South Shore residents vs. Spectra
A few years ago, the pipeline federal agency known as FERC held a hearing in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Oil and gas giant Spectra Energy had proposed building a compressor station in North Weymouth that would push fracked-gas through a pipeline up to Canada for export to international markets. FERC had sent staff members to hear comments on the proposal from the local community.
Aware of the environmental, health, and safety risks posed by the compressor station, a Community Action Works staff member had driven down for the hearing. After arriving, they met Alice, a Weymouth resident who had helped to gather the more than 300 local residents who were at the hearing. When Weymouth’s mayor started speaking about how polluted the South Shore area already is, the FERC representatives shut her down. The residents started yelling and booing loudly.
A federal staffer then said, “I will shut this meeting down,” to which one courageous resident responded, “Bullshit!”
It was clear that local residents were determined to stop the compressor station, but they needed some guidance to get organized and make their case. So, our staff member started collecting names and contact information from all the residents at the hearing. We went on to help Alice and her neighbors form a community group to fight the compressor station, and we have provided them with a personalized action plan, trainings, resources, connections, and ongoing coaching. While the fight is ongoing, so far, the residents of the South Shore are winning.
But whether they win this fight or not, we know we have created the environment for change by enabling everyday people to be strong community leaders who transform our world.