January 19, 2018
Action on Energy, Environment & Climate

Defend Massachusetts' clean energy leadership from Eversource's unfair new solar fees!

From Alliance for Solar Choice

Recently in Massachusetts, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved major utility Eversource's changes to its rates to discriminate against homeowners who go solar. Governor Baker and Massachusetts lawmakers are national leaders in clean energy deployment, but Eversource’s new rates take us backwards.

“Demand charges” will be based off of the single hour in a month when solar homeowners use the most energy. Fifteen states across the country - from California, to Oklahoma, to Georgia - have rejected these charges because they are incredibly arbitrary and difficult for homeowners to manage.

» Send Governor Baker and your legislators the message today
Don’t penalize Eversource solar customers with discriminatory new demand charges!

BOEM Schedules Open House Meetings
2019-2024 Off-Shore Drilling Plan

You may have seen headlines recently about the Trump administration’s plan to open up the Outer Contintental Shelf (OSC) to drilling for gas and oil. This program, planned to run from 2019–2024, would open up over 90% of the OSC to exploration and exploitation. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has scheduled a series of Open House style public meetings to allow for public comment on the 2019-2024 National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Please make your voice heard on this disastrous plan!


National OCS Program Public Meetings
For those unable to attend one of the scheduled meetings, BOEM is offering a Virtual Meeting Room https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Virtual-Room/ where participants can visit the same stations available at the open house meetings. There they are able to review and download the same handouts and posters offered at the meetings and provide comments.

"The DPP for the 2019-2024 Program would make more than 98 percent of the OCS resources available to consider for oil and gas leasing during the 2019-2024 period. Including at this stage nearly the entire OCS for potential oil and gas discovery is consistent with advancing the goal of moving the United States from simply aspiring to energy independence to attaining energy dominance. This DPP would allow for unprecedented increases in access to America's extensive offshore oil and gas resources, a critical component of the Nation's energy portfolio, and emphasizes the importance of producing American energy in America."
» Read the full notice, including additional comment information

SurfRider Foundation gears up for action on the Public Hearings

The public meetings are in an open-house format so participants can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time to express concerns about the National OCS Program. While it's nice that people can come and go, BOEM is not providing a REAL opportunity here for the public to speak openly and on the record to voice concerns about this proposal. Additionally, ONE public meeting for the entire state, is inadequate. COME PROTEST!

Give a shout if YOU and/or your organization or business would like to help in the coordinated campaign effort: mgates@surfrider.org.

• Monday, January 22, 2018 - Augusta, ME
Opposition Press Conference:
2:00 PM
NRCM has rented out the Aroostook Room at the Civic Center, where our coordinated group will be hosting a press conference at 2PM, featuring US House Representative Chellie Pingree and other important voices.
We will follow the press conference by offering the public (A.K.A. YOU) an opportunity to have comments unofficially recorded to help build a strong case for support of removing Maine from this proposal. Please join us wearing a light blue top.

BOEM Open House Public Meeting
3:00 - 7:00  PM
Augusta Civic Center
76 Community Drive
Augusta, ME

• Tuesday, January 23 - Concord, NH

Protest from 3:00 - 4:30 PM
Meet wearing light blue and bring a poster against offshore drilling! Corner of Main and Bridge streets, Concord.
Contact Rob Werner with NH League of Conservation Voters FMI: 603-674-9810.

BOEM Open House Public Meeting
3:00 - 7:00 PM
Holiday Inn Hotel Concord
172 N Main St.
Concord, NH

• Wednesday, January 24 - Boston, MA

Rally from 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Meet wearing light blue and bring a poster against offshore drilling! Meet at the main entry to the Hyatt.
Contact Emily Norton of Sierra Club MA FMI: 617-423-5775

BOEM Open House Public Meeting
3:00 - 7:00 PM
Hyatt Regency Boston
1 Avenue de Lafayette
Boston, MA

• Thursday, January 25 — Providence, RI
BOEM Open House Public Meeting
3:00 - 7:00 PM
Marriott Providence Downtown
1 Orms Street
Providence, RI
Wear light blue and plan to pick up a DRILLING IS KILLING sticker from Surfrider to visually demonstrate opposition to this proposal.

• Tuesday, February 13 — Hartford, CT
BOEM Open House Public Meeting
3:00 - 7:00 PM
Marriott Hartford Downtown
200 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT
Join anytime between 3PM - 7PM wearing your light blue shirt in unified opposition to the offshore drilling plan!

See BOEM's Hearing Schedule for dates of hearings in other states

Sign this action alert to tell federal representatives to oppose the plan to expand offshore drilling

Going Fossil Free
Join BEAT, 350-MA Berkshire Node & Berkshire Citizens for Peace & Justice for a Livestream Watch -Party!

We’ll watch Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben & other leaders across the climate movement lay out a plan to resist Trump’s attacks on our communities and build 100% renewable energy for all.

Meet others in the Berkshires who want to organize to build local power and take climate action. Working together, we will end the use of fossil fuels and transition our world to 100% renewable energy for all. Find out what you can do to begin to build the Fossil Free future we need.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
7:15pm – 9:15pm
UU Church
175 Wendell Ave.
Pittsfield, MA

Co-sponsored by 350MA-Berkshires, Berkshire Citizens for Peace & Justice, and Berkshire Environmental Action Team.

