’s safety concerns since). The DPU’s letter with this info has been uploaded to our docket. I am not entirely sure what Mr. Shea hoped to accomplish by putting these on the docket, but I have acknowledged his doing so. I will continue to try to get an answer from him as to whether the DPU will hold a safety and health review of Spectra’s proposal to locate a high-pressure line and an M&R Station in a densely populated area near an active quarry, which has been our continued request.

Finally, subsequent to the Community Meeting we held on Oct. 8, an anti-pipeline group called the Committee to Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline has formed, and that group has asked me to forward to all of you the following information. I have agreed to do so, but we are neither endorsing this group nor do we have a position on any of the actions they are planning or will be discussing at their meeting. The sole purposes of my efforts and others engaged with me on this matter have been and continue to be to provide information about the West Roxbury Lateral and to attempt to hold Spectra accountable for the safety and health ramifications of their proposal. Here is the notice from the Committee to Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline: “The group has planned an educational and action-oriented meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 3, at 6:30-9 pm. at the Irish Social Club on Park Street. The featured speaker is Mark MacDonald, a nationally recognized natural gas disaster expert. We hope to enlist and plan to provide guidance to others concerned with stopping the pipeline. For now we are requesting help with some pre-meeting tasks: help with distributing flyers before and after Thanksgiving in grocery stores and on Centre Street; sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/stopWRLsignup and attendance at a proposed vigil on Grove Street and Centre Street at 6:30 across from the quarry on Dec. 1 and every Monday thereafter. If you have questions about any of the information above or want to contact us directly, you may e-mail: StopWRLPipeline@gmail.com.”

In the event that I have no more news to report prior to Thursday, I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

November 21, 2014

Dear all,

I have just been contacted by Congressman Lynch’s office and told that this morning Congressman Lynch and Chris Rusk, as Mayor Walsh’s representative, met with Spectra. Congressman Lynch told Spectra that the current route of the WR Lateral is unacceptable and requested that Spectra propose an alternate route that at the very least will not be near the quarry. The Congressman made it very clear that he and Mayor Walsh cannot support the project in its current location.

They have asked Spectra to work on an alternate route and be back in touch the Monday after Thanksgiving. I will be in contact with Congressman Lynch’s office at that time and will keep you apprised.

There remains much to be learned and considered, but this is an encouraging and very positive step by Congressman Lynch and Mayor Walsh. I have conveyed our gratitude to the Congressman for taking the lead and spearheading this effort on our behalf.

Rickie Harvey

 

November 20, 2014

Dear all,

I continue to try to find out if Spectra plans to respond to the community’s questions with specific answers. My contact said he would be in touch by the end of the week. I will keep you posted.

Please see the attached letter that City Councilor Michelle Wu sent to FERC at the beginning of this week in response to the misinformation posted on the FERC docket by Spectra in its latest filings about “numerous meetings” with the City Council, and in particular, with Councilors Wu and O’Malley. Councilor Wu concludes the letter by noting her continued opposition to Spectra’s proposal. We are grateful to Councilor Wu for her outspoken and written support of the community in this regard.

In addition, yesterday I received a copy of a letter from Mayor Walsh to FERC dated October 24. Unfortunately, because it did not include our docket number, the letter has not been acknowledged by FERC or entered into the docket. Yesterday the letter was resent with the docket number included, and hopefully FERC will now enter it. This letter states that, in the Mayor’s opinion, “the route [of the pipeline] must be altered to ensure the reasonable protections sought by the residents of West Roxbury and the adjacent towns.” This is a very interesting letter from the Mayor in light of the fact that we cannot get the city to hold a safety review of the WR Lateral to buttress this opinion. FERC requires evidence of safety hazards, not just our opinion that these hazards exist. You might consider calling the Mayor’s Office and thanking him for his letter on our behalf but requesting that he instruct the Boston Public Health Commission to launch a full safety review of the WR Lateral and M&R Station near the active quarry. This would need to be done immediately.

I have sent the community’s questions to the lawyer from the DPU Siting Board, Robert Shea, from whom I heard last week, by way of explaining our concerns about the WR Lateral and the quarry, since his initial response suggested he was unclear about why we thought a safety review would be in order. He was out sick early this week but has since said they are discussing the matter and he will get back to me. I have reminded him that time is of the essence, and I will keep you apprised if I hear anything further.

In recent days I have spoken with two of the Dedham Town Selectmen, all five of whom are unanimously opposed to the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. If you attended the Oct. 8 Community Meeting, you heard from them that the Town of Dedham has filed for Intervenor status in regard to AIM and that the Town Selectmen are strongly and vigorously opposed to this project. They wanted to assure us that they will continue to do everything within their power to stop this lateral from being built, even if that includes a legal fight. They are dedicated in their opposition to this project.

Finally, I have inquired of Congressman Lynch’s office what would need to be done by his constituents to get him to speak to Senators Warren and Markey about the safety concerns of the West Roxbury Lateral. Because this is a federal project, of course the most important people who could speak out on our behalf are our federal representatives. We have met with representatives of both Senators’ offices, but as you know, we have not received follow-up or support. Neither Senator’s office saw fit to send reps to the Community Meeting on Oct. 8, attended by 200 people. So perhaps Congressman Lynch will speak directly to Senators Warren and Markey on the community’s behalf, as Congressman Lynch has been extremely responsive over the last two months, since most of first learned of Spectra’s proposal. I have also suggested to the Dedham Town Selectmen that they make this same request of Congressman Lynch.

