Fix Reading's Large Volume Gas Leaks!
Like many Massachusetts communities, Reading has a systemic and growing gas leak problem due to an aging gas infrastructure. At the end of 2018, National Grid identified over 130 unrepaired gas leaks in Reading - some of which are over 20 years old. (https://heetma.org/gas-leaks/gas-leak-maps/) Independent researchers typically find 1.5 to 3 times as many leaks as utilities report.
Not only does this situation raise safety issues, gas leaks affect our health, our environment and our planet:
- Breathing gas fumes exacerbates respiratory illnesses
- Gas leaks suffocate the roots of trees and plants
- Natural gas is 87% methane, a potent greenhouse gas 84x more harmful than carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change during its first 20 years in the atmosphere
Gas utilities are not incentivized to fix non-emergency leaks, as they pass on the cost of lost and unaccounted for gas to consumers, and they receive a higher return from investing in new pipelines than from maintaining existing infrastructure.
We can no longer sit back and entrust the health and safety of our community and planet to National Grid.
Please sign (full name, please) this formal request to the Town of Reading, drafted by the Green Sanctuary Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, that the Town engage an independent auditor to accurately identify and measure ALL gas leaks in Reading.
This audit will provide the Town with the information it needs to work with National Grid to prioritize the repair of our largest and most harmful gas leaks in Reading, within the time frames of current legislation.
Update 8/3/19: Information added: underreporting of leaks by utilities; new requirements that utilities must repair large volume gas leaks within strict time limits; declaration of the drafters of the petition; clearer wording about the nature of the formal request to the Town of Reading.