A Fix for Natural Gas Leaks: Contact Your State Senator

Shanna Cleveland

Literally thousands of natural gas leaks, invisible to the naked eye, are releasing methane across Massachusetts right now. That’s right, Massachusetts, home of innovation and the clean tech economy is also home to some of the oldest natural gas pipelines in the country. Even the State House sits atop some pipelines from the 1800s.

The most recent count by local distribution companies like NStar, National Grid, and Columbia Gas, added up to 25,236 leaks.

Too often these leaks erupt from their invisibility through explosions that shatter lives and devastate communities.

At the same time they exact a heavy cost on customers who pay for the gas whether or not it makes it to their home or business–to the tune of $640 million to $1.5 billion between 2000-2011 according to a 2013 report by the office of Senator Edward J. Markey. Finally, the natural gas leaking into the atmosphere is made up of methane–a greenhouse gas 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. These leaks pose a serious threat to our efforts to reduce climate pollution.

The Massachusetts State House is atop 19th century gas pipelines.

The Massachusetts State House is atop 19th century gas pipelines.

The good news is that Massachusetts is on the cusp of taking action to fix these leaks and repair our antiquated gas system, but unless the current language is amended, it will be an incomplete fix, one that leaves almost 20,000 leaks without any timeline for repair and opens the door to gas expansion without a comprehensive review to make sure that proposals comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008.

That’s why we’re asking you to take action NOW! Call or email your senator and tell him or her that you support the amendments to the gas leaks bill proposed by Senator Eldridge, Senator Creem and Senator Tarr to fix more leaks, protect the climate and provide more information to the public. Let him or her know that you want to fix gas leaks and protect the climate by strengthening S. 2073.

The bill will be debated in the Senate, Thursday, April 10th. Make sure your voice is heard!

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