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We’re an informal group of people in north-central Massachusetts who are concerned about issues relating to energy use. More...

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People Speak Out on Climate Crisis, Sustainable Energy and Protecting the Earth

As the Paris Climate Summit  (Nov. 30-Dec. 11) approaches, we all must step up and raise our voices.  On the eve of the biggest U.N. climate talks of the decade, we’re taking to the streets — all around the world.  With news from Paris that security will prohibit many of the Paris mobilizations and events from happening this means all people must make their voices heard around the world and be louder everywhere.  Join with people from around the North Quabbin and other places on Sunday, Nov. 29th from 1-2 p.m. at the Uptown Common in Athol for a short march, speakers and music.

No. Quabbin Global March for the Earth

No. Quabbin Global March for the Earth

Other Local and Regional Events

Winsert Making Workshops (interior storms) took place in both Orange and Royalston during November.  North Quabbin Energy and town energy committees in Orange and Royalston helped town residents build winserts for the Water Department Building in Orange and the Town Hall in Royalston.  These interior inexpensive winserts help increase the R-value of windows and cut down on heating costs.   See winsert page for information on using the “wrap method” to make winserts.

Public Lands Protected by Article 97 in Massachusetts  — Close to 20 people from the North Quabbin area were among the almost 150 people from across the state who attended a hearing in Boston recently on Article 97 and the proposed pipeline.

Alan Berman and Betsy Alkins (Warwick) were among many who attended Nov. 10 hearing at Boston State House.

People from across the state attended to give testimony to uphold Article 97 and keep Otis State Forest land from being taken out of Article 97 protection for a proposed gas pipeline running into Connecticut — another Kinder Morgan/TGP proposal.

Other News on Kinder Morgan/TGP proposed pipeline – Northeast Energy Direct Project — On Nov. 20, FERC posted the formal application submitted to them by Tennessee Gas Pipeline.  In the application Tennessee Gas makes the following comment about Article 97:   “Tennessee anticipates that it will seek Article 97 authorization from the Massachusetts legislature to obtain easement rights on lands that promote conservation purposes and that are owned by the Commonwealth  or  by a town or city.” (Nov. 20, 2015 application by Tennessee Gas Pipeline to FERC, Attachment A – Scoping Summary Matrix Responses, p. 40.).  For a listing of all sections of the application go to www.nofrackedgasinmass.org 

Solar Legislation — No Bill was passed by the MA State Legislature so works on this continues.


Acting Locally and Regionally on Energy Issues

Both North Quabbin Energy and North Quabbin Pipeline Action continue to plan events to educate people about energy conservation and efficiency as well as working to stop the proposed gas pipeline.

In the area of energy conservation, winsert making workshops are alive and well.  North Quabbin Energy along with town energy committees will co-ordinate two workshops in November – one on Nov. 7th at the Royalston Town Hall and the other on Nov. 14th at the Orange Armory. For information about these workshops see events and for instructions on how to make inexpensive interior storms (winserts) see Winserts – the Wrap Method.

People from the North Quabbin area also attended recent hearings at the State House in Boston.  These hearings before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy considered several energy bills. People working on these issues hope that the net metering cap affecting solar development projects in National Grid territory will be lifted this fall, and that a favorable energy bill will be passed by the State Legislature.

North Quabbin Pipeline Action had a presence at the Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange recently.  People staffed a table and got over 100 people to sign and write short letters to State Senators asking them to commit to upholding Article 97 of the State Constitution – an article pertaining to protected public lands in the state (see Resources and Research).  See Events for more information about upcoming activities.

Watch for Local Actions on Nov. 29th — Week-end of Climate Action on Road to Paris –  Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground.  See http://350.org/roadthroughparis/  –  “This huge weekend of action is being dubbed the Global Climate March, and a lot of organizations will be taking part. There will be a big march in Paris with hundreds of thousands of people, as well as key marches on every continent. Here in the U.S. it will be a holiday weekend, so we’re anticipating that many events will be a bit smaller. We’re still fired up to add our voices to the global call for action though, and we hope that you are too.”


