WRL Updates 2016

Following are all of the e-mail updates we sent in 2016 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 14, 2016

Dear all,

We have been awaiting word from National Grid that they are ready to put the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL), including the Metering & Regulating Station, into operation. They last told Rep. Coppinger that they would know the date by this past Monday. However, as of this afternoon, they still have been unable to provide him with a date.

Meantime I am attaching two documents. The first is a letter written by Senator Warren asking FERC to “suspend approval of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline . . . until safety concerns are addressed.” There is little doubt that FERC will respond indicating—as they always do—that safety concerns have been addressed in accordance with regulations. Nevertheless, we appreciate Sen. Warren’s letter, even though it comes at this late date.

Also attached is Spectra’s response to the letters from Mayor Walsh and the Boston Police and Fire Commissioners (which were attached to my last update). Spectra’s letter states multiple times that they are writing to “alleviate any concerns” about safety matters. They enumerate all the measures they have taken (per regulations). Needless to say, their letter does nothing to alleviate anyone’s concerns. I continue to try to confirm with the City that the letters from the Mayor and the Commissioners have been sent to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) contact I supplied, since PHMSA will be the entity monitoring and overseeing the WRL once it is put into operation.

Finally, I am very happy to inform you that this afternoon the Boston City Council passed the Gas Leaks Ordinance spearheaded by Councilor O’Malley these many months, with a vote of 12–1 (Councilor Baker voted against passing the measure). You can read a summary of the ordinance here, supplied by Boston Climate Action Network. Our deep gratitude goes out to the many individuals and groups who worked so hard on this ordinance, particularly the unfailing leadership provided by Councilor O’Malley.

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,  #RejectSpectraPipeline, #StopSpectra, #FightTheFlow

<WarrenWest Roxbury Lateral Pipeline final 12132016>
<SpectrareWalshCommissioners20161213-5292(31824094)>

 

November 30, 2016

Dear all,

Today Rep. Ed Coppinger was told by a National Grid representative that Spectra has put gas into the M&R Station but that Grid is not ready to put the pipeline into process yet. The representatives have said they will let Rep. Coppinger know when the line will be made operational.

On Monday, Nov. 28, Mayor Walsh and Commissioners Evans (Boston Police Department) and Finn (Boston Fire Department) sent the attached letters to FERC and Spectra/Algonquin, respectively. As you will see, they speak to the lack of a safety plan surrounding the West Roxbury Lateral and Spectra’s refusal to provide cooperation/information in this regard. However, once the WRL is operational, oversight of the pipeline will be in the hands of the US DOT department called the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), not FERC any longer. Consequently, I have asked that the Mayor’s Office to also send these letters to our regional director at PHMSA, since that is the office that needs to to be made aware of Spectra’s unwillingness to comply to requests and requirements related to safety procedures and information. I have spoken with a representative at PHMSA several times in recent weeks and get the impression they might actually take seriously the information provided by Mayor Walsh and our commissioners. We shall see.

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, #RejectSpectraPipeline, #StopSpectra, #FightTheFlow

<walshtobayferc-wr-112816-1>
<commissionerstospectracity-of-boston-correspondence20161129_18162310-3>

 

November 17, 2016

Dear all,

I am writing to bring you up to date on the appeal currently in process in federal court contesting the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project, of which the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) pipeline is part. In February 2016, three parties filed appeals of the certificate granted by FERC to Spectra Energy that allows Spectra to build AIM/the WRL: the so-called Boston Delegation (made up of Congressman Lynch; Mayor Walsh; Councilors O’Malley, Wu, and Flaherty; Rep. Coppinger; and Sen. Rush), the Town of Dedham, and a Coalition of environmental groups from across the four states affected by the Aim project. In late July 2016, initial briefs were filed; FERC issued their response to the briefs in September, and Spectra on October 28. (All of these filings have been attached to previous updates; you can also review them at http://westroxburysavesenergy.org/2015/05/west-roxbury-lateral-pipeline-updates/, where all previous updates can be found.)

Final briefs in the appeal have just been filed—one by the Boston Delegation and a combined one from the Town of Dedham and the Coalition. Both briefs are attached. My understanding is that this is the last step in the appeal process until oral arguments, which will take place in Washington, DC, and have not yet been scheduled. They will likely occur in spring 2017. The court’s decision will follow oral arguments, probably within two to six months afterward.

On November 9, Spectra requested that FERC grant authorization by November 28 for Spectra to place the WRL and the M&R Station into operation. Once Spectra receives this authorization, which could come any day, Spectra must place the pipeline and M&R Station into operation within 30 days. From what we have been seeing in recent weeks pursuant to Spectra’s requests to place other portions of the AIM project into operation, Spectra generally does so within two to three days of receiving authorization.

It is important to note that the commencement of the operation of the WRL does not lessen the importance of the federal appeal, which essentially was the only recourse provided to the city as a way to fight this project (Boston and other entities did file for an emergency stay on the construction, but that request was dismissed by the court last month). The gas can be turned off should the judge rule in favor of the appeal. Consequently, we should not view the operation of the WRL as the end of the line, as the appeal continues to move forward, albeit slowly. We should remember that the ability to file an appeal was postponed by nearly a year because FERC delayed their denial of the Requests for Rehearing filed by eight groups of Intervenors after the issuance of the certificate to Spectra allowing them to build AIM. The Boston Delegation and the other parties were in legal limbo (as FERC well knew) during that interim, as they could not appeal a denial that hadn’t been issued. However, as soon as FERC denied the Requests for Rehearing, the Boston Delegation, the Town of Dedham, and the Coalition moved forward with the appeal in federal court.

