On Wednesday, November 15, 2023 the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy (NCCE) voted unanimously to join Mothers Out Front Newton, Green Newton and 350Mass Newton in support of A Proposal for Rapidly Reducing Methane Leaks in Newton to be submitted to Newton city officials.

Initiated by Newton resident Peter Barrer, the proposal asks the City of Newton to call on National Grid to prioritize fixing Newton’s 50 highest volume gas leaks. When Barrer analyzed National Grid’s June 2023 data, he found that these fifty leaks–out of Newton’s 571 Grade 3 (high volume) gas leaks–were only 9% of the high volume leaks but caused 50% of Newton’s methane emissions from leaking gas.

Because leak repair is vastly less expensive than pipe replacement, Newton needs to prioritize leak repair over pipe replacement. In 2022, more leaking methane was reduced in Newton by leak repair at a cost of $125,000 than was accomplished by pipe replacement at a cost of $23,000,000. Clearly, it is high time to stop wasting money on replacing pipelines and rather prioritize effective repair of the biggest most hazardous and wasteful leaks, while concurrently developing a plan for an all-electric affordable future that is safe for our families and community.

The new proposal is consistent with the  Resolution for A Future WithOut Gas and for Clean Heat that the City Council voted to approve in February 2023 after advocacy by members of Mothers Out Front Newton, Green Newton, and 350Mass Newton as part of the Campaign for A Future WithOut Gas (AFWOG.org).