Energy Bills Stall in State Legislature and Proposed KM Pipeline Moves Forward

Energy Bills in MA Legislature — As August ends it is still unclear what energy bills will be considered by the State Legislature this Fall.  It is important to keep contacting state officials and legislators about the Net Metering Cap.  Before the Legislature recessed for August,  Senator Rosenberg’s office reported that nothing could be done until this fall.  It is still unclear  if any energy bills will be considered this Fall.  Meanwhile there is a cap on large solar developments and community solar in National Grid territory which includes 171 communities in Massachusetts.  Continue calling legislators and Governor Baker asking them to lift the Net Metering cap (contacts for government officials).

On the proposed KM/TGP gas pipeline FERC is continuing to take comments for a couple of weeks in September on concerns pertaining to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for PF14-22.

For September Activities  see Events under Gas Pipeline.

Announcing the latest edition of our local food brochure

It’s here! The 2015-16 edition of our North Quabbin local food guide is now available. You can access a digital version by clicking here, or look for it at local outlets (stores, libraries, retail farmstands, and related venues) over the next few weeks. Continue reading Announcing the latest edition of our local food brochure

State Energy Policy – Renewables and Fossil Fuel Debate Heats Up

July 2015   Actions  Concerning Solar and Net Metering in MA  — Write Governor Baker and State Legislators in July to call for lifting the Net Metering Cap on Solar and call a halt to new gas pipeline infrastructure – See Actions to Take.

Defending Renewable Energy, Solar and Community Shared Solar through Legislation: On June 2, 2015 at the Statehouse in Boston the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy will be holding a public hearing   starting at 1:00 P. M. in Gardner Auditorium on bills related to solar energy and net metering.  For more details and the bills that will be covered in this hearing see Solar Hearings June 2015

Berkshire Gas asks for more fossil fuels/gas in the future:  On June 11, 2015 the MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will hold a hearing at the Greenfield Middle School in Greenfield on a petition by Berkshire Gas to sign a contract with Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s NED project to receive 36,000 dekatherms per day of gas through the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP NED project.  This and other petitions to the DPU help set up continuing use of fossils fuels (natural gas) well into the future.  See Docket 15-48  -  DPU (http://web1.env.state.ma.us/DPU/FileRoom/dockets/bynumber).  Enter 15-48 in DPU dockets by number to see comments and original Berkshire Gas petition.

See Events for details and more events.

State Legislature Considers Energy Bills including Support of More Solar Power

Warren MA Solar Installation helps Orange Town Buildings with energy savings on electricity through net metering - June 2014

State Legislature to  Consider Energy Bills this Spring

Solar is Working –  The State Legislature will take up several bills concerning energy, net metering caps on solar and other issues related to state policy on energy.  To support bills that promote lifting net metering caps on solar and other renewable issues sign on at (http://org.salsalabs.com/o/2155/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17565).                                                                                                                 For more information on Net Metering caps and specific bills see MassSolar SD1616-H2852 presentation, 4.1.15 1.  Also see for talking points  April2015-Phone script for solar power-2.  

See Events for upcoming regional events.  Also see  Actions to Take for latest on DPU hearings in Boston on proposed precedent agreements between gas companies and the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP NED project.

No Need for New Infrastructure such as Pipelines — Recently Ken Berthiaume from Orange, who is part of a team researching issues related to the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP 36″ pipeline, shared some of his research findings with Montague residents at an NQPA public event.   Much of the information is taken from ISO-New England.  See The Grid, Renewables & Jobs, Leaks and More_4.23.15

Take Action now –Sign the new petition to Governor Baker now (see Actions to Take)  calling for a Clean Energy future which means supporting energy efficiency and conservation, working toward 20% of electricity generation from solar sources by 2025 and mandating full implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act.   People can also continue writing to state legislators voicing your opinion and telling them to uphold Article 97 regarding protected land.  See Research and Resources for more information


Note: Members of the core North Quabbin Energy group are currently working on many projects, including town energy committees, pipeline resistance, local food, and winsert-making workshops. The group is not currently meeting as a whole, but we’re working on keeping this website up to date with new developments and information. Keep an eye on new posts here if you’re interested in finding out more about any of the above issues and projects in north-central Massachusetts!