We appreciate outside attorney Tom Fitzpatrick’s efforts on behalf of the Boston Delegation in this appeal, as in previous legal efforts on our behalf. You may recall his mode of writing to be worth reading, in spite of these being legal documents, and I promise that if you peruse the attached brief, he does not disappoint this time either. We are also grateful to Carolyn Elefant and Jeff Bernstein, attorneys for the Coalition and the Town of Dedham, respectively, for their efforts.

As soon as oral arguments are scheduled, I will pass along that date.

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), #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<cob-reply-brief-in-16-1081>

<joint-reply-brief-filed>

 

November 10, 2016

Dear all,

On Tuesday evening I received word from Spectra’s attorney that Spectra had filed with FERC the required request asking that FERC authorize Spectra to place the West Roxbury Lateral “into service by November 28.” Spectra’s request appeared on the docket yesterday (and is attached below). Our expectation is that FERC will issue authorization any day, but most certainly by November 28, as requested.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<requestforservice20161109-500631772642>

 

October 11, 2016

Dear all,

Today Councilor Matt O’Malley received the following information via e-mail from one of Spectra’s attorneys. This came as followup to the meeting last week Spectra held with our first responders that was also attended by many of our elected officials.

“As discussed at the recent meeting in Westwood and noted in the attached, Algonquin Gas Transmission is preparing the West Roxbury Lateral to be placed into service (i.e., purge-and-pack). As gas is introduced into the pipeline this week, a small amount of natural gas will be released at the meter station in West Roxbury on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  All work is being coordinated with the local police and fire. The attached notice is also being hand-delivered to residents within the general vicinity of the meter station as noted on the map contained within the notice. Please let me know if you have any questions.”

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<final-wrl-purge-and-pack-notice>

 

October 5, 2016

Dear all,

Yesterday afternoon Spectra held a “U.S. Department of Transportation Mandated Public Liaison Meeting” (the subject line of the notice sent to invitees; full letter attached) at their Westwood offices. The meeting was not, in fact, open to the public but was intended for Spectra to “establish and maintain liaison with appropriate fire, police, and other public officials” in towns along the AIM pipeline, including the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL). The meeting was initially scheduled for three weeks ago, and our elected officials who planned to attend were discouraged from doing so, with Spectra’s attorney writing this to Rep. Coppinger upon postponement of that meeting: “Interstate gas pipeline companies conduct periodic meetings with First Responders in the communities where they have facilities—typically every three to five years. Was there a sense that this meeting was specific to Boston or the West Roxbury Lateral—because it wasn’t.” Nevertheless, our elected officials turned out in force yesterday for the rescheduled meeting, billed to last two hours but which ran to just over three hours, lengthened because our officials needed to repeatedly ask direct questions specific to the WRL, call out Spectra on its lack of information about the possible disaster scenarios around the WRL, and to insist that Spectra hold a community meeting to inform the residents about pipeline safety issues. Our elected officials and our representatives from the Boston Police and Fire Department were appalled and frustrated by the lack of any kind of preparedness information, including no evacuation plan, no details about how to handle an emergency scenario specific to the location of the WRL, no directions about whom to call other than 911 in the event of an emergency, and the obvious conclusion that the meeting in no way fulfilled the requirements as laid out by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in holding this meeting. Our officials hammered hard at the Spectra presenters, who ranged from being flip about disaster scenarios to admitting they had little or no information to impart in regard to safety preparedness or plans in the event of an emergency along the WRL. In light of this, our officials repeatedly insisted that Spectra hold a public meeting with the community prior to making the WRL operational.

The Spectra representatives were from the operational side of the business, so the one thing they were able to do was inform the attendees that Spectra is contractually committed to turning on the gas November 1, and that beginning next week (large) machines will be on site to blow air out of the line. Then they will begin slowly passing gas through the line to test that the pipes are properly connected. Spectra stated that all residents within 650 feet of the WRL will be notified prior to the start of this testing, but they could not tell our officials how far in advance this notification would take place.

I attach a few of the materials that were handed out yesterday, as they include some phone numbers and a bit of information. The other pages are generic and not of any use.

We are extremely grateful to all of the following for attending on the community’s behalf and for repeatedly and forcefully pushing Spectra to answer questions and confront the situation they have thrust upon the community by providing so little information to us in regard to the WRL: Rep. Ed Coppinger; City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Tim McCarthy; Sen. Mike Rush; Dan Lynch from Congressman Lynch’s office; Ann Cushing from Sen. Rush’s office; and Bill MacGregor from Councilor O’Malley’s office.

And our thanks to the following First Responder attendees: Command staff Superintendent Bernard O’Rourke (representing the Mayor’s Office), in charge of field services, which includes the environmental safety group; our new Area E-5 Police Captain Steven McLaughlin; and several of the top officials from the Boston Fire Department (my apologies for not having their names at this time). Dedham was also well represented by their first responders at the meeting, and they also had many questions for the Spectra representatives.