I appreciate the e-mails I have received from so many of you, as well as the comments, thoughts, suggestions, and articles.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

WuLetter to FERC 11-17-14

WalshLetter20141024152303419 (1)

 

November 6, 2014

Dear all,

A few items to report.

I learned from my contact at FERC this week that the original date for the posting of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the AIM project, which was Dec. 19, has been postponed. The postponement is due to FERC’s having received additional information from Algonquin. No revised date has been issued. This means that the decision from FERC about whether to approve the AIM project or not has also been postponed.

A member of our community asked us whether we could find out if the work currently being done by National Grid on Centre and Grove streets (replacement of National Grid pipes and repair work, which is requiring opening of the roads there and much traffic disruption) is part of the proposed AIM pipeline work, in anticipation of the pipeline work, or separate from the pipeline work. We contacted the two National Grid representatives with whom we met on Oct. 2 and who attended our Community Meeting on Oct. 8 and had several e-mails with them and a phone conversation. The long and the short of the answer is that the current work on these roads is being done by National Grid in order to put in new, replacement pipe for National Grid’s line and to fix leaks in National Grid’s current pipes. If/when the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline for AIM is installed, those will be separate pipes owned and installed by Spectra, and they will be laid alongside the National Grid pipes. So even though the work currently being done by National Grid is separate from the West Roxbury Lateral, basically the same stretch of roadway will again be torn open and work done there again.

If anyone would like to read the transcript for the FERC hearing held on September 8 in Dedham, it can be accessed here: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140929-4005. I have been told that it is not a particularly careful or exact transcription of what was said that evening.

Finally, I have continued to try to find out when Spectra will be supplying answers to the questions posed by the community on Oct. 8. I have asked Katherine Shea at Congressman Lynch’s office if she could make an effort to help us secure these responses by the end of this week. Of course Spectra is not required to supply us with answers, but since they specifically asked me to send them our questions, it would seem that we have been dealing with them in good faith and they should respond in a more timely fashion.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox 

 

October 28, 2014

Dear all,

The good news first. I learned yesterday that Congressman Lynch sent a letter to the chair of FERC requesting that the West Roxbury Lateral be moved to another location, one that is less densely settled and not near an active quarry. A copy of that letter is attached. Please contact Congressman Lynch’s office to express appreciation for his continued attention to the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline: Katherine Shea at 617-657-6307 or Katherine.Shea@mail.house.gov.

Many of you have been in touch with me and followed up with e-mails to the BPHC and City of Boston Counsel O’Flaherty about trying to initiate a public health investigation (BPHC) and a full review of the health, safety, and transportation issues (counsel) involved in installing a high-pressure gas line near the quarry (in light of our learning that no such studies were done months ago when City Hall was first informed of Spectra’s plans). I am sorry to have to report that we have not received support from the mayor’s office in regard to these efforts and do not anticipate support going forward.

Every day or two I am in touch with Spectra Energy inquiring about the answers to the community’s questions from Oct. 8 regarding the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. I am still being told that their responses are drafted and are “being reviewed by the various disciplines” and that they hope to have them to us “within a week.”

As of this writing, I continue to have no response from the state answering my question of whether the state has done an investigation of the health and safety issues surrounding the WR Lateral pipeline in the proximity of the active quarry, and if not, why not. Here again are the addresses to which I wrote:
PipelineSafety.Questions@state.ma.us
martin.suuberg@state.ma.us
mark.sylvia@state.ma.us

The following is from Karina Wilkinson, of Food and Water Watch; she has been a great resource to us from the time when most of us learned of this proposal, the day of the Spectra “Open House” at the Elks in early September:
If you want to let people know about a stakeholders meeting Thursday on Governor Patrick’s study regarding the need for more gas infrastructure. People can call in if they’d like. Some of the Western Mass people will be attending, along with a group called Mothers Out Front and likely the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance. The industry was there at the last meeting according to a MassPLAN.org director who was there last time.
http://www.synapse-energy.com/project/massachusetts-low-demand-analysis.

Here is what we know of that state study, as reported to you on the handout from the Oct. 8 Community Meeting:
The Mass Dept. of Energy Resources (DOER) is engaging a consultant to conduct a study to determine whether new infrastructure is required in the natural gas and electric markets given updated supply-and-demand assumptions. This study is meant to be complete in three months. Docket number: RFR-ENE-2015-12; DOER: 617-626-7300.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

<lynchletter>

 

October 26, 2014

Dear all,

Early this past week we were told that, to date, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has not done any investigation/assessment of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. In light of the community’s concerns about the safety and health implications of a high-pressure gas line and M&R Station adjacent to an active quarry, it seemed that requesting such a review makes sense. John St. Amand and I spoke to or left messages for five different people (including an investigator up to the acting chief of staff) at the BPHC last week in an effort to request an investigation. In addition, thanks to Karina Wilkinson of Food and Water Watch, last Thursday evening we learned that a public BPHC Board meeting will be taking place tomorrow, Monday. We made requests to be added to the agenda or allowed to make a statement about our concerns regarding the West Roxbury Lateral at tomorrow’s Board meeting.

