West Roxbury Lateral information sheet from 7/14 Dedham TV program

Video link to full Dedham TV panel show: https://vimeo.com/133598592

Information sheet distributed July 14 to the live TV audience at the local Dedham program:


The West Roxbury Lateral: What It Is and What You Can Do

Information sheet prepared by West Roxbury Saves Energy and Dedham Safety Over Profits

Basic information about the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) high-pressure gas pipeline and the Metering & Regulating Station (M&R Station) if it is built as planned:

  • The WRL is a new pipeline, not replacement pipes. Construction has just begun.
  • The WRL is a 5-mile off-shoot of the already existing 1129-mile Algonquin pipeline that transports shale (fracked) gas from Pennsylvania to New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
  • The WRL is one part of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, which expands the existing Algonquin pipeline. AIM will add several new off-shoots (laterals), connections, and capacity enlargements to the Algonquin pipeline in order to connect it to other pipelines, expanding fossil fuel use in New England and, many believe, to eventually export the gas to Canada and Europe.
  • The WRL begins in Westwood at the Norfolk Golf Club, crosses Rt 128, then includes Elm St, Providence Hwy, East St, Washington St in Dedham; and Washington St, Grove St, and Centre St (to Spring St) in West Roxbury.
  • The WRL is a high-pressure pipeline, carrying enough gas for 146,000 homes at 750 pounds per square inch (PSI), 34 times the pressure of our local pipeline system carrying gas at about 22 PSI.
  • Because the WRL is a high-pressure pipeline, the gas has to be stepped down to enter the rest of the distribution system, so the project includes building an M&R Station at the corner of Grove and Centre Sts in West Roxbury directly opposite West Roxbury Crushed Stone, an active quarry/blasting zone. This dense neighborhood with three schools and a nursing home has narrow, curvy residential streets.
  • National Grid requested the WRL, originally stated for the purpose of expanding their business in West Roxbury. However, 95% of all homes and businesses in West Roxbury already have gas. Recent explanations acknowledge that the gas is for large institutional customers in Boston and others served by the City’s gas loop, not West Roxbury residents. Neither explanation justifies the WRL or its current location.
  • National Grid contracted with Spectra Energy—a Houston-based, Fortune 500 company—to build, own, and be responsible for maintaining the WRL.
  • The WRL could be moved away from the quarry into a non-residential area or it could be severed from the AIM project. The rest of the Algonquin expansion project could continue without the WRL.
  • None of the pipeline projects, and certainly not the 5-mile WRL, includes any commitment to lower or contain the cost of electricity for residents.
  • Boston’s Mayor and City Council, Dedham’s Board of Selectmen, the Mass. Representatives and Senators involved, U.S. Senators Warren and Markey, and U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch all object to the WRL as planned.


What Can You Do About the WRL?

Stay informed via any of these sources

Increase visibility

  • Tell friends and neighbors; share the links above and the actions below.
  • Spread the word via Facebook and Twitter (#pipelineWRox).
  • Tie a red ribbon to your fence, tree, railing, or anywhere visible from the street.
  • Get a “Stop the WRL” yard sign from info ($10).

Participate in vigils, walks, civil disobedience, and other actions

  • Check the Facebook pages listed above to find out about walks, vigils, and more.
  • Join the Monday evening vigils at 6:30 at the WRL Metering & Regulating Station site, corner of Grove and Centre Streets in West Roxbury.
  • Go to org to learn about other actions and trainings on civil disobedience.

Monitor the construction as it progresses in your town

  • Is Spectra following the specified conditions of construction for your town?
  • Let us know at wrse@westroxburysavesenergy.org if you see issues or violations at the construction sites so we can report them to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).
  • If you own or rent property near the route and have construction-related concerns, call the Spectra Algonquin Landowner Hotline: 866-871-0356. They claim to respond within 48 hrs. If Spectra doesn’t resolve your concerns satisfactorily, call the FERC Enforcement Hotline at 888-889-8030.
  • Keep an eye on the weekly Compliance Reports filed by Spectra on ferc.gov, docket CP14-96.

Press the press

The greater Boston media have barely covered Spectra’s Algonquin expansion project, which includes the WRL. But the WRL is a high-pressure addition, is all new, and is happening here and now. When media have covered the West Roxbury Lateral and pipelines in general—such as the Kinder Morgan project in western MA/southern NH—most reporters have not dealt with critical questions, such as:

  • Do we really need all this gas? Don’t just ask the gas companies! What are alternatives?
  • What is Spectra’s safety record? Don’t just ask Spectra!
  • When Spectra refers to the Algonquin expansion project as if it’s purely replacement pipes, point out that the WRL is 100% new and deserves the scrutiny that a new project requires.

Advocate to our elected officials—local officials, state Representatives and Senator, Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senators Warren and Markey

  • Do we really need four new pipelines of gas in MA? What is the crisis or impending population explosion that justifies this expensive, large and fast fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion?
  • Couldn’t we help our state’s economy and environment more by investing in renewable energies and in conservation, such as repairing gas leaks (which leak enough to serve 200,000 homes) and improving energy efficiency of homes and businesses? There are several bills currently in process in the Massachusetts legislature dealing with all of these aspects.
  • Thank Attorney General Maura Healey for investigating the overarching issue—do we really need all this gas? AG’s Boston office: (617) 727-2200, ago@state.ma.us.
  • Thank your local elected officials for fighting the pipeline in all the ways they have so far, and all the steps still to come.

 Show our elected officials that we don’t need more gas by using less now; conserve gas and electricity (much of which is generated using gas)

  • Arrange for an energy audit: masssave.com or renewboston.org.
  • Cut your electricity use by raising your air-conditioner temperature two degrees, using energy-efficient bulbs and “smart” power strips, and of course, turning things fully off when not in use.
  • In the cold seasons, turn your thermostat down two degrees.
  • For all seasons, make sure your home is insulated well.
  • Consider solar panels for electricity, or a solar hot water system.