Thursday, April 28, 2016

Planning Board Meeting Minutes 03-21-16

It's a shame that we pay for a website that is never updated. Guess the Land Use Administrator is just too busy these days to upload the meeting minutes in a timely fashion. Maybe if she didn't hold so many positions she'd find the time to do the job she is suppose to be doing.. Listen up BOS, time to stop appointing the same people over and over again..

To enlarge for reading; click on the page, right click and choose "view image", then click again to enlarge the print.









Tuesday, April 26, 2016

About the new selectman appointed in Winchester


 By Matt Nanci Sentinel Staff

The Winchester Board of Selectmen has appointed a new member to fill a vacancy that’s existed since January.
The board chose Raymond C. Williams in a 4-0 vote at its meeting last week, according to Selectmen Chairwoman Roberta A. Fraser.
The selectmen made two previous attempts to fill the vacancy. Board members deadlocked 2-2 at their April 6 meeting and did not vote the week after because not all four members were present, Fraser said.
Williams was one of eight candidates considered for the seat. Fraser said she and the board liked his qualifications, including his previous experience in government.
He’s originally from New Jersey, where he worked in law enforcement for 25 years, according to the minutes of the meeting. Williams told the board he also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for 10 years and has experience managing budgets of more than $8 million.
Williams fills the position left vacant by Kenneth Berthiaume, who resigned at the end of January, citing health reasons including a hearing impairment.
Berthiaume was in the first year of a three-year term. Notice of his resignation came after the filing period for elected town offices had closed, which led to the vacancy.
Williams will serve on the board until March, when voters will elect a candidate to serve the rest of Berthiaume’s term, according to Winchester Town Administrator Shelly Walker.

Matt Nanci can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or mnanci@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @MNanciKS.

Monday, April 25, 2016

No Pipeline ... Kinder Morgan Pulls Out

By TOM RELIHAN
Recorder Staff
Friday, April 22, 2016 


Kinder Morgan’s leadership fielded questions on the factors that led to the company’s decision to cancel the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline from financial analysts during an earnings call this week, and it boiled down to a lack of firm customers, regulatory hurdles, and an unstable global energy market.
Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean told analysts during the call Wednesday night that the company decided to nix the NED and another pipeline project in Georgia to cut about $4 billion in capital spending, according to a transcript posted on the investment news website Seeking Alpha.
“While many of our (local distribution companies) customers did sign up, we did not receive enough contractual commitments from electric customers to make the project viable,” said Kean. “So, we will fulfill our obligation to consult with our customers over the next 30 days or so, but this project is not economic, so we’re removing it from the backlog. In both cases, NED and Palmetto (the Georgia pipeline), based on all the facts, we believe this is the right outcome for our investors.”
Kean said the return on the NED project would have been less than 6 percent – a situation he described as “clearly not viable.”
“We value our New England customers and continue to believe along with many others that additional capacity is needed in the region, but we’ll have to look for other ways to serve some part of those needs,” he continued. “We didn’t get there on this one and the action we’re taking is undeniably the right call for our investors.”
Kean said a dramatic downturn in the gas and oil production sector has hit Kinder Morgan hard. Much of the midstream gas and oil industry has been plagued by similar woes as global commodity prices have plummeted. 


Analyst says 


Robert Pollin, a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said that a steep drop in oil and gas prices is being driven by the emergence of hydraulic fracturing as an inexpensive way to extract natural gas. That, he said, has seen oil producing companies like Saudi Arabia and others in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries – or OPEC – who have the ability to slash their prices do so in an effort to offer a cheaper product, undercutting that new competition and driving them out of business. That can constrain the supply.
On the demand end, the regulatory hurdles make it unclear whether the gas that is produced will even be bought on the other end.
“No investor is going to want to invest in a project if they don’t know they have a solid market once they’ve produced their product,” Pollin said, of Kinder Morgan’s inability to secure demand-side customers. “If Kinder Morgan is saying they don’t have the customers, then that’s an issue.” 


