Fueled By Ignorance: Massachusetts Gas Leaks
Last Summer, Beryl Lipton embarked on a project to get gas leak data from Massachusetts municipalities - to her dismay, not only was there almost no information, but towns seemed surprised, even angry, that she would ask.
- Large red = No Responsive Documents
- Large Yellow = Payment Requested
- Large Purple = Rejected
- Large Green = Some responsive materials provided
- Small red = Never received a response
- Small yellow = Still awaiting response
This is unacceptable, especially in light of laws that require energy companies to provide this data. It’s time for us to demand that before we commit to new pipelines, our officials do their due diligence of finding out just how bad our infrastructure really is.
Take a look at the map below to see if a request has been sent to your town. It has? Go to the request page and follow that request to receive an update when materials arrive. It hasn’t? Shoot us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send an inquiry on your behalf.
- Small red = Request not yet submitted
- Small yellow = Request submitted
MuckRock’s most recent survey for greater Boston gas leak information has received relevant responses from two-fifths of surveyed municipalities, a marked improvement over responses from two years ago, when many municipalities claimed to have little to no information on the locations and plans for repair of natural gas leaks in their neighborhoods.
In the wake of Boston’s move to clamp down on leaks, MuckRock is re-surveying area towns for their plans to tackle natural gas waste and pollution at home.
Pipes set long ago are prone to leaks, and gas companies and government alike are privy to the fact. Talks of new natural gas lines continue, but what of maintaining our existing ones?
All winter, MuckRock has been reporting on gas leaks in the state — specifically, that legislative measures taken to fix them and prevent their consequences will remain impotent if they aren’t utilized, or even just more widely known. That’s where you can help.
A Massachusetts law permitting municipalities to obtain information about gas leaks in their jurisdiction — including the location and severity of such leaks — has been utilized by only one town since it went into effect: Boston.
Months into a survey into what Massachusetts towns know about their natural gas leaks, Brookline is the first town to release substantive responsive documents. The results suggest that other towns should take notice.
In Massachusetts, a new law entitles municipalities to request utility companies’ gas line maps and gas leak inventories based on uniform standards, but few towns seem to be aware of the right. Check out our interactive map to see how Middlesex county responded, and help us file with the rest of the state.
Natural gas leaks in Massachusetts cost millions and potentially risk lives - help us track them down.
Beneath Massachusetts streets, natural gas seeps from leaky pipes, and the utility companies who need to make up for lost product have been passing the costs onto the consumer. From 2000 to 2011, ratepayers were charged between $640 million to $1.5 billion in fees for unaccounted gas. Help us track down where the leaks are, and what - if anything - is being done to patch them up.