Protesters don hard hats, wield spray paint in protest against West Roxbury pipeline

Protester in West Roxbury against Spectra pipeline

Photo by Rhea Becker. That's the quarry entrance in the background.

Early this morning, members of the newly formed Parkway Pipeline Prevention League marked out the route of a proposed high-pressure natural-gas pipeline along Grove Street in West Roxbury, then turned themselves into E-5 detectives for booking.

Andree Zalesk, one of the pair of anti-pipeline taggers, writes:

We marked the entire route with large stencils saying SPECTRA - the Texas company behind the project. We turned ourselves in to the police after breakfast at a great local diner, and we were released after an hour of questioning by pleasant and sympathetic West Rox detectives. Charges will follow later.

Residents along the route of the pipeline - and near the transfer station that would funnel natural gas into National Grid's system, across the street from an active quarry - say the project threatens the neighborhood and is basically insane having a terminal across the street from a quarry where dynamite blasting has in the past sent large rocks hurtling across the street.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission disagrees and voted earlier this year to approve the project. City councilors recently expressed their willingness to sue to block the project.

Neighborhoods: 

Free tagging: 

Ad:

Comments

really

i dont see how dynamite and a gas pipeline cant play nicely together

seems as though im qualified to be a fed!

up
Voting is closed. 0

I've said this before

By on

But, given the apparent problems they'be been citing, you'd think the residents would want to get rid of the quarry. Yet they're using the quarry as the reason not to put in a gas pipeline.

One has to marvel at the inner workings of the NIMBY mind.

up
Voting is closed. 0

They were there first

By on

Every person living around the quarry was born after the quarry opened (in 1887.) They all knew that they were buying/moving near an active quarry.

up
Voting is closed. 0

And others have replied. Apparently you say better than you hear

By on

Many residents don't care for the quarry either. But here's a big difference - it's already there. And it's (allegedly) got a timeline and plan for eventually closing. Are you saying that having one crummy thing in your life means you have to suck it up for all other bad things that might be foisted on you?

"You're car has dents, I don't see why you'd be upset about a flat tire."

"You've got a cold, I don't know why you'd care about mending a broken arm."

"You've already got neighbors who have lots of loud parties, what do you care if the other neighbors build a fireworks factory?"

up
Voting is closed. 0

Point taken about the quarry

By on

However, as part of their protests about the gas line, these residents should be required to provide a proper analysis and study to back up their claims as to why, if the pipeline is built adjacent to the quarry, that a disaster will inevitably happened. And if they truly believe these claims have legitimate merit, and are not just a stalling tactic to extort mitigation payments (the biggest scam going) from the project proponent, they should be willing to take those steps to prove them.

Saying "well, it should be obvious" and "it's a crummy thing, build it elsewhere because we don't want another crummy thing here (a.k.a the "environmental justice" sham) " , and the policy of forcing project proponents to disprove claims doesn't cut it anymore.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Think back just a bit...

Someone from the area said they had tried to find a firm to do an evaluation, but no qualified firm was willing to do it, either they already had ties to the people involved with the pipeline's construction or did not want to take a chance on losing the possibility of working with these folks in the future.

up
Voting is closed. 0

and to further complcate things....

By on

One firm from Europe was willing to do an environmental/health assessment. In the process of putting the paper work together National Grid merged with other companies forming Eversource. Eversource has global holdings and projects. How does that affect us? The European company in discussion to perform the assessment...has business dealings with an arm of Eversource - now putting it into a conflict of interest. European company has now withdrawn from our end.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Utter horseshit

However, as part of their protests about the gas line, these residents should be required to provide a proper analysis and study to back up their claims as to why, if the pipeline is built adjacent to the quarry, that a disaster will inevitably happened.

