Downing & Pignatelli seeking testimony from residents and concerned parties
BOSTON – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) and State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D- Lenox) announce that a public hearing date has been set by the Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight (SARO) for H. 3690, An Act relative to the conveyance of an easement in the town of Sandisfield, Massachusetts.
The public hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 11:00am in Gardner Auditorium of the State House. It is the only matter being discussed during the hearing.
This legislation was sponsored by State Representative Garrett Bradley (D- Hingham) at the request of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. It is necessary to advance their proposed Connecticut Expansion Project (CT Expansion), as passage of this legislation would secure access and easements to state-owned, public conservation lands in Sandisfield.
The company is seeking to add a 3.8-mile, 36-inch diameter storage loop to one of Sandisfield's two existing gas lines in order to supply its Connecticut markets. The easements will be used by the Company to lay, construct, maintain, operate, repair, remove or replace the underground gas transmission lines in order to upgrade its existing system.
On August 25th Downing and Pignatelli hosted the SARO Committee chairs and members in Sandisfield so they could personally visit the land outlined in this legislation. During the site visit it was discussed that work associated with the project may affect biodiversity, cause erosion and require the removal of old oak and ash trees that also serve as habitats. Further, the pipeline would cross and alter numerous wetlands and vernal pools, increase the spread of invasive plant species and permanently remove more than one million gallons of water from Spectacle Pond.
Downing and Pignatelli intend to testify against H. 3690 at the beginning of the hearing. Local testimony will help inform the Committee chairs, members and staff on the impacts of this legislation. Downing and Pignatelli therefore encourage residents, officials and concerned parties to participate as well.
There are three ways to testify on a pending bill: written testimony submitted by U.S. Mail; written testimony submitted by e-mail; and oral testimony presented during the hearing. No matter if it is submitted in writing or in person, all testimony received is given the same consideration.
- Written testimony should identify your name and contact information, the bill number and title, your position on the bill, and why you feel that way about it. Those who do not support H. 3690 want to urge the Committee to keep the bill from advancing, by either placing it into a study order, or giving it an adverse recommendation.
- Oral testimony delivered in person at the hearing will be limited to 3 minutes. Most Committees have a sign-up sheet outside of the hearing room and call people first come, first serve. It is tradition for legislators and stage agency officials to be recognized out of turn as they arrive in the hearing room if they wish to testify.
- While the hearing will take place on November 10th, written testimony is accepted until the Committee takes action on the bill. If it is not enacted and sent to the Governor by July 31, 2016, the bill will be defeated. Roll calls are necessary for the passage of Article 97 land bills and under the Joint Rules that govern the House and Senate, no roll calls can be taken after formal session recesses on July 31st of the second year of session.
- Contact information of SARO Committee Chairs:
The Honorable Joan Lovely, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on State Administration &Regulatory Oversight
State House, Room 413-A
Boston, MA 02133
The Honorable Peter V. Kocot, House Chair
Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight
State House, Room 22
Boston, MA 02133