BY Anne O'Connor
PEPPERELL -- Landowners in a town snugged up to the New Hampshire border do not welcome the prospect of a natural gas pipeline.
The first homeowners' meeting held in Pepperell drew so many to the Senior Center that some had to listen from the porch, Denene Premus said.
"It's just wrong," said Premus, the head of the homeowner coalition of Stop the Pipeline, Middlesex County and Beyond.
"It doesn't just impact Pepperell residents," she said. Conservation groups such as the Nashoba Conservation Trust are actively involved in the protest as well, concerned with many aspects of the pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan.
The pipeline could have safety impacts and adversely impact both water and land, Premus said. Individuals and government grants have funded conservation efforts throughout the state. The proposed route cuts through private property, conservation land and wetlands.
The prospect of funding the pipeline by a tariff and taking land by eminent domain parallels the battle American patriots fought against the British during the American Revolution, she said. "We have to look it right in the eye."
Representatives of Kinder Morgan said in public meetings that if the pipeline is approved, rights-of-way would be purchased by eminent domain from landowners who do not sell the rights earlier in the planning process.
The homeowners group plans to hire legal and environmental experts to state their case. This will take funding.
A planned fundraiser will bring pipeline opponents and green energy experts together for an evening of information and entertainment. The gathering will be held in one of the first homes in the area to incorporate passive solar. It was built about 40 years ago.
During the evening, two local speakers will talk about alternative energy sources that do not require a new gas pipeline.
Eric Broadbent, a member of the Harvard Energy Advisory Committee, will discuss a solar garden installed in the town. It provides energy to many houses through net metering, Premus said. "It's just amazing."
Groton's Jim O'Reilly, who is active in promoting clean energy, will also address the gathering.
Lucia's Tavola from Ayer will donate appetizers and desserts as well as beer and wine.
Deb O'Hanlan and Peter Fischman will provide entertainment.
Tickets are available at Pepperell Family Pharmacy and Century 21 Pepperell or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets for the Sept. 4 event at the Anthony Hars house at 46 Long Hill Road in Groton are $25. Additional donations are gladly accepted.
For information about the Stop the Pipeline, Middlesex County and Beyond visit nashobatrust.org.