NQ Pipeline Action Fundraiser Set for March 15

Sunday, March 15th–  Join with others and attend the  Stop the Pipeline Go Green Fundraiser at the Arts Block, 14 Court St. in Greenfield from 2-5 p.m.  This event is sponsored by No. Quabbin Pipeline Action (NQPA).  Musicians and local artists including Court Dorsey, Tex & Pat, Richard Chase and Moonlight & Morningstar  will provide entertainment.  There will be a silent auction, light refreshments and other events.

Help spread the word and attend this exciting fundraiser for NQ Pipeline Action as we continue our work to stop the Kinder Morgan/TGP NED project running across MA and NH.  Residents of Athol, Erving, Orange, Royalston, Warwick and other towns came together a year ago to form No. Quabbin Pipeline Action (NQPA) to stop the proposed 36″ pipeline project.  We have been involved in fighting the pipeline since people first heard from KM land agents in January and February 2014. The proposed pipeline still follows a path through Warwick, Northfield, Erving, Montague and other Franklin County towns before entering NH.  Kinder Morgan is also proposing to build an 80,000 HP compressor station in Northfield.   For more information and to contribute to the Silent Auction call Lisa at 978-790-7352.  Donations may now also be made to Millers River Watershed Council – “pipeline” (100 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331).  See Events for link to poster to print and give to others.

Take Action now –Sign the new petition to Governor Baker now (see Actions to Take).  File a comment with FERC.  Write to state legislators voicing your opinion and tell them to uphold Article 97 regarding protected land.  See Research and Resources for more information



Note: Members of the core North Quabbin Energy group are currently working on many projects, including town energy committees, pipeline resistance, local food, and winsert-making workshops. The group is not currently meeting as a whole, but we’re working on keeping this website up to date with new developments and information. Keep an eye on new posts here if you’re interested in finding out more about any of the above issues and projects in north-central Massachusetts!

Pipeline Opposition Activists Form Tri-State Coalition

Over 40 activists working to stop the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP pipeline attended a retreat in January and formed a tri-state coalition.  These activists included people from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, many who had been working on opposing the pipeline for the past year.  Representatives from two dozen (24) organizations formed the StopNED Coalition to work together in the region to stop the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP pipeline and also focus on alternative solutions such as more renewable energy and more energy efficiency programs.

The StopNED Coalition will address the broader environmental and economic impacts of the pipeline. According to Rosemary Wessel from www.nofrackedgasinmass.org,  “Increasing the region’s dependence on natural gas will hold businesses and homeowners hostage to this volatile commodity’s price swings, as well as price increases arising from possible export.  We all will benefit far more from clean energy solutions that fight climate change, offer stable prices and create thousands of local, permanent jobs.”

The focus for the StopNED Coalition in the next few months will include coordinating work on several campaigns.  The possible campaigns include: Alternative Solutions, Landowners and KM Open Houses, Upholding Article 97 and other work regarding conservation lands, Global Warming (e.g., in MA getting state to mandate and comply with goals set in MA Global Warming Solutions Act), and Tariff Issues.
NQ Pipeline Action will join with other groups to work on these campaigns and will update people as proposed actions develop.  Materials regarding these campaigns will also be posted under Resources and Research.  Meanwhile several public events are happening in the region during the coming month (See Events).

