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Kinder Morgan has been contacting property owners along the forested, rural areas of Northern Massachusetts with the intent of locating a high pressure, high volume gas pipeline from the New York border to Dracut, Massachusetts.

This proposed line will run close to nearly all of Massachusetts aquifers and reservoirs.  Parts of this proposed line will be located along existing rights of way for high voltage direct transmission cables, in some cases, placing gas and electricity in close proximity near homes, towns, and protected habitats.

This pipeline will extend through areas that are home to aquifers, and reservoirs that provide drinking water to the State of Massachusetts, and well water to rural households.

Kinder Morgan has an existing line along the southern border of Massachusetts which it is also seeking to extend through rural lands west to the New York border.  

Citizens are deeply concerned about the long-term environmental impact of this to Massachusetts, as well as the implications of this line to neighboring states.

Opinion Piece in Daily Hampshire Gazette
Proposed gas pipeline wrong policy for New England

By KATY EISEMAN, as published in Daily Hampshire Gazette
March 20, 2014 (Online March 19, 2014)

CUMMINGTON — In the last several weeks, landowners across the state — from the Berkshires to Essex County — have been contacted by representatives of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC (a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP) for permission to survey land for the proposed “Northeast Expansion” natural gas pipeline.

I urge landowners to deny the company permission to survey, or to rescind permission where it has been granted. I am also calling on local, state and federal officials to do everything in their power to block this unnecessary and ill-conceived pipeline, and to champion sustainable solutions to our energy needs.

According to the Boston Globe, natural gas already accounts for 67 percent of our state’s electrical generation. Increasing our reliance on this single, nonrenewable source of energy would make ratepayers even more beholden to volatile commodities markets. The intent for this route to link up to Canada also belies claims that more pipelines would decrease prices. (According to a TGP memo, intended customers include developers of liquefied natural gas projects in New England and Atlantic Canada.) Exporting American gas would drive prices up and would perpetuate the perceived need for more pipelines. At present, the New England governors are seeking to require electric ratepayers to pay for new pipelines with a new tariff.

The environmental and safety problems with these shale gas pipelines are well documented. The possibility that land protected under state law could be crossed by this pipeline is outrageous. Fatalities, fires, explosions and evacuations due to leaks in the natural gas infrastructure seem to be occurring with increasing frequency.

At the source of the gas, the environmental devastation wrought by hydraulic fracturing across the country has already been substantial. Also, while natural gas is touted as “clean energy” because of its relatively low carbon dioxide emissions, leaks in extraction and transmission emit methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Massachusetts citizens should not be forced to aid and abet this dangerous and shortsighted exploitation of our nation’s natural resources.

The hyped “need” for new pipelines is a fallacy. Proponents have claimed that the capacity of this single pipeline would provide much more energy than our projected energy shortfall. Simply fixing the leaks in existing pipelines in our region would likely cover about one-third of the shortfall; investments in energy efficiency could cover much if not all of the rest. Sustainable, renewable energy should be where we turn for any increase in capacity.

In a perversion of market incentives, our state and others cap the amount of energy that can be sold back to the grid by customers with their own renewable energy systems. If there are to be any caps in place, they should be on fossil fuel sources, not renewables.

The “3,000 jobs” this pipeline would allegedly create would be mostly temporary jobs for employees of the gas company from out of state. The pipeline would also compromise affected landowners’ ability to obtain mortgages or sell their property and leave a tainted legacy on the land for generations to come.

Locally based energy infrastructure (e.g., rooftop wind and solar) would bring long-term, local jobs and real energy independence.

Such a “distributed energy” generation infrastructure would also be safer in terms of national security and the potential for sabotage and terrorism.

In sum, this pipeline would continue a reckless and misguided energy policy that fortifies our reliance on fossil fuels. Instead, we should devote our resources to creating a comprehensive, sustainable renewable energy infrastructure.

Katy Eiseman of Cummington is co-founder of She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    The only real nation is humanity-Dr. Paul Farmer

    by Septima on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:34:39 AM PDT

  •  any idea more specifically where the pipeline is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    likely to go? The cut and paste is from a Hamshire county paper which is down by Amherst/Nhampton, of course that might just be the paper that picked up on it. I kind of remember big power lines going E/W up by route 2. I also remember MA residents doing most heating of domestic homes with fuel oil which is not very clean. I'd imagine MA has to import all it's energy one way or another.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 05:47:40 AM PDT

  •  "land protected under state law could be crossed" (0+ / 0-)
    The possibility that land protected under state law could be crossed by this pipeline is outrageous.
    Yes. Everything else she said is true, but why doesn't this trump all? What is it protected from and what is it protected for, if not to stop inappropriate usage?

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 07:12:03 AM PDT

  •  Do you realize (0+ / 0-)

    that a natural gas pipeline bears no resemblance to the environmental impact of a oil pipeline. Especially if it were to spring a leak.

    Frankly, I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing from angry America. I’m also less than fond of knee-jerk America. And when you combine the two with the Internet, you too often get stupid America, which is really annoying.

    by jsfox on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 09:02:08 AM PDT

    •  Actually we're trying to get facts . . . (0+ / 0-)

      There appear to be differences between high pressure, high volume lines, and the sort of lines that are generally existing in neighborhoods.  

      One difference is that, as we understand it, in these high pressure, high volume lines, no scent is added to warn folks of a leak, and by way of example, local hunters, traveling the woods here, might walk into a cloud of something that could cause asphyxiation or an explosion just in the course of enjoying a past time.  Or this could happen on someone's land or yard.

      Another concern is the location of high voltage in proximity to this quantity of gas.

      If you can offer us any insight as to the safety record of this combination in rural neighborhoods, we would sure appreciate it.  

    •  The above link not correct (0+ / 0-)

      For some reason this doesn't link.  If someone with greater skill can add this in succeeding comments that would be helpful.  Thank you!

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