Residents voice concerns over potential pipeline

More than 1,600 landowners in MA would be directly affected

DEERFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A natural gas pipeline could run the length of Massachusetts, running right through western Massachusetts, including Deerfield. Residents said they fear for their safety.

According to Carolyn Shores Ness of the Deerfield Board of Health, “It was confirmed that they were going to use the thinner walled pipe that was cost driven. It was 30-40% cheaper to use this less safe pipe.”

After a natural gas line explosion in Springfield in 2012, Deerfield residents fear something similar in their town. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has proposed building a new high pressure gas pipeline.

One of the biggest concerns for residents in Deerfield is how the pipeline would affect their farming industry, and what equipment they would no longer be able to use. One land-owner was told he wouldn’t be able to run certain farm machinery over the pipeline.

“If you can’t drive equipment over the pipeline, that’s going to leave you with two different areas to work in. Then obviously there’s a problem,” said Joseph Haynes Sr. of Deerfield.

Tom Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farm told 22News, “You can not plant fruit trees over the pipeline. Where ever the pipe would run through, our orchard we would lose production forever in that 75 feet.”

Despite some opposition to the pipeline, Governor Deval Patrick signed an agreement supporting it last year, calling it a way to ensure reliable, low-cost energy and continued economic growth.

The Deerfield Seklect-Board Chair said the company would be reimbursed by Massachusetts rate payers. 22News has placed a call with Kinder and Morgan. Click Here to read the entire Kinder-Morgan proposed pipeline plan.

Now, New England relied on natural gas to generate 52% of our electricity last year, more than any other source. However, a new report from the State House says the cost of natural gas will be higher this year.

State Energy officials said the frigid winter we had used a lot of our natural gas supply. It’s one reason why there’s support for the proposed pipeline.

The state will have a more precise idea of where natural gas prices are heading in November.

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