Outreach to other Communities and Organizations in other parts of Massachusetts — For an example of this, see posting at UUMassAction website – http://www.uumassaction.org/uuma/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Stop-NED-Document-for-Distribution-1.pdf.  This group reaches out to 140 churches affiliated with the Universalist-Unitarian (UU) churches in MA.

What’s happening with North Quabbin Energy

Members of the core North Quabbin Energy group are currently working on many projects, including town energy committees, pipeline resistance, local food, and winsert-making workshops. The group is not currently meeting as a whole, but we’re working on keeping this website up to date with new developments and information. Keep an eye on new posts here if you’re interested in finding out more about any of the above issues and projects in north-central Massachusetts!

Working toward Sustainable Energy Policies, Clean Energy and Green Communities

Warwick earns Green Community Designation — December, 2014

Warwick is now one of 13 new Green Communities, recently designated on Dec. 3 2014, and awarded $137,850 to begin implementing their 20% energy reduction plan over the next 5 years.

“Never say never” says Janice Kurkoski, chair of the Warwick Buildings and Energy Committee, who from the beginning had felt that there was much too much paperwork and too many hoops to jump through to apply for this grant. But when Warwick’s Town Coordinator David Young offered to be the point-person, the Committee stepped up to the plate and presented an Energy Reduction Plan that the State thinks is good enough to use as a model for other small towns to follow. With a total of 136 participating cities and towns, more than half of all Massachusetts residents now live in a Green Community.







Presentation of check to Warwick as one of newest Green Communities in MA — David Young and Janice Kurkoski accept Green Communities grant from Dept. of Energy Resources in Boston.

Proposed Pipeline and Alternative Route –  As the move to stop the Kinder Morgan/TGP Northeast Energy Direct widens to southern New Hampshire more and more people are thinking and talking about taking steps in their communities to be more energy efficient and use all forms of energy including electricity wisely. For January events in region see Events.

Watch for more information about January Events regarding continuing work to stop the Kinder Morgan/TGP natural gas pipeline project.  For more information now go to www.nofrackedgasinmass.org

Low Demand Scenario Study — The MA Department of Energy Resources hired Synapse Consultants to do an analysis of the “low demand scenario” between October and December 2014.   After a stakeholder meeting in Boston on December 18th, the release of the final study was delayed.  Many people attending stakeholder meetings feel that the  final study will just focus on natural gas and not fully evaluate a range of solutions to meet the state’s energy needs as stated on the Synapse website.   The Synapse website stated, “The purpose of the analysis is to consider various gas demand scenarios and to evaluate a range of solutions to meet Massachusetts’ short and long-term resource needs, considering greenhouse gas reductions, economic costs and benefits, and system reliability.”  Many comments concerning the final report voiced concerns about staying in compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act and reducing greenhouse gases.   People from environmental groups, land trusts, and stop the pipeline groups participated on December 18, 2014. To learn more about the on-going study, more stakeholder meetings,  and to read comments from groups and see what Synapse is doing go to http://synapse-energy.com/project/massachusetts-low-demand-analysis.

Rolling March of Words in December — People in area towns (Athol, Erving, Northfield, Orange, Royalston, Warwick) gathered to write letters to  state senators in December to educate them about Article 97 of the State Constitution and ask them to uphold this article regarded protected land in the state. Between 400 and 500 letters were written during December to state officials.  Other towns including Bolton also participated in letter writing activities during December.

Petition to speak out against the National Grid rate hike of 37% on MoveOn — Tell the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to roll back the rate increase. The long-term solution for preventing volatile price spikes and halting climate change is investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy. It is time to democratize energy policy in the Commonwealth, making it clean, green and fair.

On September 16, National Grid, the largest electric utility in Massachusetts filed a 37% rate increase with the Department of Public Utilities. Other large utilities, such as NStar, Unitil and WMECO are expected to do the same.  Support the roll back of this massive rate increase and demand environmentally sustainable energy policy in Massachusetts.  Click on link below to read full petition and sign.