O’Malley on Pipeline: ‘This is the Biggest Issue in Southwest Boston’

City Councilor Matt O'Malley, District Six, speaks at a JP Forum teach-in about the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, Monday, May 11, 2015.

Chris Helms

City Councilor Matt O’Malley, District Six, speaks at a JP Forum teach-in about the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, Monday, May 11, 2015.

A crowd of more than 100 — including a strong JP contingent — gathered Monday to learn more about a proposed gas pipeline that would run beside an active quarry in West Roxbury.

JP Forum and Theodore Parker Church hosted a “teach-in” about the project, called the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline. Despite the name, some residents of JP and Roslindale are also wary of the proposal.

“This is the biggest issue in southwest Boston,” City Councilor Matt O’Malley told the crowd.

The project has clearance from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission but Boston-area politicians, prodded by grassroots efforts, are starting to turn against it.

Opponents object on safety and environmental grounds.

The would-be pipeline builders, Spectra Energy Corp., told the Globe they have a clean safety record.

“Putting a pipeline next to a quarry that’s active is a recipe for disaster,” said one of the forum’s speakers, Richard Clapp, an emeritus professor of environmental health. He cited natural gas explosions that have occurred around the country.

Environmentalists argue Boston doesn’t need the gas and is simply being used as a middleman for a Texas company to get its gas to foreign markets. Instead of a new pipeline, an argument goes, utilities should first fix existing lines, which are riddled with leaks.

Residents organizing against the pipeline have formed Stop the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, or SWRL.

Flyer on the door of Theodore Parker Church for JP Forum teach-in, Monday, May 11, 2015.

Chris Helms

Flyer on the door of Theodore Parker Church for JP Forum teach-in, Monday, May 11, 2015.

The crowd at a JP Forum teach-in about the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, Monday, May 11, 2015.

Chris Helms

The crowd at a JP Forum teach-in about the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, Monday, May 11, 2015.

  • BethE

    Did Councillor O’Malley say anything more substantial about the pipeline? Obviously, a major infrastructure project like installing a new gas pipeline is a “big” issue. Is he one of the Boston area politicians who is starting to turn against it?

    • JamaicaPlainNews

      Thanks, BethE.

      This was a very short report but I should have made that more clear. O’Malley was one of the early political types to pick up on neighborhood concerns about the project. He put together a City Council resolution on the subject and continues to focus on stopping the current plan.

      • BethE

        Thanks for the clarifying. It is helpful that the community knows as much specific info as possible. I will check out the SWRL website. Thanks for posting that link.

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  • Confused about a teach in on a project the writer has said has cleared the FERC process. Is it already permitted? What might the teach in be teaching about at this point?
    FYI– one of politicians who wrote in about this project I believe either after it was permitted but certainly after the FEIS on it was released was a politician thanked for helping to push a bill through the House on a pipeline project through an nps park and also a lease for historic property for a metering station prior to the public even hearing about the project, which is kind of interesting. I’m confused about what turning against a project that may already be permitted might actually mean.