Mayor Walsh Takes Additional Steps to Protect Health and Safety of West Roxbury Residents
July 24, 2015
BOSTON - Friday, July 24, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston has taken another step to protect the residents of West Roxbury in regards to the proposed West Roxbury Lateral Gas Pipeline. The City has filed an opposition to the actions taken by the Algonquin Gas Transmissions, LLC (Algonquin) in federal court to take control of Washington, Grove and Centre Streets in West Roxbury in order to begin excavation and installation of the proposed gas transmission line due to the inability to "acquire the necessary easements" from the Public Improvement Commission.
On July 22, the City filed its opposition to the taking, citing (1) the easements that Algonquin seeks are not necessary to install the pipeline; (2) Algonquin did not negotiate in good faith with the City for the acquisition of rights to be under the streets; and (3) the Public Improvement Commission (PIC) process, which results in grants of location for utilities under public ways, is consistent with the National Gas Act and the certificate issued by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC).
In addition, Algonquin never completed the PIC process, and must continue the process to completion.
"It is critical that Algonquin uses the appropriate process for any proposed development in our City," said Mayor Walsh. "We will continue pursue all avenues to protect the health and safety of the residents of West Roxbury by working together with the community and with our city, state and federal partners to find the best long-term solution in the interest of our residents."
The proposed pipeline poses public safety concerns because it would be constructed directly across the street from a quarry that uses dynamite on a daily basis.
A hearing on the City's opposition has been scheduled for September 22 in federal court. The City's filings included affidavits from attorney Chong Liu, liaison to PIC from the Law Department. Todd Liming, Executive Secretary to the Public Improvement Commission, and John P. Sullivan, Chief Engineer of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The documents are available upon request from the City.
Statements of Support:
"As a united group, the federal, state and local elected officials from West Roxbury have repeatedly made it painfully clear to Spectra Energy that we believe that the current alignment of the pipeline is a threat to public safety," said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. "Mayor Walsh, the local elected officials, and I have stated that we will take every legal measure to prevent them from going forward. Mayor Walsh's filing is an important step towards preventing Algonquin from taking easements in West Roxbury and proceeding with installation of the pipeline."
"I commend Mayor Walsh and my federal, state, and local colleagues for continuing to listen to our constituents' apprehensions regarding major aspects of the West Roxbury lateral pipeline project," said State Senator Mike Rush. "For well over a year, we have been trying to engage with Algonquin to mitigate the potential effects of this project. The actions taken by the city of Boston, and the local delegation, is another step in lending a voice to the concerns of the community."
"I applaud Mayor Walsh for his response to Algonquin's absurd request and demand of easements in our West Roxbury neighborhood," said Representative Ed Coppinger. "Throughout this process Algonquin has tried to do the minimal amount of work required. In this case they have shown that they would like to skirt the process that the City of Boston has in place for such requests. Our elected delegation in West Roxbury made up of our Mayor, our District City Councilor, our State Senator, State Representative and Congressman will continue to listen to our constituency and continue to fight on their behalf."
"I applaud Mayor Walsh and his administration for their work in ensuring the integrity of the public process. I support the city's response to the efforts by Alqonquin gas to circumvent the required steps to obtain a grant of location," said Boston City Councilor Matt O'Malley, whose district includes the West Roxbury neighborhood. "I am proud to continue to stand firm with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch, Senator Rush and Representative Coppinger in opposition to the pipeline and support the residents of the West Roxbury community."