For every linear street mile you drive in Somerville, there are just over five gas leaks.
That’s according to the Home Energy Efficiency Team, which surveyed the area in 2014. Somerville members of the climate change advocacy group, Mothers Out Front, aim to fix this, and are holding a public forum at the East Somerville Community School, 50 Cross St., from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 20.
The group is currently supporting a house bill nicknamed the Consumer Cost Protection Act, which would transfer the cost of lost gas from consumers to the utility companies over time, providing an incentive for the companies to fix the leaks faster.
“There’s been a lot of progress surrounding this issue,” said Bonnie Cohen, Mothers Out Front member and organizer of the Somerville event. “The three major gas companies in Massachusetts — Eversource, National Grid, and Columbia Gas — are engaged in a plan to fix the issue.”
If you smell gas, Mothers Out Front recommends calling your gas company and 911 immediately. “Most leaks aren’t an immediate safety risk, but a leak that emits enough gas that you can smell it, it needs to be fixed right away,” Cohen said.
Somerville and Medford state Representative Christine Barber is expected to speak at the forum, as are representatives from National Grid and Eversource.
Cohen said the majority of the gas that is leaking through local pipes is fracked gas, imported from out of state.
“We can meet our energy needs in other ways by decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels,” she said. “[Gas leaks are] not worth the risk to residents or the environment.”Samson Amore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Theamorestory.