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Proposed Gas Pipeline Project Sparking Controversy in Central MA

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

 

the line in blue is where the proposed pipeline would run through Worcester County

After a relay across all of the towns that would be affected by the proposed gas pipeline project, protesters are ramping up their efforts to show their opposition.

Protestors will gather at the Statehouse this Wednesday to protest Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed gas pipeline project, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline, as well as to present a petition that currently has over 11,000 signatures.

“We are still continuing to gather signatures for the petition, said Rosemary Wessel, Founder of No Fracked Gas in Mass. “We are working with residents and others to make sure that this pipeline does not go in. Time is a big factor; the company is planning to pre-file their FERC application in September which would give them the power of imminent domain.”

Wessel is hopeful that the combination of the continued rallies and the petition will help to sway legislators and the governor to reconsider the project.

Legislative Support

Wessel says that the pipeline project is harmful both to the land of Massachusetts, as well as to residents’ wallets. The proposed pipeline goes through various areas of conservation land and it would ultimately be tax dollars that would pay for the project.

In addition to seeing a wealth of residential support, Wessel also sees various legislators – including Worcester’s own Jim McGovern – stepping up to show their support. Although he says he won’t be there in person, McGovern says that he will be at the Statehouse rally in spirit.

“Let me be clear: I believe that this pipeline is irresponsible,” said McGovern, in a letter to protestors. “The proposed route was made with little consideration for the environment, cutting through land that has been permanently conserved by multigenerational farmers, individual land owners, land trusts, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The majority of this land has been protected with tax dollars and donations.”

Public Forums

Kinder Morgan has been spending a lot of time reaching out to stakeholders throughout Massachusetts, in an effort to educate and inform the public about their project.

With a public hearing scheduled in Lunenburg on August 5th, Kinder Morgan hopes to inform Central Massachusetts residents about the project, giving them an opportunity to field any concerns. State and local officials as well as business owners have also been invited so that they can ask and field questions as well.

“Our outreach is continuing in Massachusetts and soon will start in earnest in New York,” said Richard Wheatley, a spokesperson for Kinder Morgan, Inc. “Stakeholder outreach is a critical part of the process to educate and inform the public and officials about energy projects, to listen to stakeholder concerns, and answer their questions to the best of our ability.”

 

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