Letter: Article 20’s Pipeline Resolution; Standing with over 50 Massachusetts Towns

Article 20’s Pipeline Resolution; Standing with over 50 Massachusetts Towns
Tuesday, November 15th Upton will be having a Special Town Meeting at Nipmuc High School at 7pm.Article 20 (text Attached) is the last on the warrant, and perhaps one of the most important ones to stay and vote for, so please plan accordingly! It will be discussing the resolution of opposition concerning the Spectra gas pipeline proposal that would greatly impact, and run through Upton, if approved.
On May 27, 2016, following a citizen’s forum in which the voices of citizens were heard concerning this proposal, our Board of Selectmen stated in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that there were: “concerns by the Town of Upton regarding the environmental impacts of this project, as well as other concerns that lead us to request that you reconsider this project, or at the very least a route that does not include the Town of Upton,”
While FERC is the federal body that will have the final say in either approving or rejecting this project, our non-binding resolution would act to simply send a stronger message to legislators, and to FERC in solidarity with over 50 other Massachusetts towns that have passed similar resolutions. 
Why should we support this resolution in opposing this particular pipeline project?
  • No Real Need– This particular pipeline proposal is full of holes and not to the benefit of consumers in Mass. MOST important to note is that our state did a comprhensive study proving there is no need for more gas capacity to us in Mass, even on our coldest months. We are growing less dependant on fossil fuels, and in the meantime the pipelines we currently have, supply all the gas we need for the next 5 + years, even when considering growth.  http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2015/2015-11-18-electric-reliability-study.html
  • Puts JOBS at Risk– The world is changing and so is our energy. There is tremendous evidence suggesting that the majority of the gas for Spectra’s project (hence the very large pipe size) is intended to travel  to Canada for export, and that Spectra may be using Massachusetts as a thoroughway, and to set up future expansion of fossil fuel reliance here. It does not benefit Massachusetts residents to be investing in NEW fossil fuel infrastructure as it undermines our IN-STATE JOBS. We have a  BOOMING Jobs industry in Renewable energy in Mass. This past year, Massachusetts experienced the largest single-year of growth in the industry – at 11.9 percent.   That’s 98,895 total clean energy workers, and these are well-paying jobs, with nearly three-quarters of full-time clean energy workers earning more than $50,000 per year – above the overall median wage of $44,678 for all jobs in Massachusetts. Pipeline construction jobs are low paying and very short lived. We must protect our state product, as we are #1 in the Country on this.Look at these amazing stats. $11Billion TOWARDS Mass state product. We would be stealing these jobs from our kids and giving them overseas. Think about it.  http://greentownlabs.com/massachusetts-clean-energy-industry/
  • Fails to meet Climate Goals-This resolution is a no brainer, especially when considering the Supreme Court Justice June 12th ruling of this year, where the state of Massachusetts was sued by children via Conservation Law Foundation for not meeting Massachusetts climate goals, and the children won. Massachusetts is liable for ensuring the future of our children and for our state. Spectra’s proposal sets us back on ensuring a clean future and job opportunities right here in Massachusetts for the next generation. http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-12/massachusetts-kids-win-landmark-climate-ruling
  • Fix what’s broken first!– There is also the tremendous issue of the amount of gas leaks in CURRENT pipeline infrastructure in Mass totally 20,000+.  The State is aware of these leaks and is liable if anything were to  happen. These need to be fixed as a top priority before new pipelines are proposed. Massachusetts intends on fixing them, but not for several years out. These new pipes do not replace old leaking ones, they only add to the problem. Check out this interactive map that showcases how even our small town of Upton has over 14 leaks. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24082015/mapping-invisible-natural-gas-leak-methane-massachusetts-google-edf
  • If this resolution passes on November 15th, and people come out and vote YES for it, we would be joining over 50 towns in Massachusetts that have passed similar resolutions in at their town meetings, and over 80 towns across New England that have done the same. http://www.nofrackedgasinmass.org/town-meetings/
  • There are many more numbers of public safety, environmental, and health concerns these pipelines also present.
Other towns affected by Spectra Energy’s “Access Northeast” proposed pipeline route for both the Q1 loop portion and the West Boylston lateral section of the pipe would include: Franklin, Canton, Bellingham, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Medway, Milford, Upton, Grafton, Millbury, Sutton, Shrewsbury, Boylston, West Boylston. We truly hope some of these towns, that have yet not,  will consdier proposing their own resolutions.
Thank you for taking the time to read through these well researched considerations when making an informed decision on Novemeber 15th. You have the power to shape the economy and world we leave behind to our childrenhere in Massachussetts. You have the power to make a better future. Thank you.
Lara Wahl

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