Not resting on a ‘win’ against fossil fuel compressor station, Rehoboth prepares itself
for round two, with the help of elected officials

by Steve Ahlquist, Uprise RI
January 15, 2018

The environmental action group Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS) is not taking their recent “win” for granted. In June 2017 Enbridge Inc (formerly Spectra Energy) finally gave up on its plan to build a fracked gas compressor station in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Strike that, the company didn’t give up, exactly: Enbridge simply put the project on hold while they searched for a new funding strategy. CARCS fully expects Enbridge to refile and then the battle will begin anew.

The battle against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure across the United States is not one where a monolithic environmental advocacy movement fights against Big Oil. Instead, the battle is between thousands of community based grassroots groups pitted against whatever projects fossil fuel infrastructure companies think they can get away with. The fight in Rehoboth against the Enbridge Inc compressor station is similar to the fight in Providence against the National Grid liquefaction facility, or the fight in

Burrillville against the Invenergy power plant. These fights are taking place all across the country: It’s a thousand Davids against a thousand Goliaths, and most of the time, Goliath wins.
But that’s changing.

» Read the full story

FERC: Rhode Island tribe missed its chance to intervene in Massachusetts pipeline fight

By Mary C. Serreze, Springfield Republican / MassLive
January 16, 2018

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday said it won't reconsider its construction permit for a Massachusetts pipeline, and also rejected a Rhode Island Indian tribe's late bid for full legal standing in the matter of the Connecticut Expansion Project.

Now the Narragansett Indian Tribe plans to sue the five-member commission in federal appeals court, a lawyer representing the tribe's historic preservation office confirmed. 

A Narragansett tribal official in late 2016 helped identify dozens of "ceremonial stone landscapes" along the pipeline right-of-way through the Otis State Forest in Berkshire County, and refused to sign a mitigation agreement. The tribe asserts that FERC violated federal historic preservation law in its permitting process.

"Naturally, FERC is trying to stop (the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office) from bringing this case -- by denying NITHPO party status -- because it doesn't want an appellate court to be scrutinizing its actions," said New York lawyer Anne Marie Garti on Monday.

» Read the full story
» Learn more about donating to help the legal fight

In Back Bay, Some Say 'No, Thanks' To Natural Gas Pipeline

by Adam Reilly, WBGH
January 18, 2018

"This was not a good idea, to commit us to fossil fuel infrastructure when the city has climate goals, and obviously things are happening around here," Royce said. That's a reference to the intense winter storm that hit Boston earlier this month. At the Massachusetts Sierra Club, that same storm was the first thing chapter director Emily Norton cited to explain her belief that expanding Boston's natural-gas infrastructure is a mistake.

"We’ve just seen this extraordinary storm in Boston with dumpsters floating down streets," Norton said. "It’s just a reminder of how vulnerable Boston is to climate change. Knowing that, I would think that Boston would want to be leading."
ISO-NE Energy study draws divergent reactions

by Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine
January 18, 2018

The two sides fighting over whether the region needs additional natural gas pipeline capacity both took comfort on Thursday from a fuel security study by the operator of the region’s power grid.

The Baker administration, meanwhile, issued a statement that appeared to fall somewhere in the middle while supporting “additional natural gas capacity.”

The study by ISO-New England examined 23 different scenarios for electricity generation during the winter of 2024-2025 and found that in all but the most optimistic case some sort of emergency action would be necessary. Emergency actions ranged from pleas to the public to conserve energy to rolling blackouts, where certain customers would lose their electricity for a period of time to ease pressure on the grid.

In an interview, the president of ISO-New England, said the report did not assume any expansion of natural gas pipeline infrastructure because his organization believes that is unlikely to happen.

David Ismay, a senior attorney in the clean energy and climate change group at the Conservation Law Foundation, said “It’s interesting, but I don’t know that it has much real-world impact on energy planning,” Ismay said of the report.

Ismay also said the likelihood of rolling blackouts would be eliminated in many of the ISO scenarios if the region develops more renewable energy (some of which is already in the pipeline) and refuels generating plants that can run on oil twice a winter.

“It looks pretty good to me,” Ismay said of the report. “Our initial take is that the study shows some areas of concern but no real reliability issue for the New England grid for the next 10 years.”

» Read the full article for many more viewpoints

New Studies from PERI at UMass
How to Achieve Zero Emissions,
Even if the Federal Government Won't Help

By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout
January 17, 2018

With Donald Trump in the White House, the prospects for fighting climate change have never been any bleaker in the US. Yet there are options available to state governments to move forward with the greening of the economy even without federal support. This point is made crystal clear in two studies recently release from UMass' Political Economy Research Institute (PERI).
For news on various pipelines, FERC and the industry, check out the
Latest News Tab on our site

Conference on Natural Gas Infrastructure and Public Health
Informative for Board of Health members and health care professionals
NGI and Public Health Conference - Boston University 1-30-2018

Please talk to your local Board of Health members and any health care professionals you know about attending this important conference on the impacts of natural gas infrastructure on health and safety.

Please talk to your local Board of Health members!
about signing on to a letter to Governor Baker about the hazards of fossil fuel infrastructure, and contact Michelle Brooks about any efforts and progress made (or for any questions!)
» Check the list of 50 towns that have already signed on
to make sure your Board of Health isn’t already on board

Upcoming Events on our Events Page

Continuing our work, thanks to you!

Thanks to your support, we're continuing our work to keep fossil fuel expansion at bay, helping you stay informed to take action for a cleaner, healthier environment and more just energy system.

Every contribution, large or small, helps.
No Fracked Gas in Mass is a program of Berkshire Environmental Action Team. Donations made through our direct online Donation button or mailed in check are tax deductible.