Letter to the Editor

Boston Faith Leaders Opposition to the Proposed Back Bay Pipeline

Dear Editor,

We write to you about a matter of profound significance – a matter of faith, a matter of justice, a matter of life and death, and a matter that you have the power to address.

As leaders of faith communities here in the heart of Boston, we write with a unified voice to express our categorical opposition to National Grid’s proposed gas pipeline through Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

Climate change is today’s most pressing moral issue. The fossil-fueled destabilization of our planet and resulting dislocation of people is an issue of justice that affects all other struggles for liberation. A disturbed climate disrupts the lives of all people – especially people of color, indigenous communities, the under-housed, children, and the elderly who are disproportionately more vulnerable to climatic disruptions. Therefore, the continued construction of climate-change-exacerbating infrastructure that will lead to more trauma, injustice and pain in our world and city, is a moral issue. Such pipelines must not be built.

In the name of morality, something must be done.

As people of faith, we understand that the call to love our neighbor includes caring about the places where our neighbors live. As stewards of the gift of God’s planet, climate, watersheds, and neighborhoods, we believe that this pipeline violates our calling to love our neighbors in these ways:

  • A pipeline that carries fracked gas through our streets, by our houses of worship, schools and playgrounds is not a loving choice.
  • A pipeline with the potential for leaking that snakes through our communities and increases health risks to our people is not a loving choice.
  • A pipeline that supplies high-end, non-affordable housing in Boston with a morally tainted energy source is not a loving choice.

Therefore, in the name of love and for the sake of morality, we urge you to do all in your power to reject this proposal and stop this project.

We deeply appreciate and support the strong voices of opposition to this pipeline from City Councilors Mat O’Malley, Josh Zakim and Tito Jackson, to other community members who similarly oppose this pipeline. We share their clear and consistent concern that building more fossil fuel infrastructure is counterproductive to our City’s commitments to renewable energy. We support a full, open, lengthy and transparent period for public comment and review of this proposal. We also want to make it clear we appreciate the work of National Grid in helping supply our city with energy – however, morality requires such energy to come from renewable sources that do not wreak havoc on our climate.

Some of us clergy signing this letter traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota just over a year ago to stand in solidarity with our indigenous neighbors who courageously opposed a dangerous fossil-fuel pipeline that threatened their way of life. We take our lead and inspiration from those leaders who made it clear to us and our world that people are more sacred than profit, and water is more important than wealth. Standing with them helps us stand now today in opposition to this pipeline, and in support of our community.

We are willing to meet further in person to discuss our concerns and the concerns of the thousands of congregants that we collectively serve. We look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for acting on behalf of all of God’s people and the planet we have been entrusted to steward. We thank you for your critical public service in these unsettling times.

In peace on earth,

Rev. Rob Mark, Church of the Covenant Boston, 67 Newbury Street, Back Bay, Boston in solidarity with and on behalf of fellow Boston and Greater Boston clergy:

Rev. Dr. Nancy S. Taylor, Senior Minister & CEO, Old South Church in Boston Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie, Senior Minister, Arlington Street Church in Boston Rev. Rainey Dankel, Associate Rector, Trinity Church, Boston

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Bethel AME Church, Jamaica Plain, Boston

Rev. June R. Cooper, Executive Director, City Mission, Boston

Rev. Stephen Kendrick, First Church in Boston, Unitarian Universalist

Rabbi Howard Berman, Central Reform Temple, Boston

Rev. Fred Small, Minister for Climate Justice, Arlington Street Church in Boston

Rev. Julie Avis Rogers, Church of the Covenant, Boston

Rev. Kevin K. Baxter, Boston Society of the New Jerusalem

Amanda Grant-Rose, Executive Director of Common Cathedral, Boston

Rev. Dr. Donald A. Wells, Old South Church, Boston

Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Rev. Dr. Ian Mevorach, Common Street Spiritual Center, Natick

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, President of the Jewish Climate Action Network, MA

Minister Marla Marcum, Climate Disobedience Center Director, MA

Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, Conference Minister and President, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ

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