Debate in Conway over pipeline proposals

CONWAY, Mass. (WWLP) – It was a night of debate in Conway during a Kinder Morgan presentation, as the company hoped to convince residents of the need for a natural gas pipeline.

Safety topped the concerns among Conway residents Thursday night, as they met with Kinder Morgan, the company proposing to build a natural gas pipeline through their town. One resident recalls the gas explosion in Springfield in 2012.

“The line that exploded in Springfield is merely a distribution line. We are now talking about a transmission pipeline in Conway. So the danger of an explosion is far more dramatic.”

According to the ToxTown website, exposure to extremely high levels of natural gas can affect your health and in some cases, cause death. However, Kinder Morgan worked to convince residents Thursday night the chances of a gas leak are extremely slim.

“Take a look at the system we currently have in Massachusetts,” said Allen Fore, the Vice President of Kinder Morgan’s Public Affairs Department. “We’ve operated a system here for 60 years, 600 miles of pipeline safely.”

Residents aren’t just concerned about safety, they wonder how the pipeline could affect the farming industry and the environment.

“They have asked the federal regulatory commission to allow them to jump over the environmental impact statement. To do that demonstrates to us a disingenuous kind of behavior,” said Jim Cutler, of the Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network.

Kinder Morgan said the natural gas for the pipeline would be fractured Shale. Studies have shown fracking can release toxins, although the company says it’s safely regulated by both the state and federal governments.

The energyfromshale website says there can also be benefits to fracking, such as making it possible to produce oil and natural gas in places where conventional technologies are ineffective.

During Thursday’s meeting, Kinder Morgan also argued the proposed pipeline would create more jobs, something many local laborers look forward to.

“Kinder Morgan has signed an agreement with the labors union saying that if this pipeline goes through, they’re going to use local laborers to construct the pipeline,” said Tom Andrews, a labor union representative.

Kinder Morgan estimates the pipeline would create some 3,000 jobs across the region. Click Here to read the entire Kinder Morgan proposed pipeline plan.

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