Thank you as well to the community members who stood peacefully outside the meeting to protest the pipeline and to thank our public officials for attending. Spectra insisted that they stand off the property, and Spectra staff took multiple photos of the protesters.

Clearly PHMSA officials need to be immediately contacted by our Police and Fire Departments and informed of the lack of information provided by Spectra, by Spectra’s cavalier attitude during their presentation, and about the serious lack of preparedness and details regarding any kind of protocol in case of an emergency along the WRL. Our first responders will be woefully unprepared for an emergency if this sham of a liaison meeting is all the information provided to them. The community and our public officials have had to deal with a complete lack of information from Spectra over the past two years, but our first responders cannot be expected to sit back and accept the same kind of disrespect and disregard when safety procedures, systems, and protocols are at stake.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<spectra-energy-public-liaison-meeting>
<spectrafirstrespondersmeeting>

 

October 1, 2016

Dear all,

Attached is the most recent step in the ongoing federal appeal in regard to the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project, of which the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) is part. You may recall that on July 31 I forwarded you the initial briefs filed by the Boston Delegation and the so-called Dedham Delegation (a combination of appealing parties) in DC circuit court. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) then had 60 days to respond to the briefs. FERC’s response is attached. Because FERC responded to both initial briefs in this one document, it is lengthy.

My understanding is that Spectra Energy (considered an “Intervenor” in this appeal) now has until October 28 to file a response. The Boston Delegation and parties in the Dedham Delegation then have until November 15 to reply. Our hope is that these responses will be coordinated by the attorneys.

If you have time to look over the attached response from FERC and identify any inaccuracies, errors, etc., please send them to me in the next week or two so that I may pass them along to the attorneys. The more eyes on this, the better.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<aimfercbriefrespondent>

 

August 15, 2016

Dear all,

As the construction of the Metering & Regulating (M&R) Station at the corner of Centre and Grove Streets continues at breakneck pace, many residents have been querying the size and number of the buildings at the site. Consequently, I recently contacted FERC’s project manager for AIM, of which the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline is part, to see if it was possible to obtain more details about the construction there since Spectra has refused to provide the community with drawings or other information about the M&R Station. She supplied the following information, along with the attached Landscape Plan, filed ten months ago as part of Spectra’s Implementation Plan (but from the dates on the drawings you can see that they were engineered in November 2014 and revised early in 2015, so the information has been around for a while but not shared by Spectra in spite of our requests).

When the number of buildings at the site reached four last week, many wondered why this many are required. According to FERC’s project manager, the four buildings are:
Algonquin Metering building
National Grid Regulator and Odorant building (the largest one)
Algonquin Electronic Gas Measurement Building
National Grid Electronic Gas Measurement Building

It is interesting to note that National Grid has two of the buildings. I am trying to find out whether and why Grid would be exempt from local zoning and building review; we had been under the impression that Spectra owned and operated all of the buildings at the M&R site.

We are also being told that the overall size of the site and some of the buildings is due to the need to drop the pressure into National Grid’s system; because the pressure is going from 750 psi to 22 psi, to reduce gas velocities and keep the noise levels down the pipe needs to be “larger and longer”; I assume this means larger and longer than a typical M&R Station’s, but then we are being told there is no such thing as a typical station.

Many have commented on the size of the WRL M&R Station in comparison to others in the area. The project manager says that every meter station is different. Others in the area may have had different pressure drops or may not have been odorized (“odorizing” is intended as a safety measure that allows people to detect if there is a gas leak, either in their home or along the distribution pipelines). In addition, some of the stations we have in the area could be just meter stations or some just regulator stations. Others (as with the WRL’s), are both—and consequently require more buildings.

The attached plan is difficult to read because nothing is labeled, and the color rendering does not tell us much about materials or exterior treatment. In addition, obviously the trees shown are fairly mature and, thus, large; the trees planted initially will not resemble these in size, but such representation is typical for renderings of this sort. Apparently a more detailed plan with labels exists, but it may not be considered public information, and we may need to file a version of a FOIA request in order to obtain it. I am awaiting word as to whether this drawing is indeed protected or whether we will be able to access it without filing such a request.

In another vein, please note that this Sunday, August 21, an Energy Forum will be offered at Faneuil Hall from noon to 2 pm. The forum takes place in conjunction with the annual Boston GreenFest at City Hall Plaza; visit here for more information. You can find the list of expert panelists on the attached flier. Come hear them discuss our energy future and find out what it really takes to keep the lights on in Massachusetts.

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), #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<Attachment B – WR M&R Landscape Plan 10-21-15>

<BGF 2016 Our Energy Forum Flyer (final)>

July 31, 2016

Dear all,

As you are aware, the so-called Boston Delegation is in the process of filing a federal appeal of FERC’s decision to deny the Delegation a rehearing of the certificate issued to Spectra Energy allowing Spectra to build the AIM project, which includes the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. On Friday, Initial Briefs were due to be filed with the DC Circuit. These briefs outline in detail the arguments against FERC’s issuance of the certificate. I am attaching the brief filed by the City’s outside council on behalf of the Boston Delegation. As with the Request for Rehearing filed by Mr. Fitzpatrick, the brief makes for good reading, as you will be able to anticipate simply from the table of contents. Please note that typos and minor errors may be corrected when the Final Brief is filed (so, for example, where Boston Latin is cited on p. 25 it can be corrected to Roxbury Latin).

