The Kinder Morgan proposed pipeline through Northern Massachusetts and Groton puts citizens at risk without appropriate compensation, destroys conservation land, damages wildlife habitat, puts wetlands and well water at risk and lowers the value of homes in Groton. There are already enough rights of way and corridors through Massachusetts for roads, railways, power transmission and pipelines. We don't need to create another corridor -- use an existing one!
The Groton Board of Selectman knew about the pipeline project in early February, yet the general public is finding out about it in late May, giving concerned citizens three fewer months to organize and fight back. BOS, you've let us down.
The Natural Gas Act gives pipeline developers eminent-domain rights, trumping local and state laws once the plan is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The public takes all the risk -- financial loss of property value, loss of conservation land, risk of pollution, risk to habitats and risk of damage from an explosion. What's worse, there's a proposal to tax the public to pay for pipeline construction. We're going to pay to get violated! The law isn't protecting us.
The pipeline will affect everyone in Groton. A 50-foot swath of clear-cut land through conservation lands, wildlife habitats and neighborhoods will be a permanent eyesore. Together with the risks we undertake, the value of our property and our quality of life will deteriorate.
As a community, we need to rally around the homeowners and landowners directly affected to prevent our conservation property from destruction. Imagine how you'd feel if the pipeline went through or abutted your property. The offer to property owners doesn't come close to compensating them for the risk imposed on them, the emotional trauma, let alone for the reduced value of their property. Would you buy a property with a 36-inch high-pressure natural-gas pipeline running through it?
Let's stand together and fight for an alternative route for the pipeline. Make using existing corridors the best option for more natural gas in the Northeast. This is the land of Thoreau, who, to paraphrase, said: "if the law is an ass, you have a duty to exercise civil disobedience." Visualize Tiananmen Square and the lone individual standing in front of a tank. Working together, we can fight for a common-sense alternative pipeline route and win.