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News Brief: Boston Public Health Commission calls for gas pipeline health study

BPHC’s letter comes as the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards also calls on Gov. Baker to consider the documented hazards and potential risks of the production, transmission and burning of fracked natural gas.

Boston Public Health Commission calls on Gov. Baker to undertake health study of gas pipelines

Boston — The Boston Public Health Commission has written Gov. Charlie Baker to ask him to drop his support for new natural gas pipelines until state and federal agencies conduct comprehensive analyses to measure the pipelines’ effects on the climate and human health.

BPHC’s letter comes as the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards also calls on Baker to consider the documented hazards and potential risks of the production, transmission and burning of fracked natural gas. According to the MAHB, such studies are especially important since Attorney General Maura Healey has determined that the Commonwealth does not need new pipelines and should focus instead on cleaner and healthier forms of renewable energy.

The BPHC letter states: “We join members of the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards in strongly recommending that a formal Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment be required of all future natural gas infrastructure projects or expansions in the Commonwealth prior to state permitting.” The letter cites the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline specifically as a project for which a CHIA should be conducted to assess “the potential health and safety risks presented by this pipeline.”

The Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Medical Association have also adopted resolutions calling for public health impact studies before gas pipelines or other kinds of natural gas infrastructure are approved.

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