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

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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.

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

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.

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