March 8, 2018

Deadline for Comments on Offshore Drilling Plan, 5:00 PM March 9, 2018

The deadline to formally comment on the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program is 5:00 PM, Friday, March 9! This disastrous plan from Dept. of Interior head Ryan Zinke would make more than 98 percent of the OCS resources available to consider for oil and gas leasing during 2019-2024.

Even if you’ve been to one of the recent Open Houses held in each costal state in the last few weeks, please consider also entering a formal comment on the docket. When commenting, be sure to echo the recent call by 23 Senators to have the comment deadline extended and for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hold actual hearings with the opportunity for formal testimony, not just the Open House Meetings, which didn’t allow for public discussion.

23 Senators urge Zinke to hold new hearings taking ‘formal oral testimony’ on offshore drilling
by Steve Ahlquist, Uprise RI
March 8, 2018

Senators maintain that, “The opportunity for the public to provide input on the Draft Proposed Program is critical given the new, large scope of the Draft Proposed Program and its potential impacts on coastal communities and economies, the marine environment, and climate. We do not believe that the 23 currently announced ‘open house’ style meetings are adequate in duration, location, nor format needed to meet the public input requirements. Several of the public meetings were postponed and rescheduled later in the public comment period, which does not leave adequate time for stakeholders to learn details about the DPP at the public meeting and submit meaningful comments before the comment period ends.”

The letter goes on to recommend, “more meetings in coastal communities, large and small, in all areas included in the Draft Proposed Program, as well as non-coastal areas to allow for as many impacted voices as possible to raise their concerns. In addition, formal oral testimony, as opposed to an ‘open house’ format, would better ensure that people’s concerns are heard and recorded publicly.”

The Senators want the public comment period extended to May 8 at the earliest.

These are the Senators who have signed:
Van Hollen

Weekly Protests against
Back Bay Pipeline in Boston!

While Boston proclaimed itself a sustainability leader and has carbon reductions goals of cutting 25% by 2020 and 50% by 2050-- fracked gas pipelines are being constructed all over the city for new high-end development. For example, the pipeline in Back Bay is being built to service Dalton towers-- a luxury development with condos going for over $6 million. Instead of ensuring that all new development is carbon neutral-- developments like this are increasing our carbon footprint and directly violating Boston’s pledges to be a climate leader.

#StopBackBayPipeline is a campaign powered by a local coalition of organizations -- from the Back Bay Neighborhood Association, to Boston Clean Energy Center-- that are unnerved by the lack of vision on the part of Boston’s lawmakers that are allowing this ill-conceived pipeline to be built.

Vigils will be held every Wednesday at lunchtime outside the Prudential Center so we can continue to have a physical presence and educate the community with info.
In addition-- posting #StopBackBayPipeline and why you are against it on social media is a great help! Calling Mayor Walsh is important. Calling City Councilors is important.

Facebook Page for Stop Back Bay Pipeline for ongoing updates
If you’re not on Facebook, please contact James O. Michel with any questions,

Regulators OK Lebanon, NH Gas Project
By Tim Camerato, Valley News
March 07, 2018

Concord — Despite opposition from area officials and some environmentalists, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission this week awarded Liberty Utilities a franchise needed to construct a natural gas pipeline from Lebanon to Hanover.
The project was opposed by environmental groups in the Upper Valley, as well as by officials in Hanover and Lebanon.

During proceedings in September, Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin argued the pipeline did not conform to the town’s renewable energy goals. In May, Hanover residents voted to transition the community’s electricity to 100 percent renewable sources by 2030, with heat and transportation set to meet that goal by 2050. Lebanon City Councilor Clifton Below, a former PUC commissioner, also argued the pipeline would not be in line with the city’s Master Plan, which promotes sustainable energy projects.

The PUC ruled that it couldn’t take those concerns into consideration.

» Read the full story

NOTE: Liberty Utilities is also the company proposing the Granite Bridge gas pipeline across southern New Hampshire.

Study Proves Clean Energy Can Power New England’s Future: The report by our regional grid operator also shows natural gas is not needed, despite public statements

by David Ismay, Conservation Law Foundation
March 7, 2018

The regional grid operator ISO-New England‘s long-awaited Operational Fuel-Security Analysis shows that more renewables, not more gas, will keep New England’s electric power system reliable – especially during winter cold-snaps. That supports what CLF, and the markets, have been saying now for several years – New England doesn’t need more gas-fired power plants or expensive pipelines to keep the lights on and our homes warm on the coldest winter nights.

Now, if you’ve been reading the news lately, you may be scratching your head, as ISO-New England CEO, Gordon Van Welie, has been suggesting just the opposite to a lot of reporters. But the fact is, he’s misinterpreting his organization’s own data. Together with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and others, we’ve looked at the study in detail and found a serious flaw in ISO’s analysis. Fans of big pipelines are using that flaw to tout a tired story aimed at lining the pockets of Big Gas. And until that flaw is corrected, we should all question any public statements ISO-New England makes about our “fuel security,” especially when it comes to natural gas.

So what does ISO conclude about New England’s “fuel security”? Its analysis proves what CLF and others (like the Massachusetts Attorney General in 2015) have been saying for years: we don’t need a new pipeline. On top of that, it shows that solar and wind power are not only cheaper and cleaner than gas, they also make our grid more resilient to even the coldest winters!

» Read the full story

Help Protect Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscapes
» Please Donate Today!

And watch for Deputy Historic Preservation Officer Doug Harris' inspiring presentation on Ceremonial Stone Landscapes "Let the Landscape Speak for Itself" coming up at the Berkshire Earth Expo Environmental Action Fair in Dalton, MA on April 21!

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