By what theory of law would you want someone saying "I don't want x" to be compelled to provide anything?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Straw man

By on

Straw man. I see nothing in the parent post that refers to a "law" requiring a study. I think he meant, such a study should be required for anyone (e.g., a local board voting to support or oppose the project, ...) to seriously consider or otherwise entertain the concerns these protestors are bringing up. Without an actual empirical study, their complaints are indistinguishable from technophobic superstition.

up
Voting is closed. 0

"a disaster will inevitably happened[sic]"

By on

Pipelines leak, period. Whether that will result in a "disaster" is another discussion, but you have to start from the fact that all pipelines do leak, and not treat them as some kind of pristine objects with no impact on their surroundings.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Charming.

By on

...mitigation payments (the biggest scam going)...the "environmental justice" sham

you must be a blast at parties.

up
Voting is closed. 0

walking away from damages

That's the case for showering a neighborhood with toxins and walking away from damages. I don't think it gets far in the court of law if you have the resources to be a plaintiff.

up
Voting is closed. 0

roadman, given your comments

By on

you clearly are not from the Ros/WR/Dedham side of the City. The Quarry, its ever changing landscape and future use have been the bone of contention for quite some time. The residents and City have been actively meeting over the last couple of years concerned over the material that WR Crushed Stone is planning to use to fill in the hole. There have been lots of back and forth over what is acceptable based on level of hazard. In the middle of the discussions the Spectra Energy pipeline project muddied the waters.

The two projects are separate and distinct business transactions with the exception of the Quarry owner selling the plot of land for the gasline meter station to Spectra. Neither of these are NIMBY issues. Both of these are very complicated issues that require quite abit of attention and following. A negative turn of events from one has a direct effect on the other.

up
Voting is closed. 0

This conversation has nothing

By on

This conversation has nothing to do with the quarry other than the neighborhood residents are highly skeptical of Spectra putting in a high pressure has line and regulating station across the street from it.

Have you done any research whatsoever before making comments?

up
Voting is closed. 0

NIMBY

By on

These folks are using whatever means they can to stop investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure. They are citing local AND global health concerns.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Ridiculous!

By on

This is NOT NIMBY. In fact the residents and City have suggested alternative sites within the West Rosbury area.

Spectra insists it must place the line and high pressure meter station at Grove and Centre streets. Right in the middle of a high traffic area, right next to an active quarry with blasting at least two times a week, right in the middle of a densely populated area.

God forbid there is a rupture along the route and West Roxbury will be off the map.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Panic

By on

There's no possible way that a man-made vehicle weighing 970,000 lbs could accelerate and be SUSPENDED IN THE AIR, supported only by the difference in the air pressure under it's wings. It defies the sense of the common man. AND YET, 747's do that hundreds of times every day.

Therefore, it seems very possible that the experts who work with gas lines every day, probably can figure out how to safely design and bury a pipe so that intermittent shaking won't cause a problem.

We all have (smaller) gas lines running in front of our homes. When was the last time that one blew up?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Well, let's see ...

By on

There's the infamous Readville house explosion in 2010 (infamous in part because the homeowners had absolutely nothing to do with the explosion and yet they were dicked around for years by all the lawyers and insurance companies involved).

More recently, there was this explosion in Dorchester.

The typical house gas pressure is like 0.25 PSI. The Spectra pipeline would be at 700 PSI (and feed into a distribution system with a PSI of 100). Plus, the gas in the pipeline won't have any odorant added to it, so if there were a leak, you wouldn't even know it, unless it blew up, and then you'd know it - if you survived.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I'm not a gas expert

By on

But I have a friend that knows a thing or two, and he brought up a couple of points:
1- new construction is going to be safer than pipes that have existed for 50+ years (which the Dorchester explosion highlighted)
2- gas leaks on the street would have less explosive potential since there is lots of air for the gas to dissipate into, versus a leak in a house where the gas builds up and becomes a much more dangerous situation (either by explosion or by suffocation)

I'd also wager a guess and say that the pipeline company is towards the top of the list of people that don't want things to go boom, and they wouldn't suggest this path and spend lots of money building the infrastructure if there was any sizable risk that something would go terribly wrong.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Water Lines

Remember when the "new" (only ~10 years old) water main burst in the western suburbs but the 100+ year old water mains did just fine? New isn't always better.