FERC now has 60 days to respond to the two Initial Briefs filed (the second Initial Brief is also attached). Then petitioners then have 30 days to reply to FERC’s response.

As always, our thanks to the Boston Delegation for continuing this fight on behalf of our community and to attorney Tom Fitzpatrick and his team. Thanks also to attorneys Carolyn Elefant and Jeff Bernstein for for their work on the second brief and for filing on behalf of the Town of Dedham and a coalition of Intervenors.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<CityofBostonBrief>

<DEDHAMCOALITIONFINALALL72916>

July 25, 2016

Dear all,

In my last West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) update, at the beginning of this month, I informed you of Spectra’s arrogant July 1 filing with FERC requesting permission to increase initial recourse reservation charges (an increase in the rates for use of their pipes, which will ultimately be passed along to National Grid, which will no doubt then be passed along to us, the ratepayers) for the AIM project, of which the WRL is part. Spectra based this request on unanticipated project cost overruns totaling $126.7 million for the AIM project and $31.7 million for the WRL pipeline portion alone. In that e-mail I cited reasons why this request to raise their rates was troublesome, at the very least, and indicative of how Spectra conducts its business, as had these actual costs been presented to FERC initially when Spectra was requesting its certificate to build AIM, there is substantial likelihood the route of the WRL would have been questioned and/or moved due to these excessive construction costs.

In response to Spectra’s amendment request of July 1, a number of positive things have occurred. Congressman Lynch spearheaded a letter of protest that has been signed by Senators Warren and Markey as well as Mayor Walsh, Reps. Coppinger and McMurtry, Councilor O’Malley, and Sen. Rush. That letter is attached. We are very grateful to Congressman Lynch and his staff for their time and effort writing and filing this letter asking FERC to deny Spectra’s request for a rate increase.

In addition, the DC attorney (Carolyn Elefant) whom I mentioned in my last e-mail as among those currently filing appeals against the AIM project, wrote and filed a Motion to Dismiss in response to Spectra’s request for a rate increase amendment. It is excellent and is attached as well; I encourage you to read it.

Furthermore, our Boston Delegation then made a submission to FERC expressing support of Ms. Elefant’s Motion to Dismiss. So I am happy to say that the Boston Delegation’s attorney has now weighed in as well.

Finally, a great many of you also filed comments of protest against Spectra’s request, and these have also been duly recorded on the docket. Many, many thanks to all who took the time to express dissent in regard to Spectra’s request, intervenors and otherwise. WRSE filed the letter attached below.

Anyone who wishes to view all the comments and submissions online at FERC’s website (ferc.gov) may do so by going to the assigned number for the AIM project: docket #CP14-96.

Finally, I hope everyone saw the excellent piece by Al Gore’s daughter in Sunday’s Globe: “Why I Was Arrested in West Roxbury.” Our deepest thanks to Karenna Gore for all of her efforts on our behalf.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

<Lynch:Spectra WRL increased rate request protest letter Delegation letter signed>

<MotiontoDismiss20160719-5017(31585955)>

<City of Boston Statement Supporting Motion To Dismiss Application (2)>

<FERCdocketCP14-92comment>

 

July 7, 2016

Dear all,

The latest show of arrogance by Spectra Energy comes in the form of a document sent to FERC filed July 1 that requests an increase in the previously agreed-upon rates for the gas they are sending to the West Roxbury Lateral due to “an increase in the overall cost of construction of the AIM Project facilities resulting primarily from construction related costs to address permit conditions and to resolve stakeholder concerns.” In addition, Spectra asks for an expedited review (waiving hearings, etc.) because they expect the pipeline to be in operation by November 1, 2016 (as opposed to the early 2017 date we have seen previously) and need FERC’s approval by August 15, 2016, for the rate adjustment so that Spectra can resubmit for final approvals. You can see Spectra’s document making this request here:
http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20160701-5329

It is interesting (and apparently somewhat unusual) that Spectra treats the WRL and AIM separately in this document and in their breakdown of costs. According to the DC attorney who is filing an appeal on behalf of a number of environmental groups across the four states affected by AIM, while Spectra’s original estimate did include escalation costs, the increases have exceeded those that were anticipated and this is why Spectra is asking for a rate increase. Here is the comparison from the original Exhibit K (FERC Access #20140228-5269) in the application and the revised Exhibit K submitted to support the request in increased rates, provided by the same attorney:

Labor: $34 million vs. $58 million
Engineering/Inspection: $16.3 million vs. $17 million
Overhead: $5.9 million vs. $7.7 million
Materials: $2.4 million vs. $7.7 million

So, what does all of this mean? Certainly Spectra’s attempt to make more money on the WRL stays within character so perhaps should not be surprising. However, had these costs been reviewed initially with the application, it is at least possible (and perhaps likely?) that one of the alternative routes for the WRL we requested to avoid the dense neighborhood and the quarry might have been not only less dangerous but less expensive; and who can say what might have happened then? Additionally, as the DC attorney also points out, this request by Spectra sets a very bad precedent. In her words: “Why should ratepayers, rather than Spectra, bear the costs of making a pipeline more palatable (for want of better word since the pipeline really isn’t palatable under any circumstances) to stakeholders? Typically, mitigation costs are considered costs of doing business and they’re ‘eaten’ by shareholders, not passed on to ratepayers. If mitigation costs are substantial, that is an economic signal that the pipeline should be sited elsewhere. Approving these costs lets the pipeline have its cake and eat it too—it can pick whatever spot it wants for the pipeline and then pass on any added costs to ratepayers.”

