Getting those Gas Leaks Fixed

By Suzanne Besser

It turns out squeaky wheels don’t just get the grease, they keep right on rolling.

At least that’s the case with the dozen or so moms who successfully persuaded the Boston City Council to help stop the harmful methane gas now leaking from the city’s aging pipelines. They’ve kept their engines revved up as the grassroots group now moves up to the state level.

Members of the growing Mothers Out Front nonprofit, they had raised awareness of the issue by meeting individually with city councilors, collaborating with other environmental groups and assembling a panel of experts to testify at a public hearing. Their hard work and advocacy paid off.

“It’s such a high when you are actually getting things done,” said Mt Vernon Street and Mothers Out Front member Muriel Finegold. “Our success built up a momentum among us. We realized that we can do this and that feels good. I think we can get those leaks stopped.”

Because of their advocacy and hard work, the city council passed a resolution supporting two bills currently being proposed by state Representative Lori Ehrlich and Senator Jamie Eldridge – H.2871 that would prevent utilities from charging consumers for leaked and unaccounted gas, and H.2871 that would require gas leaks be repaired during all ongoing road projects.

“[We] were very happy that our colleagues voted unanimously in favor of the resolutions supporting the state gas leaks legislation,” said Councilor Josh Zakim, who led the initiative with Councilor Matt O’Malley. “We’re hopeful that these bills will both pass at the statehouse and be signed into law by the governor soon.”

And that is exactly what the moms intend to make happen. They’re hard at work educating and lobbying all state legislators to support the two bills, now in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. They’re urging residents across the state to reach out to their city councilors and state legislators, and to attend public hearings expected to take place in November. Those with questions can find out more about the methane leaks on www.mothersoutfront.org.

The more squeaky wheels, the better, they say. “This is an issue we can do something about,” said Finegold. “This is a fixable problem.”

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