Natural Gas Leaks – Legislation passes House, on to the Senate

Nov 14 Program on Natural Gas Leaks 

The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action explored a topic that has financial, environmental, and public safety impacts — natural gas leaks. We were joined by two leaders working on the issue of natural gas leaks: State Representative Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) and Attorney Jan Schlichtmann (played by John Travolta in the film “A Civil Action”) This legislative session, for the third time, Representative Ehrlich filed a comprehensive bill aimed at reducing hazardous natural gas leaks. Also several MA towns have taken legal action to seek compensation for damage to trees on public land they say were caused by underground natural gas leaks  Attorney Jan Schlichtmann of the Civil Action Center, Inc, one of the country’s most notable plaintiff’s attorneys, is a leader of The Massachusetts Public Shade Tree Trust and represents several of the plaintiff communities.


Letter sent this week to Boston Globe – on Gas Leak Legislation and regarding possibility of yet another gas-powered plant

We are pleased to learn that Rep. John Keenan, co-chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, has dropped his legislation for a proposed gas-powered plant to replace coal powered Salem Harbor Station. The bill was controversial because it limited state and federal approval and the contract to develop the plant would be given to a single developer. He also had attached the legislation to a popular bill requiring gas companies to repair their tens of thousands of hazardous gas leaks around the state

The bill regarding gas leaks, introduced by Marblehead’s Rep. Lori Ehrlich, is very important because the continuing death of trees is like the canary in the coal mine.Leaks are a safety hazard sometimes causing explosions.  And as gas needlessly escapes through over 20,000 leaks, it wastes a scarce resource as well as money.

This week, the Jewish calendar observed Tu B’Shevat, the Holiday of the Trees, a day when we are reminded to be guardians of creation and all plants and animals on earth.

Concerns over global warming must prevent such deposits of toxins into the air and guide us toward development of renewable sources of energy rather than new plants based on fossil fuels.

Sheila Decter

Executive Director