We were told the agenda of the meeting is full and the meetings include no public comments period. We were also told that it would take many months to go through the process of requesting an investigation and, even were such an inquiry to be granted, that the BPHC has little or no jurisdiction over pipelines. I stressed the opinion of the Deerfield pro bono lawyer: that based on language in the Natural Gas Act—which allows federal (FERC) pre-emption over state and local jurisdictions for matters related to taxes, money, or commerce—matters regarding health or injury are “specifically not preempted” in the Act. No one I spoke with at the BPHC had any comment about this assertion.

In the end I was informed that we could write or e-mail the BPHC regarding the WR Lateral. You may send an e-mail to info@bphc.org. Letters by regular mail should go to:
Huy Nguyen
Interim Executive Director
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
I suggest also sending a copy of your letter to the acting chief of staff, Megan McClair, at the same address.
If you choose, you may also complete a “contact us” form on the BPHC Web site here.

During the course of these conversations, it was suggested that we ask the Counsel for the City of Boston, Eugene Flaherty, to open a full review of the West Roxbury Lateral for health, safety, and transportation hazards related to the building of the pipeline, the running of the pipeline once complete, and the quarry. So on Friday morning I asked Councilor O’Malley and Councilor Wu to put this request to Eugene Flaherty. John St. Amand asked the same of the mayor’s office. By the end of the day Friday I had had no response from Councilor O’Malley’s office, and Councilor Wu was out of the office that day and therefore was not able to discuss the request. I will follow up with Councilor Wu tomorrow. During the course of last week, John St. Amand left voice-mail messages and sent e-mails to Jerome Smith, the mayor’s chief of civic engagement, with no response to date.

I also wrote to the State of Massachusetts on Wednesday of last week to ask if they had rendered an opinion about the safety of the AIM project and, specifically, about the West Roxbury Lateral and quarry aspects. I have had no response. This is where I directed my e-mail:
PipelineSafety.Questions@state.ma.us
martin.suuberg@state.ma.us
mark.sylvia@state.ma.us

In regard to the answers from Spectra that we are awaiting in response to the questions posed at the Oct. 8 Community Meeting, I checked in with Spectra Thursday and asked when they would be ready. I was told an initial draft had been prepared and was “being reviewed by the various disciplines.” I will ask again tomorrow when we can expect the responses.

Many of you have asked me what more you can be doing. For more action items, I would suggest that you contact either Karina Wilkinson (kwilkinson@fwwlocal.org) or Dorian Williams (dorian@betterfutureproject.org) of Better Future Project. They are professionals about matters such as this one and will be better able to guide you as to what active steps might be taken. In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with as much information as possible about any developments of which we are aware or in which we are involved and about any answers that we might get in pursuing the various avenues outlined above.

I wish I had more encouraging news as another week goes by.

Rickie Harvey

Summary of WR Lateral, maps, and links: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
Twitter: #PipelineWRox

 

October 16, 2014

Dear all,

Taking a lead from the Dedham Town Selectmen who all wrote a letter to FERC in regard to the West Roxbury Lateral Algonquin pipeline extension, I spoke with City Councilors Michelle Wu and Matt O’Malley after last week’s Community Meeting about asking all of the Boston City Councilors to send a letter to FERC requesting a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. I asked they a Supplemental DEIS based on 1) the current DEIS does not address alternatives for the delivery of additional gas to the West Roxbury area of Boston nor does it 2) specifically address the safety and health issues associated with the introduction of a high-pressure gas line in a densely populated residential area or the location of a Metering & Regulating (M&R) Station across the street from an active quarry.

As of yesterday evening such a letter had been written and signed by 10 of the 13 City Councilors. I am in the process of determining why the remaining three did not sign the letter and also confirming that the letter has been uploaded to the FERC docket as well as faxed to FERC’s Office of External Affairs.

As reported in my last update, I also last week asked Chris Rusk of the Mayor’s Office to look into what local permitting is required for Spectra to build the pipeline. Chris has responded that he is working on finding out this information.

I have submitted the questions that were raised at the Community Meeting on October 8 to Spectra, as they requested I do in light of their not sending a representative to answer the questions in person. Those questions are attached. I will forward Spectra’s responses when received and will also post them on the West Roxbury Saves Energy website and send them to the administrator of the Facebook page (West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion) to post.

Due to technical difficulties in transferring the video of the October 8 Community Meeting, the videographer has not been able to supply me with a video of the meeting yet. We are working on recovering the footage. In the meantime, you can listen to a recording made by an attendee at this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wg56i51fd23gqu9/AACSp782-K6nphTtijMaeftRa?dl=0. The files are not in order, but if you listen to them chronologically according to the times listed (the earliest beginning at 7:19 pm) for each section, you will hear the meeting in its actual progression. I believe that about the first ten minutes of the meeting are missing; in that time we covered our introduction of WRSE; the requests we in person and others (Cong. Lynch’s office, the mayor’s office twice, and FERC) made to Spectra to attend the Community Meeting; and our acknowledgment of the elected officials and/or their representatives who were in attendance that night. We greatly appreciate having the recording of this meeting.

