To the editor:
In the editorial “Consumers deserve better data on gas leaks” (August 9), you tell it like it should be. National Grid and all gas distribution companies should be reporting leaks using a uniform protocol. Gas leaks cause climate change, kill trees, are potentially explosive, and hurt human health. Ironically, we ratepayers pay for leaked gas — no matter how much fails to reach our homes.
In 2017 at a Gas Leaks Allies (GLA) forum at MIT, Eversource, Columbia and National Grid agreed to begin consistently, uniformly and transparently identifying and fixing large-volume leaks. The Department of Public Utilities approved the agreement but did not develop a rule requiring all gas distributors to do this. Eversource and Columbia are following through. National Grid is not.
Only the DPU can order compliance for National Grid and for all Massachusetts gas distributors. Consequently, on Aug. 15, SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment), as a member of the Gas Leaks Allies, will meet with all state gas distributors in a rule-making session at the DPU to codify a uniform statewide protocol.
Sadly, it took the Merrimack Valley explosions of 2018 and the recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling on the impact of gas leaks on statewide carbon emissions to push the envelope and force the DPU meeting.
Only in the past few years has the gas leaks crisis hit home. Salem is riddled with leaking gas.
In 2016 at SAFE’s request and with the support of Mayor Kim Driscoll, GLA members Bob Ackley of Gas Safety Inc. and BU professor Nathan Phillips GPS-surveyed Salem and reported 232 leaks, compared to National Grid’s tally of 62. A DPU rule establishing a uniform and transparent protocol for identifying and measuring leaked gas will allow us to see the enormity of our problem and tackle it.
Patricia A. Gozemba
Salem Alliance for the Environment