We are in the process of trying to learn what can be done to combat this request by Spectra to increase rates because of their construction costs of a pipeline the ratepayers don’t want and don’t need. In an issuance from FERC I received today, FERC requests that all comments on Spectra’s request for “limited amendment” of the certificate be received by July 18; be sure to include Docket # CP14-96-002 in any comments you send. (Please see below for further information on how to file a comment at FERC’s website.) At the very least we should send comments th at demand a hearing on this request, a hearing that Spectra has asked to have waived (for obvious reasons). We have asked the DC attorney to confer with the Boston attorneys and see if there is any legal recourse. It has also been suggested that we might ask our legislators to pass a law that forbids passing increased pipeline construction costs on to the ratepayers, but the tight time frame makes this difficult. Additional ideas and thoughts about comments we can send to FERC are welcome as we continue to pursue this. Please send comments objecting to this latest money grab by Spectra on the backs of ratepayers for Spectra’s infrastructure costs.

We also want to let you know that a second City Council Hearing on the Boston Gas Leaks Elimination Ordinance introduced by Councilor O’Malley back in April will be held this coming Tuesday, July 12, at 1 pm (in the City Council Chamber, 5th Floor). If you can attend to show support for this ordinance, please do so. The ordinance includes prioritizing gas leaks by risk and volume; allowing for a real-time and objective public monitoring of leaks; improving coordination between utility companies and the city during road work; and establishing a six-year time frame for fixing any leak. Currently National Grid has little or no incentive to fix gas leaks since we—National Grid ratepayers—pay the nearly $90 million per year for the lost gas.We need this legislation to put a stop to leaks that are spewing methane into our air and killing our trees and also to end ratepayers’ footing the bill for wasted gas. If you want to give testimony at the hearing, let Councilor O’Malley know at matthew.omalley@boston.gov. For more information: https://bostoncan.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/whats-in-bostons-proposed-gas-leak-ordinance/.

Not only are we grateful to Councilor O’Malley for taking the initiative on the gas leaks ordinance, but we appreciate very much his support of the ongoing resistance to the construction of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline in our neighborhood. This morning Councilor O’Malley was on hand at the site of the Metering & Regulating Station to witness the resistance and offer encouraging words (WHDH coverage). As always, you can learn about resistance plans as well as how to get training for nonviolent civil disobedience action at resistthepipeline.org. If you haven’t already heard, last week’s efforts were dramatic and huge, including many who risked arrest, not least of whom were Karenna Gore, Al Gore’s daughter (her first arrest); and well-known and inspiring environmental activist Tim DeChristopher (WHDH coverage). The community greatly appreciates the courage and boldness of the many dozens of nonviolent civil disobedient resisters who have risked arrest at the WRL construction site these many months.

Perhaps you will consider participating in the upcoming People Over Pipelines March, which will take place over four days (July 14–18) and during which hundreds of people will be marching the route of the Spectra pipeline, from Medway to the Boston State House, via West Roxbury. The West Roxbury Lateral portion will be on Saturday, July 16, and will include a rally in West Roxbury. You can join the march at any point and walk for 5 minutes or 5 miles. The march culminates with a rally at the State House in Boston on Monday morning, July 19. For more information and to register: peopleoverpipelines.org.

Finally, I heard this morning that many in the community surrounding the WRL are eschewing resistance action and involvement because the pipeline “is a done deal.” Please tell your friends and neighbors that even if the gas begins flowing the end of this year, it can be turned off later. Although the City’s legal appeal will not be acted on until the spring of 2017, if at that time the certificate to build AIM is reconsidered, the gas will be turned off, even though the pipeline is in the ground. This has happened before and it can happen again.

Rickie Harvey

Here is what FERC sent in regard to filing a comment about Spectra’s amendment request:
Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas
Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filing[s]:

Docket Numbers: CP14-96-002
Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC
Description: Abbreviated application for limited amendment of the
certificate of public convenience and necessity
Filed Date: 7/01/16
Accession Number: 20160701-5329
Comments Due: 5 pm ET 7/18/16

The filings are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking
on the links or querying the docket number.
Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings
must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Regulations
(18 CFR § 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 pm Eastern time on the
20160707-3021 FERC PDF (Unofficial) 07/07/2016
CNFGAS07072016 3
specified date(s). Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to
become a party to the proceeding.
eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing
requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can
be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other
information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

 

June 22, 2016

Dear all,

It has been a while since I have written. I hope you all are well. I do not have a lot of news, but I would like to share with you the upcoming briefing schedule for the appeal.

First, to recap: three parties of which I am aware are appealing in federal court FERC’s denial of our Requests for Rehearing of the certificate issued to Spectra Energy to proceed with building the AIM project, a part of which is the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. In addition to the City of Boston Delegation (which is made up of Mayor Walsh; City Councilors O’Malley, Wu, Pressley, and Flaherty; Congressman Lynch; Rep. Coppinger; and Sen. Rush), the Town of Dedham is filing an appeal. The third appeal is coming from a Coalition of groups (including West Roxbury Saves Energy) from across the four states affected by AIM, and the Coalition has retained the same attorney who filed our Request for Rehearing to file the appeal.