Rickie Harvey

<spectraquestions>

 

October 14, 2014

Dear all,

Thanks to the approximately 200 people who came to the Community Meeting Wednesday night. We appreciated the presence of the two representatives from National Grid who attended and took questions, answered toward the end of the evening. As we stated on Wednesday night, Spectra chose not to send any representatives, in spite of repeated requests that they do so for the last three weeks from Congressman Lynch’s office, twice from the Mayor’s office, over the past few few days from FERC, and from me personally when a small group of us met with three Spectra representatives last Thursday night. Until Wednesday at 3 pm when I heard from my contact at FERC that Spectra had discussed it one final time that day and decided they would not be coming, we still had hope that they would attend the meeting Wednesday to answer the community’s questions in person.

Moving forward:

1) Please call our senators’ offices and express your dismay that they did not send representatives to the Community Meeting Wednesday night at which 200 of their constituents were present in spite of repeated invitations from us to do so.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office: Chris Lange, 617-565-3170
Senator Ed Markey’s office: David Brade, 617-565-8519

2) We have asked both Sen. Warren’s and Sen. Markey’s offices to request a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) based on 1) the failure of the current DEIS to address alternatives for the delivery of additional gas to the West Roxbury area of Boston and 2) the failure of the current DEIS to specifically address the safety and health issues associated with the introduction of a high pressure gas line in a densely populated residential area or the location of a Metering & Regulating (M&R) station across the street from an active quarry.

3) We are asking the Boston City Councilors to send a letter to FERC requesting a Supplemental DEIS for the reasons stated above. This is consistent with a letter already submitted to FERC by the mayor’s office.

4) We have asked the mayor’s office to provide us with information about what City permits—construction and otherwise—are required for Spectra to move ahead with building the pipeline in West Roxbury.

5) As stated Wednesday night, I will submit the pertinent West Roxbury Lateral pipeline questions from Wednesday night’s meeting to Spectra, per their request that I do so, and when I receive answers I will post them on the West Roxbury Saves Energy website (westroxburysavesenergy.org).

Rickie Harvey

 

October 10, 2014

Dear all,

Thanks to the approximately 200 people who came to the Community Meeting Wednesday night. We appreciated the presence of the two representatives from National Grid who attended and took questions, answered toward the end of the evening. As we stated on Wednesday night, Spectra chose not to send any representatives, in spite of repeated requests that they do so for the last three weeks from Congressman Lynch’s office, twice from the Mayor’s office, over the past few few days from FERC, and from me personally when a small group of us met with three Spectra representatives last Thursday night. Until Wednesday at 3 pm when I heard from my contact at FERC that Spectra had discussed it one final time that day and decided they would not be coming, we still had hope that they would attend the meeting Wednesday to answer the community’s questions in person.

Moving forward:

1) Please call our senators’ offices and express your dismay that they did not send representatives to the Community Meeting Wednesday night at which 200 of their constituents were present in spite of repeated invitations from us to do so.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office: Chris Lange, 617-565-3170
Senator Ed Markey’s office: David Brade, 617-565-8519

2) We have asked both Sen. Warren’s and Sen. Markey’s offices to request a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) based on 1) the failure of the current DEIS to address alternatives for the delivery of additional gas to the West Roxbury area of Boston and 2) the failure of the current DEIS to specifically address the safety and health issues associated with the introduction of a high pressure gas line in a densely populated residential area or the location of a Metering & Regulating (M&R) station across the street from an active quarry.

3) We are asking the Boston City Councilors to send a letter to FERC requesting a Supplemental DEIS for the reasons stated above. This is consistent with a letter already submitted to FERC by the mayor’s office.

4) We have asked the mayor’s office to provide us with information about what City permits—construction and otherwise—are required for Spectra to move ahead with building the pipeline in West Roxbury.

5) As stated Wednesday night, I will submit the pertinent West Roxbury Lateral pipeline questions from Wednesday night’s meeting to Spectra, per their request that I do so, and when I receive answers I will post them on the West Roxbury Saves Energy website (westroxburysavesenergy.org).

Rickie Harvey

 

October 1, 2014

Dear all,

As most of you know, there will be a Community Meeting on October 8 (7 pm, Irish Social Club, 119 Park St.) regarding the plans for the natural gas pipeline to be built in West Roxbury (called the West Roxbury Lateral) by Spectra Energy in conjunction with National Grid. This spur is coming from Westwood, through Dedham, into West Roxbury. The plan is to build an M&R (Metering and Regulating) Station across from the active quarry on Grove Street. The lines in West Roxbury will be high-pressure and are a new pipeline, not replacement pipes for older, smaller ones, as is the case elsewhere on the Algonquin pipeline project.

