Testimony from August 1, 2016, Boston "Moral Revival" Service on the Need for Civil Action

Below is a video testimony given at "The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values" Boston service on August 1, 2016, about the need for civil action.  A transcript of the video follows: 

Good evening and thank you for inviting me. Being here brings back lots of memories. I was baptized and confirmed in this church. I attended St. Andrew’s School from Grade 1 to Grade 8.

Now I live in West Roxbury and was enjoying my retirement until the fall of 2014 when I learned about Spectra Energy of Houston, Texas and its plan to build an extremely high pressure natural gas pipeline through our streets.

I live close to West Roxbury Crushed Stone, a quarry that blasts with dynamite every week. Most homes in the area have cracks as a result. The blasts are so startling that the quarry calls us the day before the next explosion to warn us.

Spectra was planning to put its pipeline, known as the West Roxbury Lateral, under Washington St. and Grove St. and its metering and regulating station right next to the quarry. As you can imagine, there was a lot of worry in the area about such a project.

As we residents organized in opposition, we learned about San Bruno, California where eight people died when a pipeline that was half the pressure of the West Roxbury Lateral exploded. In April of this year, a Spectra-owned pipeline exploded in Pennsylvania burning one man over 75% of his body and melting the siding from homes that were hundreds of feet away.

We residents learned that it is fracked gas that will flow through the pipeline. It will come from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania where people have lost farmland, and water has been polluted due to the fracking process.

We learned about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that granted permission for the pipeline to be built in West Roxbury. The Commission receives all of its funding from the fossil fuel industry. The five commissioners have worked in the fossil fuel industry as well. There is no consumer or community voice on the Commission.

Even though our city and state political leaders are opposed to the pipeline, they have no power against the FERC or Spectra. A federal judge granted eminent domain rights to our streets to Spectra, an S & P 500 company.

So now my retirement is full of activities that oppose and try to stop the construction of this pipeline. Each morning Monday to Saturday I stand in vigil from 8:00 to 9:00 at the site of construction. There are often other neighbors and friends with me. We wave to the drivers who are on their way to work. They wave back and, even better, some honk their horns. Another vigil has been running since December 2014 on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 7:00 at the corner where the metering and regulating station is across from the quarry.

Why do I stand out? I stand out to point to and to name this injustice. I have no choice. I do not want anyone to forget what is being built outside our front doors putting hundreds of families in an incineration zone. I also stand to remind Spectra that there is strong steady opposition to this project.

I also support the many people who have volunteered to commit non-violent acts of civil disobedience, putting their bodies in the way of the machines in order to stop the construction. Their actions fill me with awe and gratitude.

This pipeline is expected to be operational by the first of November. The city of Boston and the Town of Dedham are in court again to try to stop it. I cannot predict how it will turn out, but I will fight it to the last minute. I hope you can join me.