Kean also said in the call that one of the NED’s “significant prospective customers” decided to “put their volume somewhere else, with a significant negative impact on the project. He did not specify who that customer was.
That, and a growing opposition movement toward the use of fossil fuels as an energy source is growing worldwide, Pollin said, which could put pressure on investors to abandon oil and gas companies. That sentiment, in part, drove much of the grassroots opposition spawned by the proposed project.
“We are a lot better off with that $3.1 billion back in our pockets and being put to some other use. The project wasn’t going to produce the return that would be required to make it viable, because again the contracts weren’t there,” Kean said. “We’re better off having that money back.”
He expressed optimism that gas would grow moving forward, though.
“I think we’ll continue to see growth in natural gas and natural gas liquids exports,” he said. “And those long-term trends are good for North American energy midstream companies like Kinder Morgan.”
Kean noted the Palmetto pipeline was sunk by the Georgia Legislature preventing the company from getting eminent domain powers and other state permits. He said joint-venture projects elsewhere are going well.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., the Kinder Morgan subsidiary that would have built the NED, has sued the state over Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, which requires a legislative override to remove conservation restrictions on some of the land the company’s Connecticut Expansion project is set to cross in Sandisfield. The NED project would also likely have encountered a sizeable portion of that land along its own route.
Tom Martin, the company’s vice president for natural gas pipelines, said the company will continue to pursue alternatives for getting more gas into the Northeast, but that’ll likely need to be done through local distribution companies, and on a smaller scale.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Gas plans to maintain a moratorium on any new natural gas service hook-ups into the foreseeable future, citing a lack of alternative ways to obtain the gas it needs to maintain system pressure.
“There is need both in the near term and ultimately we believe in the long term in the region, but we’ll just try to scale up with that demand as it develops,” Martin told analysts.
“But,” Kean told analysts, “there is a regulatory process that has to get sorted out up there for how the power part of the business is going to procure the needs for their generating assets.”
Kinder Morgan cited those regulatory hurdles, which prevented power generators from signing on to the project, as a significant factor in the decision to suspend the NED.
“That’s been a work in progress and who knows when they ultimately get that resolved,” Kean said. “So there’s definitely less producer push activity for anything large. And we think on the demand side infrastructure is still needed, but they’ve got to come to terms with how it can get contracted for.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kinder Morgan suspends pipeline project

Company faced opposition to project in New York and in New Hampshire

 MANCHESTER, N.H. —Kinder Morgan has indefinitely suspended the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project.

Kinder Morgan made the announcement late Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, the company blamed insufficient contractual commitments from companies that distribute natural gas in the region.
Kinder Morgan faced significant challenges and opposition to the project in New York and New Hampshire.
"I think it was a group effort, a wonderful collaboration between pipeline opponents and our local and state legislators and state senators, some of whom went to bat for us in promoting legislation," pipeline opponent Mary Ann Harper said.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said she was glad to hear the news.
"I was the first statewide elected official to oppose the pipeline moving forward because of the many unanswered questions and concerns raised by New Hampshire residents who would have been affected by this project, so I am pleased by today's announcement," Ayotte said.
The pipeline would have cut through southern New Hampshire.

 http://www.wmur.com/money/kinder-morgan-suspends-pipeline-project/39129938?src=app


 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Selectmam Meeting Minutes 04-06-16

To enlarge the print.. click on a page, then right click and choose view image ,,




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Choose a selectman who actually ran for the seat

An open letter to the Winchester Board of Selectmen:
On Wednesday, April 6, 2016, there was a vote for the town’s open selectman seat. This vote was deadlocked 2-2 for two of the proposed names.
One of the selectees did not even run during the recent election. I understand that it is an appointment and not an election, at this point; however, the majority of the townspeople believe that as long as there are qualified people among the ones who ran in the election, the appointment to the open seat should be from those who were on the ballot.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, people have very little faith in their elected officials. The candidates on the original ballot showed they had Winchester in their best interest. They wanted to participate in the election process. Choosing someone who has not been voted on removes the reason for elections.