It is important for us to notify as many constituencies as possible about this meeting on the 8th so that the entire community can be aware of the pending plans for this pipeline and have an opportunity to attend and comment. We hope you have seen the fliers around town, will see articles and notices in tomorrow’s local papers, and might be aware of the extensive e-mail outreach we have been doing to other West Roxbury community groups a well as WR schools, parishes, and organizations to notify them about the meeting. In addition we have sent notices to all of the major MA environmental groups and also to government and community groups in Dedham.

But we still have major WR constituencies we have not reached, specifically St. Theresa School, Holy Name School, and Catholic Memorial. If you have contacts at any of these schools who might help you place a notice or post a flier about the meeting, please send them the information (you can use the notice in no. 1 below and/or the attached flier). Please let me know if you contact one of these schools?

Other ways you can help:

1) Tell your friends and neighbors about the meeting.
You can send a quick e-mail to anyone you think would be interested in knowing about the meeting. Here is text you can use: Gas Pipeline Community Meeting—Spectra Energy has proposed a high-pressure natural gas pipeline to run from Westwood to West Roxbury with a Metering & Regulating Station on Grove Street across from the active quarry. Come learn more and voice your opinions/concerns on Wed., Oct. 8, at 7 pm, at the Irish Social Club (119 Park Street, West Roxbury). Organized by West Roxbury Saves Energy with support from Rep. Coppinger and Councilor O’Malley. For more info: WRLateralPipeline@gmail.com.

2) Post the attached flier.
If you know places for community notices where you don’t see our flier, please print and post it. (If you can’t print it and need copies of the flier to post, please let me know.)

3) If you are on Twitter, tweet the meeting information.
Use #PipelineWR when you do so. Here is a sample tweet you can send: New Bos gas pipeline routing by active quarry; community mtg to learn more/make comments 10/8 at ISC, 119 Park St WRox #PipelineWRox

4) Flier your neighborhood.
We are trying to put fliers in the doors (don’t use mailboxes) of as many houses around the site of the M&R Station and pipeline route as possible. We could use help fliering these streets or you can flier streets in your own area. If you can help with this, please contact me and I can send you the smaller flier we are using for this purpose, and we can also coordinate streets with you.

5) Call the offices of Sen. Warren and Sen. Markey.
Ask the Senators to send their representatives to the meeting on Oct. 8 so they can hear our questions and better understand the concerns surrounding this pipeline. Be sure to have the details ready to tell them (Oct. 8, at 7 pm at the Irish Social Club, 119 Park Street, West Roxbury).
Warren’s office: 617-565-3170
Markey’s office: 617-565-8519

Thanks to the many of you who have already helped disseminate the information about the Oct. 8 meeting to your groups, organizations, and schools and to all for your efforts in this regard over the next week.

Rickie Harvey

Click here to view the draft of the Environmental Impact Statement of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on this pipeline project.

<pipelineflier2>

 

September 24, 2014

Dear all,

We are continuing to make efforts to have both Algonquin and National Grid in the room to answer our questions and concerns on the evening of October 8. But we need the Mayor’s support. To help us have the best and most informative Community Meeting possible on this matter of the new gas pipeline (West Roxbury Lateral), calls to the Mayor’s Office requesting that he get both parties into the room at the same time with us on the 8th will reinforce how important this is to us; it is an opportunity the residents of West Roxbury deserve and have not had to date.

Please call one or all of the following and say that all we are looking for is getting Algonquin and National Grid in the same room on the 8th for this Community Meeting. West Roxbury is owed this, and it hasn’t happened yet. It is the Mayor’s job to get these parties into the room with us on October 8. Please ask that he make this happen.

Jerome Smith, Chief of Civic Engagement: 617-635-3485
Chris Rusk, West Roxbury Neighborhood Coordinator: 617-635-4818
Mayor’s Hotline: 617-635-4500

Please call; e-mails get shunted aside. Please call today. Please convey a sense of urgency.

Thank you for your continued efforts to have a meaningful and robust community process around this proposed pipeline.

Rickie Harvey

Pipeline Community Meeting
Wednesday, October 8, at 7 pm
Irish Social Club, 119 Park Street
Organized by West Roxbury Saves Energy with support from Rep. Coppinger, Councilor O’Malley, and Sen. Rush

Brief Summary of Proposed Pipeline
A natural gas pipeline called the West Roxbury Lateral proposed to be built by Spectra Energy/Algonquin in conjunction with National Grid. This spur is coming from Westwood, through Dedham, into West Roxbury. The plan is to build an M&R (Metering and Regulating) Station across from the active quarry on Grove Street. The lines in West Roxbury will be high-pressure and are a new pipeline, not replacement pipes for older, smaller ones, as is the case elsewhere on the Algonquin pipeline project.

 

September 19, 2014

Dear all,

We learned today that Rep. Lynch’s office was notified by FERC that our request for a second FERC hearing has been denied. This is not a huge surprise, but thank you to everyone who helped us try to achieve a second hearing—community members and elected officials alike.

We now should all request that the comments period, which is scheduled to end September 29, be extended. We need this additional time to inform the community of the plans for the pipeline and allow everyone in the community to have the opportunity to make comments to FERC, particularly subsequent to the October 8 Community Meeting. Please go to ferc.gov and make this request or send a letter; instructions are repeated below.

