ACTION AT A DISTANCE
We know that many of you, like most of us, are scrambling to adjust to the ever-shifting landscape of dealing with the COVID-19 emergency. As we adjust our routines and make sure to take care of ourselves and others, it can seem hard to step back and take a look at what’s happening in the political / environmental arena. But for those with time and interest to keep an eye out, there are many concerning items to pay attention to as the wheels of the fossil fuel industry and energy policy makers continue to turn.
Please see below for actions you can take from home to keep the ball rolling to help our environment, the climate and the health of our communities.
And please take care in these trying times,Rosemary Wessel
Program Director, No Fracked Gas in Mass
PIPELINE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
WEYMOUTH COMPRESSOR STATION
Action Item: Urge FERC to Shut Down Construction
With the spread of COVID-19, we are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to suspend construction of the Weymouth compressor station, in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus. Earlier this week, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that construction in the city of Boston would be shut down for some time. We think the same needs to happen at the compressor station construction site. This isn’t just about the compressor station, it’s about protecting the community and workers from an ongoing public health crisis. The construction site does not have access to proper sanitation stations, like soap and water, and workers can’t consistently work 6 feet apart. We call on FERC, OSHA, and related agencies to do the right thing by suspending construction in order to protect the public’s health.
TENNESSEE GAS 261 UPGRADEAction Item: Urge FERC to Shut Down Construction
As of March 24, construction has begun
for the Tennessee Gas 261 Upgrade project in Agawam, MA. This is despite the order for businesses to shut down on-site work for non-essential industries. With essentially no customers left for this project (the transfer to Eversource of Columbia Gas’ contracts for this project is still pending), there is no way to justify this project as essential.
What can you do?
Submit a comment to FERC
, cc’ing key regulatory agencies and elected officials» See instructions here
MASSACHUSETTS EEA ENERGY POLICY
2050 Decorbonization Carbonization Roadmap Meeting
Up until early this month, the Mass Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs was planning a series of public meetings to get input on the 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap - the state’s plan to reach goals to cut carbon emissions by 2050. They were canceled amid the COVID-19 precautions. Now EEA has scheduled an webinar version of the meeting for this Friday. (We have some collected thoughts and talking points on MA energy policy and goals here
Please note that you are also welcome to submit comments in writing.
Stakeholders are invited to submit written comments on the draft determination letter through 5pm on April 10, 2020
Comments should be submitted through the online form here.
NOTICE FROM EEA:
Thank you for your interest in our events, 2050 Roadmap Public Meetings: Building Solutions to Address Climate Change in the Commonwealth. While some of you were able to join our in-person events in Worcester and Fall River (the audio recordings and slides have been placed online at www.mass.gov/2050Roadmap), we unfortunately had to cancel the remaining events through the state out of precaution for COVID-19.
We will now be hosting a webinar version of this public meeting this Friday, March 27th from 9-10:30am. Please register in advance at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1529825700275113997. We will make that webinar recording available so that if you are not able to join us for the “live” webinar, you can play the recording after the fact. We realize that many schedules have been disrupted over the past several weeks, but hoping a recorded webinar will be the best way to accommodate these disruptions. The recording will be posted to www.mass.gov/2050Roadmap within 1-2 working days of the 27th.
During the webinar, we will try our best to facilitate public feedback, though given all the change over the past several weeks, we realize we will need to rely more on written feedback than originally planned. We are particularly seeking feedback on the 2050 emissions limit through the form on our website, and have decided to make the submissions on the 2050 limit publicly available after they have all been received (deadline is 4/10 by 5 pm). We hope in these ways, we are able to make any public comments truly public. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to participate in this new structure, please let me know.
I hope you can either join us on Friday or watch the webinar recording at another time, and encourage you to submit written feedback (either generally or on the 2050 limit by 4/10, using the forms set up at www.mass.gov/2050Roadmap). Otherwise, wishing you the best in this challenging situation.
Claire Miziolek, Decarbonization Roadmap Study Manager
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
As Coronavirus Worsened, Trump Admin
Pushed Offshore Drilling and Gas Exports
By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog
March 23, 2020
With major cities and states issuing stay-at-home orders as coronavirus cases have swept throughout the United States, the Trump Administration opened the floodgates for more offshore drilling and issued a permit for a long contested gas export project.
On March 18, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a lease sale for 397,285 acres of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico that attracted bids by companies such as BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, BHP Billiton and a slew of smaller independent drillers. A day later, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) handed a permit to the long-embattled Jordan Cove LNG export facility, located in Coos Bay, Oregon.
The permits came as the administration considers handing a multi-billion dollar bailout to the oil and gas industry, whose financial problems long preexist the nascent economy-wide recession set into motion by COVID-19. Climate advocates have criticized the moves made by the Trump Administration.