The attorney who is handling the Coalition appeal has just let us know that the parties have agreed on the following briefing schedule: petitioners’ (those filing appeals) briefs will be filed by July 29. FERC then has 60 days by which to respond. Then the appealing parties have 30 days to reply. The appealing parties have asked to file two briefs with a combined word count, as the court does not allow three separate full-length briefs to be filed. The City of Boston Delegation will file one brief, and the Coalition will file with Dedham.

I have written to the attorney handling the appeal for the Boston Delegation since receiving this information but have not had these dates or this plan confirmed as of yet. My hope is that we will receive a copy of the brief filed by Boston; if so, I will forward it, along with FERC’s response when issued, and the reply subsequently filed by the petitioners.

In the meantime, please be aware that vigils at the construction site are happening now on a daily basis, and that in addition, to date dozens of people have been arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience after stepping into the site of the construction of the pipeline. Resistance including risking arrest continues in stepped-up fashion over the next week and into the summer. You can join the local pipeline fighters as well as the climate warriors who have been arriving in West Roxbury from across the region by attending and supporting these actions that are designed to block the pipeline construction. Starting tomorrow and over the next week, much is planned. For a full schedule of actions and further details, go to resistthepipeline.org and/or bit.ly/EscalationSummer on Facebook.

We greatly appreciate City Councilors Annissa George and Ayanna Pressley’s attendance and vocal support of the resistance at the recent rally against the pipeline organized by Mothers Out Front and hope to see them again—as well as other elected officials offering support—at one or more of the upcoming actions these next seven days or as the summer progresses.

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),  #RejectSpectraPipeline (when tweeting red ribbon photos), and #StopSpectra

 

March 29, 2016

Dear all,

Several weeks ago we asked Councilor O’Malley to request that the City of Boston’s Legal Department and outside counsel consider filing for a stay on construction of the West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) pipeline while the appeal process plays out. As reported in my last e-mail update, the appeal process is quite lengthy, and during the time that the various legal steps are pursued, construction of the WRL will resume in the middle of April, and Spectra will forge ahead over the coming months with building its pipeline and M&R Station.

This afternoon I received a call from the City’s counsel and the outside counsel to explain to me the reason they have decided it is not in the best interest of the appeal’s success to file for a stay on construction. I will do my best to summarize their major points here.

Their research did not show that the DC Circuit has ever granted a stay in a FERC pipeline appeal. The standard for granting a stay is that immediate irreparable harm must be shown to occur if a stay is not granted. While horrible things might happen in the future by building the WRL, potential future harm does not meet this standard.

So why not file for a stay anyway and just see what happens? In laying out the merits for the stay, all of the arguments of the appeal would need to be put before the court and argued. It is the judgment of the attorneys that, in light of the fact that they see no chance of a stay’s being granted, it would be harmful to the success of the appeal to lay out all of these arguments and then come back a few months later for the appeal and lay them out again, at which point the judge remembers hearing them previously and having dismissed them once already. The attorneys’ goal is to do everything they can to enhance the merits of the appeal and avoid doing anything that might impair the success of the appeal even marginally. It is their opinion that filing for a stay, therefore, might not be in the best interest of successfully completing the appeal.  

I asked if they did not feel that the appeal judge would be swayed by the fact that the WRL was fully constructed and gas flowing by the time he/she rules; wouldn’t this make it harder for a judge to rule in favor of the City’s appeal in light of the reality “on the ground”? It is the attorneys’ feeling that this will not affect the judge’s decision, that there is regimented analysis the judge will consider and he/she will decide on the basis of whether FERC did its job correctly or not in granting the certificate.

I am not a lawyer, but the reasoning as described to me makes sense. It is my opinion that the stay action has been fully and thoughtfully considered and rejected on the basis of the attorneys’ best judgment about how to go forward in a way that most positively affects the outcome of the appeal of the certificate. I write this, even as I acknowledge we would like nothing more than to find a legal way to stop construction as the appeal process plays out.

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)

 

 

March 10, 2016

Dear all,

A number of you have been asking for more details about how the City’s current appeal of the AIM certificate might play out, in terms of timing and process. As far as I have been able to determine, the appeal process will be lengthy and will likely occur as follows (provided to me by the D.C. attorney representing a coalition of environmental groups in an appeal).

After all of the petitions are filed, there will be about 30 days to file preliminary informational forms (mostly procedural formalities) and for FERC to enter an  “appearance,” which I understand to mean that Spectra will either submit to or challenge the court’s jurisdiction, again mostly procedural. The court will consolidate the petitions, and the parties can either agree on a briefing schedule, or if not, the court will probably issue one by mid May. The schedule usually goes as follows:

45 days for petitioner brief;
60 days for FERC response;
21 days for petitioners’ reply;
14 days to file Joint Appendix;
14 days to file final briefs with Joint Appendix citations (references to documents etc. referenced in the Joint Appendix).

Briefing finishes up some time in early fall 2016 and the appeal will be on the oral argument calendar for sometime in spring 2017, with a decision out within 2-6 months after that. A long process, indeed. Many thanks to Brian Cronin of Rep. Coppinger’s office for explaining some of the legal terms used here and for confirming that “this schedule as laid out is based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure’s time frames and are typically pretty firm absent any exigent circumstances that the Court is made aware of.” Of course things could change if modifications or extensions occur.

