The Back Bay/South End pipeline extension: Boston's moral challenge

Our much-vaunted Boston--high-tech, futuristic, progressive--faces a historic moral choice: to increase fossil fuel use, which would lead to the city's destruction as well as problems for life on our planet, or to apply its lofty values to solving the carbon problem.

The crux lies with National Grid's proposed 5,000-foot gas pipeline extension for the Back Bay/South End, pushed by energy utilities under cover of claims that the massive new construction in the area will require more gas. The Green Committee of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) vigorously opposes the pipeline, and yesterday more than 50 people marched through the bustling business center of Back Bay to call for an end to fossil fuels.

Organized by Back Bay resident Jacqueline Royce, also a JCAN activist, the marchers walked along part of the proposed pipeline route from the Boston Public Library to the fountain at the Christian Science Mother Church, accompanied by fife and drum, a flautist, and a selection of appropriate puppets. A wide range of ages were represented, although much less racial diversity. Small but spirited, we showed that climate activists can keep the heat on energy companies and our own representatives.

Support from local representatives was strong. We heard talks from two city councilors: president Michelle Wu (who brought her baby on the march) and Josh Zakim. State Senator Will Brownsberger, Dr. Richard Clapp from Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a number of local activists also spoke, emphasizing the importance of designing more environmentally friendly buildings.

The march was covered by the Boston Sun, Beacon Hill Times, and Boston Guardian. In addition to Jacqueline, three other JCAN supporters were present.