Protesters had planned to get arrested today to protest the construction of a high-pressure natural-gas transfer station in West Roxbury, but the company building it decided not to do any work today - despite what it had told nearby residents in fliers.
So instead, 200 to 300 people who'd marched from Draper Park to the site of the Algonquin Gas Transmission "metering and regulating" station at Grove and Centre streets pledged to "Stand with Mary" - Mary Boyle, a retired teacher who lives near the site - and do to the station and its associated pipeline what Berkshire activists managed to do to another Massachusetts pipeline and stop it, before it has a chance to explode and kill everybody who lives nearby.
Boyle led the protesters in chants of "We don't want it, we don't need it, shut it down!"
Nancy Wilson, another nearby resident, said she has no doubt that the plant and pipeline, if fully built, would eventually explode and then "we'll be ashes."
And the protesters tied red ribbons to the fence and gate into the site, where Spectra Energy workers were busy earlier in the week digging out dirt and rocks for the station, which will transfer natural gas from the pipeline being built from Westwood into West Roxbury into National Grid's local pipe network.
Protesters were joined by City Councilors Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) and Michelle Wu (at large). O'Malley said National Grid wouldn't even need the pipeline if it would just fix all the leaks in its existing pipes. He said he will propose an ordinance that would force the company to begin doing that, in part by requiring it to fix any leaks whenever city crews have to open up a street for other purposes.
Organizer Chuck Collins called the West Roxbury pipeline a ruse for Algonquin Gas Transmission's real reason for extending pipelines in Massachusetts: Getting fracked gas to seaports for export overseas.
"Something smells bad," he said. "It has a methane taint to it."
Protesters hailed the cancellation of Kinder Morgan's planned pipeline from New York to New Hampshire and New York State's refusal to allow a pipeline through the Catskills and vowed the West Roxbury pipeline is next.
A group of MassArt students built a model metering-and-regulating station to protest against:
What began as a series of small protests by nearby residents in 2014 now attracts protesters from across the state.