As has been widely reported over the past week, Kinder Morgan has amended its application before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct a 36-inch, high-pressure, gas pipeline across the northern tier of Massachusetts.
The “preferred” route now follows an existing utilities right-of-way in southern New Hampshire, and appears to remove several towns in Middlesex County, including Pepperell and Groton, from the path. The news is encouraging, only because it is evidence of the impact of our grassroots movement. Things happen when we unify, roll up our sleeves, and go to work to make our voices heard.
However, it is vital that our homeowner coalition recognizes that the battle is not over. There has ever only been one goal of this anti-pipeline movement: to stop it. The fact that the preferred route has been displaced to our North only means that it will now impact our friends and neighbors just across the state line. Our objections to the pipeline, including an over-reliance on gas-fueled power generation, the threat it represents to our environment, health, and safety, and the utter disregard for individual landowner rights, transcend state boundaries.
Citizens of the Commonwealth must remain engaged and vigilant. Know that while the preferred path has now changed, it could change again. The anger, anguish, and endless string of sleepless nights that this project has wrought upon many of our lives this past year should not be visited upon anyone. We must realize that all of New England is in this together, and that an eminent domain land taking imposed on any one, enforced by a commission of bureaucrats in Washington to serve the “public need and convenience,” threatens the security and Constitutional rights of all.
So, what can you do next? Residents of Pepperell, Groton, and the surrounding towns need to submit their comments in opposition to the proposal to FERC at the website www.ferc.gov. When doing so, you must reference the appropriate FERC Docket # PF14-22. Also, please join us in addressing your comments to the newly elected Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Attorney General Maura Healey. These elected officials need to be brought up to speed on our stance and the rationale behind our opposition. There will also be a Pepperell Homeowner Coalition meeting and letter signing campaign scheduled after the holidays. Details will be published in early January.
Finally, we send our heartfelt thanks to all who have lent their blood, sweat, and tears (quite literally in most cases) to this opposition effort. Without the support of all of you, we would not be effecting the impact we have had on this project. A blessed holiday season to all.
Vince and Denene Premus