Bolton Local Opposes Pipeline

(August 28, 2014) Bolton Local joins with the Stop the Pipeline/Bolton Group in opposing the expansion of the existing Tennessee Gas pipeline by Kinder Morgan. We oppose the disruption of some of the most pristine rural farm and conservation land in Massachusetts for the installation of a pipeline for which the need is questionable and the ultimate use uncertain, and which poses dangers in the communities through which it is proposed to run. The pipeline may cost taxpayers money, in tariffs that could be passed on to Massachusetts consumers, and in property taxes that affected homeowners must continue to pay, despite the ruination of their property by the pipeline.

Kinder Morgan alleges that the economy will benefit from the project: that jobs will be created and that it will be paying taxes in the communities through which the pipeline will run. However, any jobs that might be created will be temporary, ending when the project is complete. Meanwhile, agricultural businesses across the state may actually lose money because of the pipeline, such as Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, whose owner has said that he stands to lose 600 trees if the pipeline intrudes on his property as planned. As for property taxes in affected communities, Kinder Morgan would be obligated to only pay property taxes on a diminishing scale, eventually paying nothing.

The list of issues surrounding the pipeline is long and complex. Among the questions and concerns are:

  • Residents would like to understand how the need for the pipeline was justified in the first place.

  • The gas traveling through the proposed pipeline will not benefit Bolton residents, and there is a strong likelihood that a large percentage of it will actually end up in the overseas market.

  • Consumer energy conservation and fixing the leaks along the existing pipeline would help obviate the need for expansion.

  • The gas to be transported along the pipeline is derived from fracking, a process that involves using millions of gallons of water—along with “fracking fluid” comprising a combination of up to 600 different chemicals—to force deposits of gas out of underground rock formations. The resulting gas is believed to be more volatile, making the risk of explosions from leaks of greater concern.

  • Fracking releases a significant amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in all stages of the process, gases believed to play a major role in climate change. Although no fracking will take place in Massachusetts, installation of the pipeline would enable and encourage increased fracking at its source.

Finally, thinking specifically about Bolton, we believe that expansion of the pipeline through Bolton conservation land, scenic residential properties, and some of the most picturesque farmland in the state would make Bolton a less desirable place to live, and would be nothing short of a tragedy for our town.