Please note: the address for the Irish Social Club, where the October 8 Community Meeting will be taking place at 7 pm, is 119 Park Street, West Roxbury. I apologize for the typo in yesterday’s e-mail in regard to the number on Park Street.

Thank you,
Rickie Harvey

TO POST COMMENTS you have about the pipeline expansion and to request that the comments period be extended beyond September 29, please go to this page on the ferc.gov Web site (or go to ferc.gov, click on Documents and Filings, and then click on eComment under “FERC online”). There, you can request a second hearing and post comments on the eComment section, which does not require registration. Our docket number is # CP14-96. If you need assistance navigating this eComment process, let me know, and I will put you in touch with someone who can walk you through it.

You can also write a letter and mail it to the address on the form below, or use the form itself.

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September 17, 2014

Dear all,

Save the Date:
Community Meeting: Spectra’s West Roxbury Lateral Gas Pipeline Proposal
Wednesday, October 8, at 7:00 pm
Irish Social Club, 199 Park Street, West Roxbury

We will be holding a community meeting in an effort to learn more about the plans for the pipeline coming into West Roxbury, the proposed Metering Station, and safety aspects of both, given that it is a new, high-pressure gas line and they are to be built near the active quarry in West Roxbury. Please plan to attend and to bring others who share your concerns and need for more information.

Other updates:

A small group met with a representative from Sen. Markey’s office yesterday afternoon about the proposed pipeline. We have been told that they will be back in touch after further discussion and coordination with the offices of Sen. Warren and Rep. Lynch.

Yesterday in the Business section, the Boston Globe ran an article on the gas pipelines coming into the region: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/09/15/nstar-and-spectra-announce-project-increase-new-england-natural-gas-supply/11IyTBQ2oiSKqwKx0iZVnM/story.html#comments. We encourage you to send letters to the editor (instructions below) in response to this article, which left a great deal unsaid and presented only one side of the story. You should obviously read the article and respond to what you care about, but here are a few aspects that you might consider addressing:
1. It is interesting that the response to a potential shortage is doubling of capacity: currently 3.6 million homes; proposed work adds enough gas for 3.5 million homes.
2. The article notes a connection to the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline connecting to import/export hubs. Speculate about future use for export?
3. The article does not discuss the introduction of 5 miles of new, high-pressure interstate delivery pipeline from Westwood to West Roxbury and the location of an M&R station across from an active quarry. Few are convinced of the prudence/safety of this plan. Comment on the ineffectiveness of the mandated public notification process with just two weeks before the FERC comment period closes.
4. General comment about how building infrastructure for fossil fuels at cost of $3 billion is crazy except that the article quotes pipeline people as saying that customers will pay for that amount in the FIRST YEAR. So the pipeline company is not really paying for anything—we are!

Here is one good example letter to the editor on the AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market) project from Connecticut: http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/09/14/view-blanch-spectra-algonquin-pipeline-near-indian-point/15648143/.

A more balanced story ran on WBUR this morning about the proposed pipelines: http://www.wbur.org/2014/09/17/pipeline-proposals-mass.

Thanks for all the feedback we’ve been getting, and please encourage anyone who wants to be added to this e-mail list for updates regarding the pipeline to let me know at rickieh@bellatlantic.net.

Rickie Harvey

WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
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To submit a letter to the editor
e-mail letter@globe.com or use our form.

Letters may be sent by regular mail to this address:
Letters to the Editor
The Boston Globe
P.O. Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Or by fax to (617) 929-2098

Please include your full name, address, and a telephone number for confirmation purposes. Letters should be 200 words or fewer, and all are subject to editing.

 

September 12, 2014

Dear all,

I just want to update you on the meeting yesterday about the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline that took place in Sen. Warren’s office.

A small group met with Jess Torres, Sen. Warren’s deputy state director, to convey concerns about the proposed AIM pipeline project Thursday afternoon and made two requests:
1. That the Senator work for a second hearing and an extension of the comment period.
and
2. That the Senator come out in opposition to the project.
Jess will be speaking with the Senator’s environmental staffer in DC, and follow-up is expected next week.

In addition, I heard from Howard Sorett that “Jason Burrell, Special Assistant to Sen. Warren & former Boston Regional Coordinator, also has been supportive of Sen. Warren’s involvement in my conversations with him.” Howard passed along Jason’s contact info in case you want to contact Jason regarding your views on the pipeline: 617-334-4475 (cell) and Jason_burrell@warren.senate.gov.

A meeting with Sen. Markey’s office is scheduled for Tuesday, September 16 (sorry; I had this wrong in yesterday’s e-mail).

Articles on Monday’s FERC hearing appeared in yesterday’s West Roxbury Bulletin and the Dedham Transcript.

In case I have not been totally clear previously about submitting comments to FERC, you can simply write a letter and send it to the following address; just be sure to reference our Docket #CP14-96. (You are not required to use the form I have attached previously.) My understanding is that comments received via mail will be posted to the online docket by the secretary.

