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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thanks to Jack Gregg

For making us aware of a growing environmental and economic issue:  Gas leaks escaping from old pipes running under our cities.  The environmental hazards are clear; the economic are less defined as they span the costs of fixing the problem versus the ultimate costs of ignoring the leaks and dealing with the catastrophic damage that is sure to follow some day.

Intriguing issue, one that is worthy of our attention here and on a future show.

This from Jack: Here is the link:
Similar news for small towns.  Some are filing law suits

And this:  

Thousands of gas leaks in Boston area

As use of methane increases, old pipes pose risks, group says; utility companies see no danger

August 17, 2011|By Neena SatijaGlobe Correspondent
"When Nathan Phillips started driving the streets of Boston looking for natural gas leaks, he was stunned to find they numbered in the thousands.
The Boston University associate professor of geography and the environment wanted to document the extent of leaks because of concerns that the gas could harm trees and add to greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Then he found a leak that posed a more immediate danger, and it was near his home.
Phillips found the leak at a manhole in front of the West Newton Cinema. Twice in the past month, he detected the levels of methane in the atmosphere there to be about 6 percent, which regulators and gas companies consider a potential explosion hazard."
Also, some towns are starting to sue:  

Towns say gas harms trees

Nahant, Saugus sue National Grid

Two area towns are taking legal action to force National Grid to compensate them for damage to trees on public land that they say is being caused by underground natural gas leaks.


Town to sue over gas leak damage

November 21, 2010 
Quincy will be filing a complaint with National Grid after a recent survey by the Massachusetts Shade Tree Trust discovered 323 gas leaks throughout the city, ranging from grade one, the most serious type of leak, to grade three, those deemed not hazardous by National Grid. The grade three leaks, some of which have been leaking for as long as 10 years, have caused damage to $1.5 million worth of city trees, the trust says. Quincy will be filing its complaint alongside Hingham, Brookline, and Milton for damage to trees in those towns. — Jessica Bartlett
No doubt this touches every older city.  Again, should a utility consider  $1.5 million damage to city trees not significant?  Are we all willing to pay more for energy, which we will, if the utility does step up and replace the pipes?

We'd love to hear your comments.


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