Members of Mothers Out Front, a nonprofit working towards a livable climate for children, along with volunteers from environmental activist group Youth on Board, gathered on the steps of Curtis Hall on July 25 as part of a larger movement against National Grid, which has “delayed…fixing dangerous gas leaks throughout the Commonwealth,” according to a press release.
The release states that National Grid made a commitment to join a Shared Action plan with Co-lumbia Gas, Eversource, Home Energy Efficiency Team, and other utility companies, but has not completed the repairs to the leaks.
Claire Humphrey, a volunteer with Mothers Out Front, said that between 16 and 18 volunteers stood on the steps of Curtis Hall, as it is near the site of a reported leak at the corner of Caro-lina Ave. and South St. that has not been fixed. Humphrey said that of the 130 reported leaks in Jamaica Plain as of 2018, this site was chosen as a representative spot in a public area, and it is also across the street from Pine Village Preschool where many young children gather fre-quently. She said that there are also a handful of reported leaks right across from the Curley School as well.
The volunteers stood with orange vests and tape measures in hand, as tape measures are used to measure a gas leak and determine its volume, Humphrey said. She also said that oth-er companies like Eversource and Columbia are complying with the plan to fix leaks, but Na-tional Grid has not held up its end of the bargain.
“These things leak 24 hours a day, all the time,” Humphrey said. “We’re not happy.” She said that cities are emitting more methane than previously thought, and methane is a huge source of heat entrapment. She said there are also health risks involved with gas and indoor air quali-ty.
In 2014, a law was passed saying that the reporting on gas leaks had to be made public, in-cluding the locations and a grading system for the severity of the leaks. Humphrey said that Mothers Out Front has been using that data since then to raise awareness, and since then even more legislation has passed, she said. “We continued to raise awareness,” she said of the most recent gathering. “A lot more people in the state know about gas leaks and a lot more legislators.”
Overall, Humphrey said she was pleased with the turnout at the event. “We didn’t have big ambitions,” she said, but she was hoping that some smaller local action could contribute to the larger demonstration against National Grid. She said lots of photos were taken and used in a social media storm, and hashtags used, such as #ngridmeasureup, were trending.
“We’re in it for our kids,” Humphrey said. “None of us are putting in this kind of time and ener-gy and love for them to risk their future and not have a safe and healthy place to live.”