Jan 9, 2021
Welcome to Audible Café!
Today’s show features Rosemary Wessel, Program Director of No Fracked Gas in Mass, a program of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, or BEAT. No Fracked Gas in Mass started as a passion project originally created by Rose and others to stop the now-defeated Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, a huge fracked gas pipeline project that would have brought fracked gas from Pennsylvania across New York, the full length of Massachusetts, up to New England, and eventually out for export.
Rose and her team at No Fracked Gas in Mass continue to work to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Northeast states and to promote energy efficiency and sustainable, renewable sources of energy and local, permanent jobs in a clean energy economy.
We talked about a new initiative to shut down the obsolete and polluting “peaker plants” in Pittsfield, MA, as the first step a regional effort to do the same across New England. Peaker plants provide energy in those rare times when demand exceeds the usually steady supply of power available to people. As you will learn, there are other, cleaner and sustainable sources of power for those high-demand hours that are usually experienced during heat waves and similar situations.
After my interview with Rose, I also discuss another tar sands pipeline being constructed by Enbridge out in northern Minnesota that rivals the Dakota Access Pipeline that brought so much pain and conflict to indigenous people out there. So here it’s happening again. I’m hoping to bring you interviews from the front lines of that opposition next week, but meanwhile, construction has begun on the pipeline known as Line 3 after 7 years of opposition, while lawsuits are pending in court.
Construction began in December after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s administration signed off on final water permits in November.
The pipeline is planned to cross Anishinaabe treaty lands, and threatens clean water at 21 water crossings where the company will use horizontal drilling techniques to bore under streams, rivers, and lakes, including the Mississippi River and dozens of its tributaries. Line 3 would cross two “Restricted Outstanding Resource Value Waters,” according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
However, there is a great divide within at least on of the agencies: twelve out of 17 members of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned in protest over the agency’s decision to bestow river crossing permits on Enbridge. They wrote in a letter to MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop that “we cannot continue to legitimize and provide cover for the MPCA’s war on Black and brown people.”
The people who will suffer most from this project are, once again, indigenous people from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. Together with the Sierra Club and the Indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth, the tribes have brought suit against Enbridge.
This is a devastatingly destructive project on numerous levels, and as the most recent of the wide and lasting legacy of Trump’s four years of environmental abuses, it’s more than worthy of strong opposition.
So stay tuned for more on that, but in the meantime, you can visit:
Thanks for listening to Audible Café. See you next week!
This show originally aired on WBCR-lp Great Barrington 97.7FM. Visit berkshireradio.org to find out about the station or make a much-needed and much appreciated donation!
New climate bill: (S.2995) “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy“
Old Stone Mill in Adams, MA, a Zero Waste Maker Space
SHOW THEME MUSIC by Brian Eddy