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Town of Montague needs donations right now for pipeline legal work

The Town of Montague is seeking donations and fundraising  partners to support the Town’s intervention in a case before the Mass. DPU (Dept. of Public Utilities) in which Berkshire Gas seeks approval of a contract to reserve space on the NED pipeline.

Challenging such contracts (also called “precedent agreements”) is crucial to defeating the pipeline—because contracts are ALL that FERC looks at in determining “need” for a pipeline.  FERC spokespeople have always stated this, and (sadly) the FERC commissioners  emphatically re-affirmed that contracts are all they look at to determine “public convenience and necessity” in two major pipeline decisions the FERC Commissioners issued on January 28. (1)

Thus, successfully challenging any contract for capacity on the pipeline will weaken the pipeline’s ability to get FERC approval.

Because the DPU has fast-tracked this case, Montague seeks to raise $25,000 by mid-March, and then additional funds for a possible appeal to the Massachusetts courts.  Every donation will help, from $5 to $10,000.  Of course, if one or more “angels” steps forward to give higher amounts, the campaign will be much faster and easier.  The Town will publicly thank and credit any “angel” individual, organization, or business who wishes to be named. 

Montague was accepted as a full intervenor in the proceeding (DPU docket 15-178), which will evaluate Berkshire’s contract for the NED “supply path” from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to a major gas-distribution hub at Wright, New York.  As a full intervenor, Montague is the ONLY participant representing Berkshire Gas ratepayers in the Pioneer Valley that has the right to hire an expert consultant to examine the confidential data Berkshire is using to justify its contract with NED, and also to investigate Berkshire’s moratorium on new gas service and expansions by existing customers that the Company has imposed throughout the Valley.

This is a unique opportunity.  No other proceeding will allow a confidential evaluation of Berkshire Gas’s contract and the moratorium that has been imposed on Valley communities.  Montague sees itself as representing the interests of all Berkshire ratepayer towns, and all impacted towns.  Town-to-Town grants to support the intervention are also sought, and will be gratefully received.

The Town of Montague has opened a gift fund to receive grants and donations of all types.  We apologize; there is no electronic path to donate yet.  Checks should be made out to Town of Montague, with “pipeline fund” on the memo line.  Mail to:  Town of Montague, One Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376; ATTN: Town Accountant.

Donations should be tax-deductible, though always check with your own tax advisor.  The IRS guidelines for Charitable Contributions state that contributions made to a municipality, state, or Federal government “for a public purpose” are tax-deductible.  The pipeline-intervention gift fund was explicitly opened for a public purpose of the Town.

Anyone who would like more information, or who would like to help as part of a fundraising team for this effort, please contact:  Ariel Elan:  arielpublic@comcast.net   734-545-5569 (no texts, please).

Click here to see press release from Town of Montague

 

(1 ) http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/File_list.asp?document_id=14423084, paragraph 39; and

http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/File_list.asp?document_id=14422989, paragraphs 21-22