Please make note of two upcoming events. This coming Monday, March 14, at 7 pm, several anti-pipeline groups are holding a Community Forum/Teach-In about the WRL pipeline at the Theodore Parker Church (1859 Centre St., WR). Panelists will discuss various aspects of the project, and everyone is welcome to attend with questions and concerns. For fuller details, please visit swirl.info.

In addition, on March 31, from 6:30 to 8 pm, Attorney General Healey’s Energy and Environment Bureau (EEB) is hosting the first of its “Listening Sessions.” Billed as an evening of “learning and sharing information about environmental and energy issues that are important to us and our community,” after a brief overview of the work of the EEB, the remainder of the session will be devoted primarily to hearing from residents about our concerns.

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)

 

February 29, 2016

Dear all,

This afternoon many of you who either receive the “service” e-mails for the AIM docket because you have intervenor status or follow the WRL pipeline Facebook page or subscribe to Chris Rusk’s newsletter will have seen that today Mayor Walsh’s outside counsel filed a “Petition for Review” on behalf of the so-called Boston Delegation in regard to the appeal of FERC’s denial for rehearing that was issued the end of last month. (The petition is attached.) The petition has been filed in the federal Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

Because the petition is only two sentences in length and was filed 30 days prior to the appeal deadline, you (like I was) might be wondering about the meaning of this document since it makes no arguments and appears perfunctory. Consequently, I inquired about the nature of the petition and have been told the following by the City’s counsel. The petition filed today initiates the appellate process (among other things, choosing the location for the Delegation’s appeal; other venues were considered). When I asked if the arguments for appeal would not be put forth until the actual hearing, in person, I was told that the attorney will file a brief later in the process but prior to the hearing (presumably this brief will contain the arguments).

As we learn additional information about the timing or the process, I will pass it along. You might be interested to know that at least two other appeals are planned, by the Town of Dedham and by a coalition of environmental groups across the four states affected by AIM who will be represented by the same DC attorney who filed the Request for Rehearing on behalf of this coalition. To date, I do not have further details about the appeals, but hopefully more will become clear with time.

In my last e-mail, when I told you that the City had decided to appeal the denial, I should have let you know that we owe a debt of gratitude to our local elected officials Rep. Coppinger, Councilor O’Malley, and Sen. Rush—in addition to Congressman Lynch—for the significant (and ultimately successful) role they played in advocating heavily that this appeal be pursued. We continue to appreciate their support on this issue.

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)

Petition for Review

 

February 3, 2016

Dear all,

I have just learned that Mayor Walsh—on behalf of the so-called Boston Delegation that has Intervenor status for the AIM project that includes the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline—will be appealing FERC’s decision of last week to deny the Delegation’s Request for Rehearing that was filed in regard to the certificate that was issued by FERC nearly a year ago allowing Spectra to proceed with their high-pressure pipeline project. The appeal will be made in federal court and must be filed within 60 days of last week’s denial.

It is my understanding that the same outside counsel who wrote the Boston Delegation’s excellent Request for Rehearing will be preparing the appeal.

We are grateful that the Mayor, Congressman Lynch, and our other elected officials who make up the Boston Delegation are willing to take this step on the community’s behalf and appreciate their continued efforts to stop this dangerous and ill-conceived project.

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)

 

January 28, 2016

Dear all,

Several hours ago FERC finally issued their denial of the multiple Requests for Rehearing of the AIM certificate (of which the West Roxbury Lateral is part). You may recall that these Requests had to be filed by March 3, 2014, and instead of responding to the Requests within the allotted time frame, FERC issued a so-called tolling order. The tolling order meant that FERC did not need to issue a response within the time limit but that they were obligated to allow Spectra to proceed with construction, placing us in a kind of limbo; while the tolling order was in effect and no denial of the Requests was issued, no one with Intervenor status could appeal the denial in federal court because you can’t appeal a denial that hasn’t been issued.

But the denial has now been issued. This was as expected (it was always highly unlikely that FERC would find themselves to be at fault in issuing the certificate, a classic outcome of a group’s being in a position of evaluating itself). If you read the denial document (link below), it tells us nothing we did not expect: FERC simply states—and restates—that they disagree with all of the arguments made by the Intervenors in their Requests for Rehearing. FERC diminishes some arguments made and claims others are simply mistaken. But you can read for yourself.

The importance of finally getting a denial is that now the door is open for any and all Intervenors to appeal the denial of the Requests for Rehearing in federal court. It is by no means too late to do this, even as it would have been preferable to have been able to pursue this avenue last spring. As we all know, Mayor Walsh and Congressman Lynch and the other elected officials who make up the “Boston Delegation” of Intervenors have on numerous occasions stated they would fight the location of the WRL by all means possible. They now have the one we have been waiting for: the ability to appeal the denial of their Request for Rehearing.

It is important to remember that the only bases of appeal can be arguments that have already been made in one or more of the eight Requests for Rehearing. No new issues can be raised in the appeal. But if you scan the denial, you will see that a great many topics have been covered, and FERC’s inadequately addressing these topics and their elision of many of the details of the arguments could form the basis of the appeal.

