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Mary Douglas

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Mary Stewart Douglas is an environmental lawyer who has worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, private firms, and, most recently, with an association representing the state and local administrators of the Clean Air Act. Before law school, she worked as an editor for John Wiley & Sons. Although she has lived in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, Mary can frequently be found in Massachusetts – Boston, Amherst, Great Barrington, and Northampton – visiting friends, relatives, and her three children. Mary holds degrees from Smith College and Hastings College of the Law.

Articles by Mary Douglas

Long-time EPA Community Coordinator – veteran in Housatonic River cleanup – steps down

Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 - "At EPA there’s a big morale issue at the staff level. It’s awful. Some employees wouldn’t normally think of leaving, but after two years of this, they wonder what they should do. I was counseling people in their 30s to hunker down for the longer run. But how can the EPA people work for a President who lies every day?” -- Jim Murphy, former Community Involvement Coordinator for Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 that comprises New England

Hostile Takeover at the EPA

Monday, 18 Jun 2018 - Anti-democratic governments, which thrive on obfuscating truth, seek to delegitimize and suppress scientists and other authoritative voices that offer accurate information that can be used to hold the government to account… So people who live near facilities that emit carcinogens or other hazardous pollutants are likely to be breathing more of them than before.

EPA initiates second round of mediation on Housatonic River cleanup

Monday, 14 May 2018 - Berkshire County residents have been vehemently and consistently opposed to dumping PCB waste in any of the three locations that GE has proposed – Woods Pond, Rising Pond, and Lenox Dale. EPA’s final permit required GE to transport all PCB waste off-site to a licensed PCB disposal facility.

Utilities manipulated natural gas supplies, causing artificial shortages, soaring energy prices, study finds

Thursday, 9 Nov 2017 - New England ratepayers paid $3.6 billion more for electricity due to capacity withholding. The utilities appear to have had an additional motive for withholding gas. Not only did the practice raise rivals’ costs in the electric generation market, but the artificially created gas shortages and high energy prices also lent credibility to the arguments for natural gas pipelines.

FERC asked to revoke permit for pipeline through Otis State Forest

Tuesday, 25 Apr 2017 - Congressman Richard Neal has demanded that decisions made by FERC regarding the Connecticut Expansion Project be deferred until a quorum of FERC commissioners is reached and all vacant FERC commissioner seats are filled: “It is my belief that the rehearing [on the permit] should occur before a single tree is cleared and construction on this project commences.”

Appeals court delays Otis State Forest pipeline project

Sunday, 2 Apr 2017 - On March 15, the Court held that the Natural Gas Act does not allow pipeline companies to leapfrog over state administrative procedures in order to expedite their projects. This is the first time a federal Circuit Court has interpreted the relevant language in the Natural Gas Act.

Legal loose ends, market forces might yet rescue Otis State Forest

Monday, 13 Feb 2017 - Depressed consumer demand for natural gas in Connecticut, could yet save beleaguered Article 97 of the Massachusetts’ Constitution. Reduced demand for gas in Connecticut could allow Massachusetts to continue to protect pristine, specially designated Commonwealth terrain.

Supreme Judicial Court strikes down natural gas pipeline tariff

Thursday, 18 Aug 2016 - “The Court’s decision makes clear that if pipeline developers want to build new projects in this state, they will need to find a source of financing other than electric ratepayers’ wallets.” -- Attorney General Maura Healey

FERC to Kinder Morgan: ‘Sandisfield pipeline? Not so fast.’

Saturday, 26 Mar 2016 - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is now requiring, among other things, clarification “that Tennessee would not fell trees in areas where it has not obtained an easement or purchase of property…including lands protected under Article 97 of the Massachusetts State Constitution.” “This is very exciting news. While very few people see the need for this gas line, all that we have ever asked of Kinder Morgan and FERC is to follow the process, be open and be fair to this beautiful community of 800 residents." -- State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli

Atty. Gen. Maura Healey warns pipeline giant Kinder Morgan to respect state Constitution

Sunday, 20 Mar 2016 - "The purchase of this spectacular property [Otis State Forest] ensures its lasting protection and is an example of our prudent investment in the Commonwealth’s rare and irreplaceable natural resources.” --- Gov. Deval Patrick, in 2007 “We’ve been FERC’ed!” -- Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, upon learning that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had approved a Tennessee Gas Pipeline route through the protected lands of Otis State Forest in March of 2016

GE welcomed in Boston; will PCB dumps bloom in the Berkshires?

Friday, 19 Feb 2016 - Massachusetts could have conditioned the move to Boston on an expeditious, cooperative cleanup of the Housatonic River; there is no evidence that that happened. On the contrary, GE appears to have received benefits and incentives in the East, and no reminder of its responsibilities in the West.

Pipeline approval may be in doubt as foes send barrage of comments to FERC

Sunday, 10 Jan 2016 - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has extended the deadline for commenting and for intervening as a party to the proceedings to January 15 at 5 p.m. Intervener status allows full participation in hearings on Northeast Direct (NED), including cross-examination and the submission of briefs.

Pipeline project seeks to strip Otis State Forest of its protected status

Thursday, 29 Oct 2015 - A public hearing in Boston on Tuesday, November 10, before the Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight, will consider a bill to remove conservation restrictions from Berkshire and Hamden counties' state forests and protected lands. State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and state Sen. Ben Downing urge Berkshire residents to attend this hearing to oppose this measure. The Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline have chartered a bus to go to the hearing.

Natural gas pipeline adversaries escalate battle, funding challenged

Saturday, 19 Sep 2015 - The export of liquid natural gas (LNG) now expected to be a major component of the Northeast Direct natural gas pipeline project is likely to result in higher domestic prices. “The very facts surrounding the need for additional gas capacity are highly disputed.” -- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is also challenging the legality of the ratepayer-funded pipeline