Kimberly Bose
Secretary of the Algonquin Project
FERC
888 First St., NE
Rm 1A
Washington DC 20426

Finally, here is an additional link to a petition to stop the pipeline:
https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/stop-the-algonquin-pipeline-expansion.

Thanks to all who have been posting to the Facebook page (whose name has been updated to “West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion”) and to those who have been sending me additional information and links to disseminate.

Rickie

 

September 11, 2014

Dear all,

As we move forward with attempting to figure out the details of the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion into West Roxbury, and try to learn more, it is important to let you know that—unlike the vast majority of the rest of the Spectra Pipeline elsewhere in Massachusetts and other states—the 5-mile spur called the West Roxbury Lateral is NEW pipeline that will be laid by National Grid. (This spur is not a matter of laying larger pipes to replace already existing gas lines as some of us previously believed.) In light of this, it seems all the more crucial that this spur receive much closer scrutiny than might typically be called for/allowed for in the federal process and because of environmental ramifications and safety issues that we be allowed increased community input rather than less or the same as in areas where pipes already exist.

Consequently, if you have not already done so, please post your comments and requests regarding this pipeline to the ferc.gov website (I have repeated the instructions below) or write them on the attached form and mail it to the address on the form. Our docket number is #CP14-96.

PLEASE NOTE that the end of the allowed time for comments is coming up quickly; the deadline for comments is September 29. One of the comments you might consider making is a request that the comments period be extended since we have not received adequate information from Spectra about the pipeline to date, and we need to have an information session with Spectra where they actually make a presentation and have people available who can answer our questions directly. Ideally, representatives from National Grid who can answer questions would be available as well at the same time. Please reiterate the request for such an information session when you post/mail your comments. Simply having a second hearing (which is also being requested for those who could not attend on the night before the state primary election and on such short notice) will not move us closer to understanding the details surrounding the pipeline and metering station that are being built near the quarry in West Roxbury.

This afternoon a small group is meeting with aides from the offices of Senators Warren and Markey to express the community’s desire to learn more about the pipeline plans, ask that we be given sufficient time to make comments, and to make our arguments for having adequate community input and a real and thorough process surrounding this pipeline. You can add weight to the requests being made to the Senators’ aides at this meeting by calling or e-mailing the Senators’ Boston offices and stating that you want Sen. Warren and Sen. Markey to get involved with the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion issue and help us bring Spectra to the table to give us honest, straightforward information and allow the community ample opportunity to ask questions and get them answered.
Here is the contact information for the Senators’ Boston offices:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office: 617-565-3170 or e-mail chris_lange@warren.senate.gov
Sen. Ed Markey’s office: 617-565-8519 or e-mail david_brade@markey.senate.gov

Thank you for your continued interest and help in achieving the proper community process around this pipeline expansion. Please forward this e-mail to anyone you know who would want to be aware of this situation. Please tell them to e-mail me if they wish to be added to the e-mail list to receive these updates.

Rickie Harvey

TO POST COMMENTS you have about the pipeline expansion and the lack of process for community information/input, please go to this page on the ferc.gov Web site (or go to ferc.gov, click on Documents and Filings, and then click on eComment under “FERC online”). There, you can request a second hearing and post comments on the eComment section, which does not require registration. Our docket number is # CP14-96. If you need assistance navigating this eComment process, let me know, and I will put you in touch with someone who can walk you through it.

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September 8, 2014

Dear all,

Tonight’s hearing in Dedham was a packed room, with about 75 to 100 people present. It is difficult for me to adequately describe how excellent all 24 people were who chose to stand before the FERC members and speak against the pipeline, delineating a variety of reasons for doing so (only two individuals, including a lawyer for Legacy Place, spoke in favor). Residents from West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Dedham, and Newton (and possibly elsewhere that I missed) voiced opposition eloquently and passionately. In addition, I am proud to say that our elected officials were well represented even though tonight is the eve of the primary election and so many of them (like us) had other commitments and other places they were supposed to be. Thank you to Councilor Matt O’Malley and State Rep. Ed Coppinger, who came in person to speak before the hearing about their inability to support this project in light of the lack of process, notification, and transparency and their concern about safety issues. Many thanks also to Henry Cohen, who spoke on behalf of Councilor Michelle Wu; and Chris Rusk, on behalf of the Mayor’s Office. All requested additional hearings with actual presentations, Q&As, and in general, much more information than we have been given to date.  

Anyone and everyone is welcome—and encouraged—to speak out. As I mentioned in an earlier e-mail, it is possible to go to the ferc.gov
website and post eComments. This is not a straightforward or easy task. Tonight we learned that you can also submit your comments and opposition through the mail on hard copy, and your comments will be posted to the docket for you. I am attaching the form on which you can do so. (You are welcome to continue your comments on the back of the sheet.) The address to which you may mail your comments is on the form.

Please note that a Facebook page has been created by a local resident called West Roxbury Spectra Energy Gasline if you would like to follow it.

Thank you to all who have already posted comments online on the docket and to everyone who attended tonight, and especially to those who spoke.

Be sure to vote tomorrow!

