Saturday, June 27, 2015

Historical Moments

I would just like to say how proud I am to be an American today.

I'm not always proud of my country. When we invade another country, when we watch as our government officials are bought and sold to the highest bidder behind the scenes, when we allow companies to damage our environment and hurt our citizens all in the name of corporate profit I am tempted to pull the brim of my hat low over my eyes, flip up my collar and go on the lam, like a crimeless Carmen Sandiego. I never do, though, and instead I roll up my sleeves and get busy working to change the things that need changing.

Today is a day that reminds me why I stay and do the heavy lifting. Congratulations to the people who are now legally able to be married today. Congratulations to all the people who still have their health insurance because the SCOTUS voted in favor of the affordable care act. And, while I don't live there, congratulations to all the people in California who determined that whatever beliefs you hold do not allow you to force disease onto other people and have removed the religious exemptions for vaccination requirements. We should all join hands and rejoice in our success. Let's continue to make sure all of our citizens are healthy, happy and included in all of the very best parts of our society.

Monday, June 22, 2015

No Compressor For Weymouth!

Spectra Energy wants to build a gas compressor station at the base of the Fore River Bridge in North Weymouth as part of the expansion of their pipelines through New England. This would be incredibly dangerous for local residents and expensive for everyone in Massachusetts.

Compressor stations are explosive. Spectra is quick to tell you that they have never had an explosion but a simple Google search brings up a list of multiple compressor and pipeline explosions associated with Spectra and their subsidiaries/affiliates.  If this compressor explodes it will damage or destroy the bridge and half a dozen volatile regional facilities such as the Calpine power plant that also border the new bridge, not to mention the significant number of homes within a half mile radius of the compressor site in Weymouth, Quincy and Braintree.

Compressors also vent toxic gases including methane, toluene, radon and benzene 24 hours a day. When cleaning, repairing, or working on the pipelines they have to vent massive amounts of pollutants to empty the lines to allow access by their employees. During an explosion the compressor would release hundreds of thousands of metric tons of pollutants into our environment.

Spectra says they’re expanding the pipes to meet increasing energy needs and to lower gas prices. This is untrue. Much of the fracked gas that would be shipped through these pipes will go to Canada for offshoring purposes as LNG. Canadian media outlets have been very honest about this in their reports. Governor Baker has stated he is considering a tariff on utility rate payers to fund the expansion of the pipelines, passing the cost of Spectra’s infrastructure onto Massachusetts residents.

Spectra also says construction of the compressor will bring jobs to the area. They fail to mention that the jobs created by the compressor will be a small number of temporary construction jobs with no guarantee of hiring local labor. There is one potential full time job for someone to monitor the station during the workday. All other monitoring would be done remotely from Texas.

Spectra isn’t worried about any of these things. They don’t have to be. They don’t live here.