By choosing from that list, the selectmen would restore a little bit of faith in our locally elected officials.

Raymond C. Williams
 Keene Road
Winchester

Ratepayers could be put on hook for natural gas project

As the official tasked by statute with representing residential utility customers before the Public Utilities Commission, I share the concern expressed in the April 7 Sentinel editorial about New Hampshire electric customers being forced to pay for natural gas capacity. I write, however, to offer some clarification. However problematic Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline is, it is actually an entirely different project, called Access Northeast, that raises the immediate specter of electric customers guaranteeing a pipeline deal. Access Northeast is a joint project of a Texas company, Spectra Energy, and New England’s two biggest electric utilities, Eversource and National Grid.
Although the Access Northeast project would, if built, not cross New Hampshire, Granite Staters still have much to worry about here. Eversource has asked the PUC to approve its unprecedented 20-year deal with Access Northeast and thus double down on natural gas as our fuel of choice for making electricity. This is so even though natural gas prices can be volatile, renewable resources are likely to be cheaper in the long run, we could make much more use of energy efficiency, and New Hampshire has restructured its electric industry.

The latter point — about restructuring — is especially important. Twenty years ago, the Legislature decided to break up our vertically integrated electric utilities and leave them responsible for providing the poles and wires — so-called distribution service. In the case of Eversource, the company is only now getting around to divesting the last of its generation assets and truly becoming a distribution-only utility in New Hampshire. Putting natural gas capacity into distribution service rates is a backdoor way of undoing restructuring.

The Sentinel editorial suggested that New Hampshire has already blessed the legality of such a deal. Not so. My office intends to argue vigorously to the contrary at the PUC and, if necessary, in the courts. Electric customers have paid dearly since 1996, through stranded cost charges associated among other things with the Seabrook nuclear plant and the ill-advised mercury scrubber at the Eversource coal plant in Bow, for the right to be free from the kind of longterm energy obligation Eversource now seeks to impose on them anew.
In short, the conclusion of the editorial is exactly right: We still need to import some of our energy in the form of natural gas, but to get it ratepayers should not be “on the hook while the company that stands to profit gets a pass.”

DONALD M. KREIS
Consumer Advocate
Office of Consumer Advocate
21 South Fruit St. Suite 18
Concord

Monday, April 11, 2016

" Proposed Directives for Election Day in Winchester"


Attached is the proposed directives that are planned for election’s going forward in Winchester, with input from the town clerk.  Some of them are mandated by the Attorney General’s Office others are mandated from the Secretary of State’s Office, or the town itself with the 100 foot markings.  I have also included the Attorney General’s Election Checklist.  Someone usually comes down from the Sheriff’s office to inspect the polling place, and not only grades us but also makes the town moderator make  corrections immediately.   

I would still like anyone else’s input on election day procedures.  We can also schedule a face to face meeting if you like, or even a public meeting on election issues. Which would need to be posted at least 24 hours ahead from the meeting.


Denis V. Murphy ll
dmurphy2nd@myfairpoint.net




DRAFT


To avoid confusion on Election Day from the opening to the closing of the polls, the following will be implemented only in the parking lot of the town hall, all in accordance with RSA 664:17.
No signs in the back of or attached to any vehicle while in the Town Hall parking lot except bumper stickers.
-          The front row inside the 100’ area will be reserved only for handicap and elderly parking
-          No large vehicle will park on the edges of the 100’ area of the lot that may impede traffic/pedestrian safety. To be determined by the moderator or designate.
-          Large vehicles must be parked by the Winchester Post Office wall.
-          Parking inside the 100’ area shall be for ½ hour, except for election officials/town employees who are elderly or handicapped.
-          Vehicles left over 2 hours will be towed at owner’s expense.
-          All signs must be attended to; if they are left unattended they may be placed under the stairs of the town hall to be picked up by authorized candidate workers or committee.

