Since this gas pipeline was first proposed, we have been actively working together to obtain factual information about the project and its potential impacts on the people and communities that we represent.
Our major focus to date has been on determining exactly what the role of Massachusetts state government would be for this project, since most of the regulatory and permitting authority for it lies with the federal government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Despite the primary federal authority for this project, we believe strongly that state government, including the Legislature, must take an active role in determining if this project is in the best interests of the Commonwealth, and especially the areas that we represent in the western part of the state.
Our work so far has convinced us that the major policy questions about the need for additional gas supply, and the environmental, economic, and social issues raised by this project have not yet been adequately addressed.
Furthermore, we are not pleased with both the lack of specific information about this project and the proposed pipeline route that has come from Kinder Morgan. We are very disappointed and concerned about the way that the company is dealing with property owners and town governments who would be impacted by the pipeline.
As such, we pledge to continue to press for a more open and transparent process for this project, and to focus on the enormous potential for negative environmental impacts of this pipeline through Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin counties.
We are deeply concerned that the proposed route may pass through lands that the public has set aside for conservation, agriculture, and wildlife protection. As such, we believe that Article 97 of our Massachusetts Constitution, which provides protection for such lands, must be invoked. Waivers from Article 97 protections require approval from the Legislature by a two-thirds majority, and we believe at this time that this would be a challenging and uphill process.
We thank all of the citizens who are actively engaged in this issue, and encourage you to stay in touch with us as we continue to work together for the benefit of our region’s economy, environment, and quality of life.