Rickie Harvey
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September 6, 2014

Dear all,

Thanks to the many of you who called and e-mailed Rep. Lynch’s office to request that Monday’s FERC hearing on Spectra’s Algonquin Pipeline Expansion be delayed so that more of us could attend. Rep. Lynch’s office did make a call to FERC Friday morning to request a delay but the request was later denied. Here are the details again for Monday’s hearing:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Hearing on Spectra Pipeline Expansion
WHAT: FERC Hearing on Spectra Pipeline Expansion
WHEN: Monday, September 8, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
WHERE: Holiday Inn Dedham, 55 Ariadne Road, Dedham

Please attend if you can. My understanding is that there will be no presentation but it is an opportunity for us to voice comments to the Commission on the pipeline expansion, which includes a 5-mile spur into West Roxbury. My understanding as well is that Spectra has a contract with National Grid, who is saying they need additional pipeline capacity. National Grid asked Spectra to provide that extra capacity in West Roxbury, and Spectra has a contractual commitment to provide that extra capacity by November 2016. The West Roxbury Lateral, as the line is called, is a 5-mile spur off a much larger project that runs from New Jersey to north of Boston. Essentially the line is to connect to the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline that runs to Canada (and we believe ultimately to overseas, where fuel rates are two to three times higher than ours).

Our next step is to request a second hearing. It would be beneficial to have a hearing that doesn’t take place the night before the state primary, in hope that more of us as well as our elected officials will be able to attend. (Connecticut was able to request and get a second hearing.) Each of us can request an additional hearing, and as many as people as possible should do so, but they don’t make it easy. To request a second hearing (and to post any comments you have about the pipeline expansion as well), please go to this page on the ferc.gov Web site (or go to ferc.gov, click on Documents and Filings, and then click on eComment under “FERC online”). There, you can request a second hearing and post comments on the eComment section, which does not require registration. Our docket number is # CP14-96.

If anyone tries to post a request for a second hearing and/or comments and has difficulty navigating the site, please let me know, and I can have someone contact you who can walk you through it. If you are successful in posting either/or a request for a second hearing and comments, it would be helpful if you would let me know you have done so.

One suggested comment/question you might consider posting is your concern about the safety of placing three metering stations on land near the quarry where blasting is taking place. Just stating (as Spectra has in their literature) that they have a good safety record is not an adequate answer, in my opinion.

Credo is circulating a petition to stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion. Here is the URL in case the link I am supplying doesn’t work and you need to paste it into your browser: https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/stop-the-algonquin-pipeline-expansion. Please sign the petition if you are against the pipeline expansion.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone you think is concerned about the pipeline expansion and/or tell anyone who is not already on my list to contact me if they wish to be added: rickieh@verizon.net. (Or, conversely, let me know if you wish to be removed.)

Thank you!

Rickie Harvey

 

September 4, 2014

Dear all,

As you know, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting that is scheduled for this Monday night in Dedham to take comments on the pipeline scheduled to enter West Roxbury has only just come to the attention of many of us and is occurring the night before the Primary Election, making it impossible for many of us and most of our elected representatives to attend.

Due to this timing, we are asking you to please immediately contact Congressman Stephen Lynch’s office and request that he reschedule the FERC Hearing on the Spectra Pipeline Expansion to a later date. Please either call his office at 617-428-2000 or e-mail Dan.lynch@mail.house.gov and request that Monday’s FERC meeting be postponed.

Thank you very much for your timely efforts in this regard.

Rickie Harvey

 

September 3, 2014

Dear all,

I have just learned that tonight Spectra Energy is holding an information session about the gas pipeline they want to expand through West Roxbury.

Spectra Pipeline Open House
Elks Club
One Morrell Street, West Roxbury
5:30–7:30 pm

You may have heard about this gas pipeline, which has a route near the quarry and up Spring Street. It is the extension of the Algonquin Pipeline, which I believe runs from New York to Massachusetts, in order to transport more gas. For more details about this pipeline, and the dangers of such pipelines in general, please see this article: Northeast Fights Back as Expanding Fracking Infrastucture Endangers Us All. For those of you interested in even more details: http://sape2016.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/algonquin_incremental_market_project.pdf.

Please come tonight even if for only 15 minutes so that Spectra knows we are aware and are paying attention. This info session has been almost entirely unpublicized. I don’t think we want to let this company expand their gas pipes through our town without a fight, or at the very least, finding out the details of their plan.

In addition, there will be only ONE statewide hearing for Massachusetts with federal regulators, and this meeting is scheduled for this coming Monday in Dedham. According to the notice about that meeting I was sent, Spectra wants to “construct six new loud, dirty, and potentially explosive compressor stations and many new metering stations, including one across the street from an active quarry in Boston.” That’s the quarry here in West Roxbury. Please attend Monday if you can! Details are below.

Please let me know by responding to this e-mail if you wish to be kept informed about the Spectra pipeline and please pass all of this information on to others. We should all be very concerned about this development.

Thank you.

Rickie Harvey

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Hearing on Spectra Pipeline Expansion
WHAT: FERC Hearing on Spectra Pipeline Expansion
WHEN: Monday, September 8, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
WHERE: Holiday Inn Dedham, 55 Ariadne Road, Dedham

 

 

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