These rules will be given to all candidates when they file for office. In addition they will also be posted 72 hours before any election in accordance with 31:41-c



DRAFT


TITLE LXIII
ELECTIONS

CHAPTER 664
POLITICAL EXPENDITURES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Political Advertising

Section 664:17

    664:17 Placement and Removal of Political Advertising. – No political advertising shall be placed on or affixed to any public property including highway rights-of-way or private property without the owner's consent. All political advertising shall be removed by the candidate no later than the second Friday following the election unless the election is a primary and the advertising concerns a candidate who is a winner in the primary. Signs shall not be placed on or affixed to utility poles or highway signs. Political advertising may be placed within state-owned rights-of-way as long as the advertising does not obstruct the safe flow of traffic and the advertising is placed with the consent of the owner of the land over which the right-of-way passes. No person shall remove, deface, or knowingly destroy any political advertising which is placed on or affixed to public property or any private property except for removal by the owner of the property, persons authorized by the owner of the property, or a law enforcement officer removing improper advertising. Political advertising placed on or affixed to any public property may be removed by state, city, or town maintenance or law enforcement personnel. Political advertising removed prior to election day by state, city, or town maintenance or law enforcement personnel shall be kept until one week after the election at a place designated by the state, city, or town so that the candidate may retrieve the items. Source. 1979, 436:1. 1994, 4:28. 2006, 273:1, eff. Aug. 14, 2006. 2013, 24:1, eff. July 15, 2013.

Winchester Pipeline Awareness .. Updated news

From 
  Stephanie EarthDancer Scherr

To: Winchester residents,  an update on the proposed NED pipeline route.

"The route of the proposed pipeline has changed slightly and now is proposed to cross Rte. 78 in Winchester between the two "incineration" signs. The proposed pipeline is 30 inches in diameter and operates at 1,460 pounds per square inch. It the pipeline were to rupture, most likely the gas would be ignited and the explosion would incinerate anything within a 790 foot radius. One of the reasons that Kinder Morgan wants to run the pipe through rural areas is that the federal regulations allow the use of thin walled pipe in rural areas. The insane thing is that the federal regulations (written in the l990s before such high pressures were used in pipelines) allow houses within 50 feet of the pipeline.

obviously, many pipeline opponents, especially those near a pipeline advocate for thick wall piping in rural areas, which is opposed by kinder Morgan because it is more expensive. In New Hampshire a bill (HB l660) has become law that requires a gas line company to buy the entire lot if the landowner/homeowner so requests. A disturbing side note is that Kinder Morgan spends 50% less on pipeline maintenance than other pipeline companies; their share holders enjoy higher dividends while pipeline opponents point to their dismal safety record."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Senate president expresses opposition to pipeline project



CONCORD — New Hampshire’s leading Republican lawmaker, Senate President Chuck Morse of Salem, is taking a stand against the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline, citing what he called the company’s dismissive approach to New Hampshire’s regulatory authority.

The proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project calls for a new 30-inch transmission pipeline that would carry natural gas from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to New England, with an 80-mile route across Southern New Hampshire.

“Given that there are pipeline projects being proposed in New England that provide similar benefits to New Hampshire with far less impacts, I believe that the NED pipeline, as currently proposed, is not the best project to address our current energy market problems,” he wrote in a recent letter to the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission and the state commissioner of Environmental Services.

The letter is copied to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the NED project manager at Kinder Morgan.

“New Hampshire is currently considering other similar energy projects, and we have seen positive examples of these projects undertaking considerable outreach, project redesign and mitigation efforts,” wrote Morse. “Unfortunately, the NED project has not demonstrated a willingness to work with affected communities, landowners or the state to address issues that have been raised.”

In an interview, Morse said his decision to publicly oppose the NED proposal was prompted by a March 2 article in the Union Leader on Kinder Morgan’s position regarding state authority over the project.