But point taken. I don't know if this pipeline near the query is a good idea but I do know I'm not qualified to say one way or another. It seems like many people opposed to the pipeline are using the query as a pretext for something they'd be opposed to regardless.

up
Voting is closed. 0

> Remember when the "new"

By on

> Remember when the "new" (only ~10 years old) water main burst in the western suburbs but the 100+ year old water mains did just fine? New isn't always better.

For some reason we had to stop using lead in our water pipes, unfortunately. Even the Romans knew it was a superior material for water pipes (the latin name is plumbus, where plumbing comes from)!!! BRING BACK LEADED WATER!

up
Voting is closed. 0

Gas leaks in the street

2- gas leaks on the street would have less explosive potential since there is lots of air for the gas to dissipate into, versus a leak in a house where the gas builds up and becomes a much more dangerous situation (either by explosion or by suffocation)

A buried pipe is essentially sitting in a long cylindrical hole in the dirt. When something leaks out of a buried pipe, it often follows the path of the long cylindrical hole for a long way before dissipating sideways through the dirt. It can find its way into other long cylindrical holes -- e.g., surrounding your sewer connection, your water connection, your power distribution grid -- and from there into all sorts of interesting places.

up
Voting is closed. 0

It's always a house

By on

Yes I recall the Readville explosion. People's houses do occasionally blow up from gas leaks - it's weird that only rarely do people die in them, but that's another question.

As someone else pointed out, you need a place for gas to collect and then an ignition source. Most pipes, if they leak, just leak back into the air. If the pipe by the quarry breaks open, the chance of it actually blowing up are infinitesimal. The chance of it catching fire and burning, are higher, but still remote.

up
Voting is closed. 0

If the pipe by the quarry

If the pipe by the quarry breaks open, the chance of it actually blowing up are infinitesimal.

On what are you basing this? Could you please supply your references? This pipe isn't a typical street distribution pipe. It is a vastly higher-pressure regional distribution supply pipeline.

By your telling, that huge crater in California doesn't exist because it never happened.

up
Voting is closed. 0

requirements, design, fab, test

By on

Well, it would be relatively straightforward to run the gas line INTO the quarry pit itself, then smash flint rocks over the gas line, showering it with sparks day after day, AND still have the system be very safe and reliable. Indeed, design engineers would plan for the environment and shield / mount the pressure reduction regulator appropriately.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Low death rate

is probably due to the fact that if someone's home, they'll probably notice the "gas smell" long before the concentration of gas reaches the right level where an ignition source can cause an explosion. The odorant used in natural gas is quite strong, and is perceptible by the average person at *very* low levels.

There's a fairly narrow range of fuel:air concentration (known as a "stoichiometric ratio") at which such an explosion can occur.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Anecdata

By on

Manchester, NH has a pipeline running right through all sorts of residential areas. It runs along streets, across streets, across bridges, across a rail trail (the old B&M railroad now converted to a walking/bike path), right next to a collection of athletic fields used by the local schools. Its path is clearly marked by red or yellow bollards that have "pipeline" notices on them and some warning about Federal law and tampering with it.

No explosions so far. It's been there for a while, without incident. Do my anecdotes trump yours?

up
Voting is closed. 0

What about quarries

I believe that the concern isn't so much the pipeline itself, but the potential for damage due to repeated quarry activity. Are there any quarries directly adjacent to any pipelines elsewhere?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Interesting to see either way

I think this is a pretty neat idea, wherever you stand on the issue. Why? Because it very clearly shows exactly where the pipeline route is located.

Makes it all very concrete.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Yeah, ok, so

By on

what is spray painting the word "SPECTRA" going to achieve? Glad the anti-pipeline folks had a good breakfast before they were arrested.

