Quakers arrested in protest blocking Spectra construction

Today a number of Friends held a vigil, and were arrested for blocking construction of a gas pipeline site in West Roxbury.  You can find out more information about the project and its huge impact here:

Stop the West Roxbury Pipeline         Resist the Pipeline

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Here is today’s information from the Event Page on Facebook. It was written by Friend Katherine F, one of the protestors arrested today.  Thank you for your witness Friends!

About the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline:

The West Roxbury Lateral pipeline is a five-mile spur off of a longer pipeline bringing fracked gas from Appalachia to Canada for export. A federal judge used eminent domain to force the City of Boston to allow Spectra Energy to construct this pipeline. Now, construction has begun and is continuing over the objections of many local people, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, and others. One of the major concerns is that the extremely high-pressure pipeline would go directly past an active quarry, which has frequent blasting. The possibility of gas leaks and explosions endangers local residents. More broadly, continuing to construct gas pipelines instead of using our resources for the transition to renewables endangers all of humanity.

About the movement to resist the pipeline:

In 2013 and early 2014, Spectra Energy pushed through its plans to construct this pipeline without thoroughly involving and listening to stakeholders. In October 2014, when more people found out about the proposed pipeline, a community mobilization began, including submitting official comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), meetings with city and state officials, canvassing, and weekly vigils. In March, the City of Boston and Town of Dedham requested a rehearing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its decision to issue the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). In response, FERC has issued a “tolling order” which allows construction to begin despite the pending request for a hearing, and blocks stakeholders from suing or taking other legal actions. We have tried legal avenues, and now it is time to step up the resistance.

Despite Spectra and FERC’s attempts push this pipeline over the community and local governments’ objections, after witnessing this week the tremendous victory of the movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline (which was already under construction), we have renewed hope that we can stop this pipeline too.

For over a month, neighbors have been holding a daily vigil Monday through Saturday, 8 to 9 am, in opposition to the pipeline construction. On Thursdays, (and sometimes on additional days during the week), people are entering the construction site as an act of civil disobedience. So far ministers, neighbors, activists, students, and a Dedham Town Selectman have been arrested. Yesterday, there was a larger rally that caused the construction to be canceled for the entire day. We chose this coming Tuesday in consultation with local organizers as a day for Quakers to participate as a group. The Friends organizing Tuesday’s action are from the Young Adult Friends Climate Working Group (YAFCWG) and the Bolder and Deeper group at Friends Meeting at Cambridge.

Some thoughts from Katherine F:

I’m feeling led to intentionally risk arrest for the first time in my life. Usually when I’ve considered civil disobedience, I have felt scared and hesitant. This time I feel a calm rightness about it. This pipeline goes very near the homes of Frederick’s sister and parents, and directly past the home of a dear friend of mine from college. The danger to my loved ones from explosions is direct and immediate. The danger to all of us from climate change may seem less direct, but it is a matter of survival for my entire generation. If there were ever a time for me to get in the way, surely it is now.

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