“The siting and approval of interstate high-pressure gas pipelines proposed by private companies is governed by FERC. FERC alone approves the location and construction of interstate pipelines, related facilities and storage fields involving moving natural gas across state boundaries,” wrote Manchester attorney Scott O’Connell on behalf of Kinder Morgan and the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project.

“In the event that any state or municipal law or ordinance conflicts with a FERC requirement, FERC’s requirement will prevail,” according to O’Connell. “We respectfully urge with respect to interstate pipelines that (New Hampshire) participate in the FERC process and avoid incorporating further requirements that are duplicative or, if not, likely pre-empted by federal law.”

That didn’t sit well with Morse, who said, “If the Kinder Morgan attorney is basically saying that we don’t have a say here in New Hampshire on this project, I disagree with that. There are permits on water pollution, air emissions, wetlands and such, that they certainly are going to have to get through the state.”

Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said the company has had several informational meetings with Morse, but did not speak directly to his concern about federal pre-emption of the state’s authority in siting the project.

“We remain open to working with Senator Morse, as well as other stakeholders in New Hampshire and other areas, consistent with our stated goal to help bring more natural gas capacity to New England to meet the increasing demand seen for the clean fuel by natural gas and electric distribution companies,” wrote Wheatley in an emailed statement.

There are three other proposals for pipeline construction or expansion under consideration in New England — Spectra Energy’s Atlantic Bridge and Access Northeast (in partnership with Eversource), and Portland Natural Gas Transmission System’s Continent to Coast project. Morse said any of those three are preferable to NED in helping the region cope with a natural gas shortage in the coldest days of the year.

“As state agencies with authority over this issue and oversight of relevant state permitting for this project, I ask you to undertake full consideration of these alternatives,” Morse wrote.


dsolomon@unionleader.com - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/Senate-president-expresses-opposition-to-pipeline-project#sthash.ChIOeutE.dpuf
CONCORD — New Hampshire’s leading Republican lawmaker, Senate President Chuck Morse of Salem, is taking a stand against the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline, citing what he called the company’s dismissive approach to New Hampshire’s regulatory authority.

The proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project calls for a new 30-inch transmission pipeline that would carry natural gas from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to New England, with an 80-mile route across Southern New Hampshire.

“Given that there are pipeline projects being proposed in New England that provide similar benefits to New Hampshire with far less impacts, I believe that the NED pipeline, as currently proposed, is not the best project to address our current energy market problems,” he wrote in a recent letter to the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission and the state commissioner of Environmental Services.

The letter is copied to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the NED project manager at Kinder Morgan.

“New Hampshire is currently considering other similar energy projects, and we have seen positive examples of these projects undertaking considerable outreach, project redesign and mitigation efforts,” wrote Morse. “Unfortunately, the NED project has not demonstrated a willingness to work with affected communities, landowners or the state to address issues that have been raised.”

In an interview, Morse said his decision to publicly oppose the NED proposal was prompted by a March 2 article in the Union Leader on Kinder Morgan’s position regarding state authority over the project.

“The siting and approval of interstate high-pressure gas pipelines proposed by private companies is governed by FERC. FERC alone approves the location and construction of interstate pipelines, related facilities and storage fields involving moving natural gas across state boundaries,” wrote Manchester attorney Scott O’Connell on behalf of Kinder Morgan and the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project.

“In the event that any state or municipal law or ordinance conflicts with a FERC requirement, FERC’s requirement will prevail,” according to O’Connell. “We respectfully urge with respect to interstate pipelines that (New Hampshire) participate in the FERC process and avoid incorporating further requirements that are duplicative or, if not, likely pre-empted by federal law.”

That didn’t sit well with Morse, who said, “If the Kinder Morgan attorney is basically saying that we don’t have a say here in New Hampshire on this project, I disagree with that. There are permits on water pollution, air emissions, wetlands and such, that they certainly are going to have to get through the state.”

Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said the company has had several informational meetings with Morse, but did not speak directly to his concern about federal pre-emption of the state’s authority in siting the project.

“We remain open to working with Senator Morse, as well as other stakeholders in New Hampshire and other areas, consistent with our stated goal to help bring more natural gas capacity to New England to meet the increasing demand seen for the clean fuel by natural gas and electric distribution companies,” wrote Wheatley in an emailed statement.

There are three other proposals for pipeline construction or expansion under consideration in New England — Spectra Energy’s Atlantic Bridge and Access Northeast (in partnership with Eversource), and Portland Natural Gas Transmission System’s Continent to Coast project. Morse said any of those three are preferable to NED in helping the region cope with a natural gas shortage in the coldest days of the year.

“As state agencies with authority over this issue and oversight of relevant state permitting for this project, I ask you to undertake full consideration of these alternatives,” Morse wrote.

dsolomon@unionleader.com - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/Senate-president-expresses-opposition-to-pipeline-project#sthash.ChIOeutE.dpuf

Monday, April 4, 2016

IMPORTANT KEENE CITY COUNCIL MEETING

This Thursday night, the Keene City Council will be meeting to hear comments from residents of Keene regarding the proposed NED pipeline and it's request to have all of us EverSource and other energy provider customers foot the bill for it's construction by paying surcharges on our bills whether we like it or not. If they can't afford to build it on their own, why is FERC and other agencies even considering their applications? 
Let your voices be heard, this is beyond being outrageous, it's corporate greed flies in the face of reason. 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Clean Power Plan a smart choice

Despite current Supreme Court developments, many states are moving forward with plans to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan, which has a strong legal and technical foundation, sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Under the plan, states have the flexibility to create customized, cost-effective solutions and invest in clean energy sources, like wind and solar. From Tennessee to Indiana, states across the nation will continue forging ahead toward a cleaner, safer future that will create jobs and cut pollution.
Smart states are betting on the Clean Power Plan, and many utilities are following suit. They are doing so because investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy make smart economic sense.
Right now, New Hampshire has the opportunity to become a clean energy leader and create solutions that benefit our communities and our economy. I urge our state’s leaders to make the right choice by implementing the Clean Power Plan without delay.

Stephanie Scherr
Fitzwilliam

Kinder Morgan halts work on $1B Georgia pipeline project


Hey Concord Are You Listening?

 


Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) says it is halting work on the $1B Palmetto Pipeline in Georgia, citing the state legislature's passage of a one-year moratorium on the use of eminent domain in pipeline construction.

The moratorium was in response to stiff opposition from environmental groups and landowners whose property KMI hoped to build upon using eminent domain laws; it provides time for a study commission of elected officials and industry experts to review the eminent domain issue and make recommendations.

The proposed pipeline would have carried gasoline, diesel and ethanol across 360 miles from South Carolina through Georgia and into Florida.


Start writing those letters to your state legislator and include this clip. Let them know you want them to place a moratorium here as well .. forever. " Live Free or Die" is more than just a motto.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Speakers oppose Kinder Morgan's request to take land for pipeline



