BOSTON -- State Reps. Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenburg, Sheila Harrington, R-Groton, and Stephen DiNatale, D-Fitchburg, plus Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster, and the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a regional forum for impacted communities in Middlesex and Worcester counties to discuss the proposed Northeast gas pipeline expansion project.
A natural-gas company based out of Houston, Kinder Morgan, has proposed building a natural-gas pipeline that would connect to the pre-existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Pennsylvania, run through New York and into Massachusetts in the Berkshires. The pipeline would extend through about 45 Massachusetts municipalities, ending in Dracut.
The public forum will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m., at the Lunenburg High School auditorium in Lunenburg.
The purpose of this regional forum is for state and local officials, residents and business owners to share information and coordinate efforts on the issue. The discussion is open to all members of the public.
Over the last several weeks, many local officials and state officials have been hearing concerns from residents about the possibility of a natural-gas pipeline in their area. To date, Kinder Morgan's director of public affairs has given presentations to a handful of Boards of Selectmen in the region, and plans to begin requesting permission from residents to complete land surveys.
"This is an important regional issue," said Benson. "Information to this point has been limited. All residents and business owners in the area will be impacted one way or another, and I think it is important that both state officials and local officials are briefed on the issue in order to discuss with residents and allow them to make informed decisions."
DiNatale said, "I have many questions and concerns about the pipeline proposal such as acquisition of land and costs. I can only hope that our ratepayers residing in the North Central Region of the state will benefit from this project."
Proponents of the pipeline believe the pipeline is essential to address a shortage of natural gas in New England. Opponents of the pipeline have concerns that the project will bring risks to the environment, fracking, decrease property values, and possibly damage conservation land and wetlands.