WARWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a story we’ve been following on 22News: the expansion of a natural gas pipeline in Franklin County. 22News found out about one rural town’s concerns after being contacted by a pipeline company.
Warwick received news of the pipeline expansion in early February. The planning board and conservation committee met to discuss the project Thursday.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company is a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Company. The natural gas provider is looking to improve its system. The Northeast expansion project would upgrade existing pipes and construct new ones in parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
Much of that pipeline would run through Franklin County and a few towns have already been contacted by Kinder Morgan to survey land. And now the town of Warwick is being included, but not everyone is on board.
Alan Berman is a member of the Warwick conservation committee. He told 22News one of the concerns is the impact pipeline construction could have on the environment and protecting the geography of the area. “In this town we have 3 areas of where there are protected species. We have numerous wetlands that the pipeline route is expected to go across.”
Another concern is a lack of knowledge about the project. Kinder Morgan sent a map of the proposed pipeline route to Warwick. But the map only shows the general route, it doesn’t give specific locations.
And that has some residents concerned about who has a voice in the pipeline decision. Fernando Gonzales just moved to Franklin County for the rural lifestyle. But he told 22News, he’s afraid residents have no say in the pipeline proposal. “If the proposing company is the only one whose had a public voice, I would hope our public leadership and the community would also have a say before the decisions are made.”
If the project is approved, construction would begin in spring 2017 in hopes of being completed by the winter 2018.
Warwick will hold another town meeting on April 10th with hopes of a Kinder Morgan representative being present.