By Phil Demers
pdemers@berkshireeagle.com


PITTSFIELD — "No eminent domain for private gain" summed up the message of speakers during a hearing Tuesday concerning the authority sought by Kinder Morgan to take lands along the proposed route of its Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline.
Speakers leveled accusations of "bullying" "harassing" and "trespassing" against Kinder Morgan agents, imploring that the state Department of Public Utilities reject a powerplay petition recently filed by the company. Six DPU representatives ran the hearing and recorded comments.
The energy giant's petition seeks to force affected landowners who have so far shooed off company agents to grant access by taking land for right-of-way survey easements.
"The commonwealth should not be complicit in trampling property owners rights for private profit," said Cheryl Rose of Dalton.
Added her husband, Henry, "I hope you are doing more than politely listening to us today and that when you go back to Boston you will indeed reject this petition."
Thirty-nine Berkshire County properties have been identified by Kinder Morgan along the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline route for compulsory land surveying because owners have refused access. The properties are in Hancock, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Dalton, Hinsdale and Windsor.
Many of these same individuals — the deniers — showed up to speak at Tuesday's hearing, and they were angry.
"I question what they don't understand about the word 'no,'" Elizabeth Tatro, a Lanesborough farmer, said in telling of repeated visits, letters and phone calls from Kinder Morgan agents.
Williams Spaulding, a Hancock farmer, said he filed numerous "no trespass" orders against the company but still had to chase its people off his land.
A Hancock woman speaks at a public hearing Tuesday in front of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) at Berkshire Community College in
A Hancock woman speaks at a public hearing Tuesday in front of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. The woman, whose property is included in Kinder Morgan's proposal, and many other throughout the affected communities speak out in opposition to the petition submitted by Kinder Morgan to the DPU to use eminent domain to grant the company access to private property for surveying their proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline route despite the landowners' wishes. (Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle | photos.berkshireeagle.com)
 
"How can a corporation be allowed to trample the rights of individual landowners, trespass on their property, potentially damage the water supply and then threaten with eminent domain the people who stand up for their right to say, 'no'?" Spaulding said. "This is about corporate greed at its most despicable; it is not about the greater good."
The speakers raised concerns about the potential effects on groundwater quality and the gardens they use to feed their families. Some said they work from home and couldn't abide the noise. Farmers worried about their animals and compensation for lost land.
Others simply professed a desire to keep lands protected by conservation law in protection.
"How can we say, 'Sure, go ahead, we protected this land, but we didn't really mean it'?" Dicken Crane, owner of Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton, said. "We can't say that. We can't possibly allow survey rights on land that we have put in development protection. The landowners [of conservation land] have a responsibility to not grant any access going against that protection."
Elected officials in towns along the route also spoke at the hearing, supporting their residents in blocking Kinder Morgan.
Mary Cherry, vice chairwoman of the Dalton Select Board, read an official statement calling on DPU to "recognize, protect and uphold the private property rights of its citizens as guaranteed by the Massachusetts constitution."
"We, the Select Board of the town of Dalton, stand with our citizens in affirming their rights to decide who shall enter their property and under what conditions," Cherry said.
Windsor Selectman Douglas McNally called for increased investment in clean energy.
"The billions of dollars being invested in this last-century technology should instead be invested in wind, solar and hydro power, rather than spent to create short-term, short-sighted profits for [Kinder Morgan] executives and shareholders at the expense of our environment," McNally said.
Stephen Bushway, a member of the Plainfield Energy Committee, said the company has not demonstrated a need for the gas, and so it would be ridiculous for the state to grant them eminent domain rights.
"Who, besides Kinder Morgan, has been able to make a solid argument for the pipeline?" Bushway said. "Our own Attorney General's Office has concluded there is insufficient need. Kinder Morgan called that study 'seriously flawed.' Ladies and gentlemen, consider the source."
Some public officials possessing degrees in engineering said the design and planning of the pipeline simply didn't hold up well to scrutiny, increasing the chance of failure and ruin.
All of Tuesday's speakers opposed the pipeline proposal.
In its petition to the DPU, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. maintains the surveys are necessary in order to provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with more information about the environmental impact of the project. The commission is not expected to issue a permit decision until November, at the earliest, and the pipeline would not be in service until late 2018.
The company is seeking the order allowing it to enter properties for survey activities within 200 feet on each side of the proposed pipeline route's centerline.
Janet Bradley, another member of the public, brought the room to its feet in applause with her comments.
"I'm not here to beg or reason with you," she said. "I'm here as a demonstration of our resolve. Do you think if this gets approved we're going to crawl back into hour houses and say, 'Oh well, we tried.' Our answer to the [proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline] is no fracking way."
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.