It behooves us at this time to ask the Mayor and the Congressman and our local elected officials (all of whom are Intervenors referred to in the denial as the Boston Delegation) to appeal the denial of the Request for Rehearing in federal court, and that they do so without delay.
Mayor Walsh: 617-635-4500 and/or mayor@boston.gov
Congressman Lynch via Dan Lynch: 617-428-2000 and/or dan.lynch@mail.house.gov
Jerome Smith: 617-635-4316 and/or jerome.smith@boston.gov
Chris Rusk: 617-635-4818 and/or christopher.rusk@boston.gov

Here is the link to FERC’s denial of the Requests for Rehearing and also their dismissal of the stay requests that were made:  http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20160128-3073

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)

 

January 13, 2016

Dear all,

My apologies for the length of this e-mail but I feel it is important to quote National Grid and Spectra directly rather than try to summarize.

As you know, we have been hoping the Mayor’s Office would be able to schedule a community meeting with Spectra to show us the design plans for the Metering & Regulating (M&R) Station to be built across from the quarry and allow the community to ask questions and offer comments as part of the promised “mitigation talks.” Just before Christmas, Jerome Smith told Rep. Coppinger that the City was pushing Spectra to hold a meeting in January to show the plans for the M&R Station but that Spectra was saying they were under no obligation to do so because of the eminent domain ruling. I then e-mailed Spectra’s attorney to remind him of his commitment in writing to me this past spring and on an earlier occasion that they would present the design plans to us “at the appropriate time”; he responded on Dec. 23 thus: “As of yesterday, discussion with the Mayor was continuing. I am sure that his office will notify you of the results of those discussions.” The holidays behind us, last week Rep. Coppinger and I sent multiple texts and left multiple phone messages for Jerome Smith and Chris Rusk asking for an update. At a civic association meeting Monday night, Chris Rusk told attendees that he had no information about a meeting with Spectra to scrutinize at the plans. If we learn anything, we will pass it along, but of course with each passing week we are less likely to be able to influence the design plans, even were Spectra to agree to present them.

Many of you are aware that last week a gas leak was discovered at the corner of Centre and Grove Streets, across from the quarry at the site of the M&R Station. The leak was reported by a nearby resident, and several residents have spoken to various employees of National Grid who came to the site to assess it. These conversations provided varying information, and it has been unclear what steps Grid was planning to take in repairing the leak. Consequently, Rep. Coppinger contacted a Grid representative with my questions about what caused the leak and what grade the leak is as well as whether the plan was to repair the leak prior to Spectra’s continuing work on the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline and/or M&R Station. Joseph Carroll, Grid’s Director of Community and Customer Management, told Rep. Coppinger that the leak is a level 3 and that because of the gas leaks bill of 2014 they technically have 12 months to repair it but they are required to make periodic checks. However, because of the pipeline work, Mr. Carroll is expediting the repair, in the hopes of having it complete by Saturday or soon thereafter. Mr. Carroll told Rep. Coppinger that the leak is in an old pipe, not in one of the replacement pipes laid in the past year. In addition, Mr. Carroll wrote the following to Rep. Coppinger in an e-mail yesterday evening: “Although I have not been out to that specific area during the investigation by our field technicians, I am aware that readings were found within a gat box. As with any odor call that we respond to, a thorough investigation is performed by the responding technician and their findings will prompt the appropriate next steps to be taken. Since this investigation deemed this was not an emergency finding, whereby excavation would have been  performed in an immediate fashion, the next step involves documenting the paperwork with specific field findings and transferred to the supervisor of the area. This current location is going through that step, where we are performing 2 parallel activities; (a) we are submitting a permit to excavate in the street into the City of Boston – a step required to excavate in the field (side note, if emergency was deemed here, we would have the opportunity to work immediately through an existing process that has been in place), and (b) we are calling into Dig Safe; a Mass Law requiring notification to all entities with underground infrastructure whereby the responding entities will mark out their own underground infrastructure. The dig safe process on this particular location allows 3 business days for responding to the request, following which we will then be in the legal right to excavate. As for the permit within the City of Boston, I would expect this paperwork to be accomplished so as to make our ability valid following the dig safe process. I will update you on this process. As for the reason of this odor, I will not know until the excavation is accomplished.”

Our thanks to those who discovered the leak and brought it to the attention of National Grid and to Rep. Coppinger for helping us get a formal response from Grid to our questions.

Another of our residents has been in touch with a member of the Spectra team she reached via Spectra’s hotline number (866-871-0356) and today this Right-of-Way Agent e-mailed the following:
“The current plans for the M&R are:
Going forward…Weather Permitting…
We installed a rock access pad to the site
Environmental Control Devices (“EDC”s) such as straw and hay bales are next to be installed
Once they are in properly, we will clear trees (minimizing the number of trees as best we can)
Top Soil will be next to be segregated
Then, Weather Permiting, we will grade the area in preparation for construction.
Weather Permitting we will then lay the foundation for the site.
I was unsuccessful at obtaining any drawings or maps. Instead, I was asked to suggest that you visit the FERC website. The web address iswww.ferc.gov. Everything that has been filed will be available on this site.”

It would surprise me if Spectra actually posted detailed construction plans on FERC’s site, but we will look for them there. If anyone finds them first, I would appreciate your sending me the link.

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)

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