I don't know enough about the project to say whether it is a good thing or not. And I don't know how regularly the quarry even uses dynamite. What does bother me is that the gas is at a higher pressure and there is no smell so if there is a leak, how does one know about it?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Quarry Blasting

By on

The quarry dynamites once or twice a month with enough force that all the pictures in my house are crooked and I'm 2 blocks away. It shakes the house.

The pipeline route puts it within a mile of FIVE schools (Joyce Kilmer, Beethoven, Orhenberger, St. Theresa's & Roxbury Latin). That might be part of what the vandals were trying to highlight. (Although I admit the point was lost on me--I saw the word "Spectra" and thought they were marking the route for the start of construction, which gave me a minor heart attack.)

up
Voting is closed. 0

Thanks, Miss M.

By on

I guess Ms. Zalesk and her cohorts did not consider that their spray painting might cause some panic. I also love when you have folks, such as Ms. Zalesk, who does not even live in the neighborhood (she lives in JP), feeling moved to spray paint West Roxbury streets.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Construction could start as

By on

Construction could start as early as June. The red line marks the path of the pipeline.

I'm thinking the group may have thought that when people saw the spectra tag they would research further and draw their own opinions about a pipeline in their neighborhood.

up
Voting is closed. 0

For what crime did they turn themselves in?

Obviously, spray-painting stuff on the street is not illegal, otherwise half of the verizon, eversource, keyspan, and bw&sc field staff would be spending half their time in court. They come through all the time marking stuff with spray paint.

up
Voting is closed. 0

They're required to BY LAW

By on

Its called "Mass Dig Safe." The companies are required to make the area to be surveyed prior to MA Digs Safe arriving.

up
Voting is closed. 0

'tis a little different

By on

I don't think I could get away with spray painting insulting, threatening or profane slogans on the street and say it's my first amendment right. Graffiti is still illegal, even if you are trying to make a point.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Not having any granted

By on

Not having any granted authority to spray paint anything on a public way (unlike a MassDOT crew or whatever), what the protesters did was essentially graffiti-tagging.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Well, Bob

By on

spray-painting, not done professionally by one of those entities that you mention, is vandalism which is indeed illegal.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The paint was none VOC

By on

The paint was none VOC emitting and in fact, is water soluable. Unlike the paint Spectra and other utility companies will use to mark up the area.

up
Voting is closed. 0

My ex

my ex grew up in that area (the grove) maybe the combo of gas and dynamite will blow that God forsaken place off the map. !!!

up
Voting is closed. 0

lmfao

you dont sound at all bitter, nope

up
Voting is closed. 0

I'll be sure

By on

to pass your lovely sentiment on to all the families living around here now, especially all the kids.

up
Voting is closed. 0

What a thing to say!

By on

Why would you come on here & say such a thing? I suppose you thought it was a funny comment. It wasn't. Nothing funny about people dying from a gas explosion.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Bravo for creativeness

By on

Bravo for the creativeness, and lack of 'destructiveness' (like blocking rush hour traffic). This was fully in context of that they are protesting.

And the orange vests were a nice touch. And safe.

up
Voting is closed. 0

"destructiveness"

By on

How is blocking traffic irreparable harm or damage?

Are you the asshole who waved a gun at a plain clothes police officer for stopping on his patrol car on Boylston Street last week?

As annoying as it is, blocking traffic is not destructive. It does however delay people.

up
Voting is closed. 0

WHO are these people who write here??! I question the source.

By on

Check out this video: https://youtu.be/LIusEsj7OnU
Given the natural human instinct for sympathy and common sense, I simply cannot believe that SO many regular, normal people would take time out of their busy day to write comments here that question the intelligence, motivations, and research of almost an entire neighborhood. Take a few minutes to Google Spectra's "safety" record, and you would agree with me that many of these so-called "comments" are actually written by hired "trolls" to spread disinformation and doubt about the real dangers of fracked methane ("natural" gas) in our communities and upon the climate, not to mention the obvious dangers of extremely high pressure gas pipelines by an active blasting zone where 150 trucks rumble in and out all day. I can't explain it realistically, otherwise.

up
Voting is closed. 0