What did you do?
On the morning of August 6, 2016, I joined three other individuals in trespassing onto the construction site of a metering and regulating station in a residential neighborhood in West Roxbury, MA. We found a shallow hole in the ground beneath the chain link fence which surrounded the construction site. We were able to slide under the fence unobserved and climb over construction materials to make our way to where the backhoes were operating. We sat in front of the backhoes to stop construction.
Why did you do it?
I am deeply concerned that my fellow citizens are unaware of the fact that it is not only environmental groups sounding the alarm on climate change and the dangers of fossil fuel expansion, but even the United States Department of Defense has declared climate change a national security threat multiplier. It is my hope that being arrested while trying to stop construction, will bring attention to this growing global disaster.
Why did you oppose the West Roxbury pipeline?
When I heard that a high-pressure gas pipeline was being routed through a residential neighborhood in proximity to an active quarry, I was horrified. Moreover, a metering and regulating station, which carries many of the same health risks as compressor stations, is embedded right next to homes!
What reports, studies, articles, personal experiences, etc convinced you that pipelines, fossil fuel extraction, and climate change are serious issues?
My first exposure to the military’s position on Climate Change came from Truman National Security Project, President & CEO, Michael Breen, speaking at a Local Energy Solutions Conference in 2010. http://trumancenter.org/about/board-leadership-staff/
In response to that presentation, I joined Operation Free, http://operationfree.net/
I followed and donated to the development of the documentary film, “The Burden.” http://operationfree.net/campaign_sections/the-burden
I helped bring a special showing of “The Burden” to the NH Legislature in February 2016.
Why did you believe social movements/civil disobedience can make a difference?
From the Boston Tea Party to Ghandi to Nelson Mandela, when people discover they are up against an “empire” that isn’t concerned with the people’s welfare or rights, civil disobedience may be the only effective means of resistance.
The fossil fuel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. Its grasp on our national priorities is defended with our military, lobbying dollars, expensive lawyers, regulatory capture and an advertising budget that cannot be matched by environmental organizations and members of the public.
What other attempts did you make to stop the West Roxbury pipeline, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop climate change, etc?
I have been fighting climate change and fossil fuel expansion since I was an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire in the 1970s.
As a volunteer on town energy committees, I have written grant applications for funds to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. For the last 9 years I’ve tracked my town’s energy consumption using Portfolio Manager and I report the results in our town’s annual report to citizens. (Reports begin in 2010 http://www.rindgenh.org/towncloud/content/-30)
I regularly attend and submit comments and testimony at legislative and Public Utilities Commission hearings in support of clean energy policy.
Why didn’t you trust that legal systems would avert the harm of the pipeline? What articles, books, reports, personal experience, etc convinced you that our governmental processes are not effective at protecting our communities from threats like this pipeline?
It is a sad fact that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission explicitly do NOT consider the impact of these projects on climate change when they make their decisions approving and siting energy projects. Although I am less familiar with the Massachusetts DPU and siting authorities, these organizations are also subordinate to FERC.
I submitted comments and testimony before FERC, the NH PUC and the NH SEC in opposition to the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline. Hundreds of people submitted comments like mine, but we were all ignored. We were told repeatedly that climate risk is NOT a consideration. Had Kinder Morgan been able to interest enough shippers into signing capacity agreements by 2016, the NED pipeline would be under construction right now.