Once again the Greenfield Middle School was filled to capacity with nearly every seat occupied by pipeline opponents, who repeatedly were on their feet waving signs with the names of the 55 towns and cities in Massachusetts that have passed resolutions against the pipeline. Twenty- five elected officials spoke passionately about their opposition to the pipeline.
Many of them called for a restart of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission environmental scoping process based on the fact that Kinder Morgan released their 6500 page, 79 volumee report last Friday, July 24th – giving participants only five days to respond. Another source of frustration was concern about the incomplete nature of this report.
One hundred members of the public signed up to speak. FERC staffers agreed to stay until everyone who wanted to speak had their chance; the hearing lasted until 11:45 PM and about two thirds of those who wanted to speak were able to stay late enough to have their number called.
Comments were thoughtful and heartfelt, and covered a wide range of issues including the devastating environmental impact of the pipeline. People spoke about climate change, wetlands, rivers and farmland. Residents of Northfield highlighted their multiple concerns about the gigantic compressor station proposed for their town, citing its many toxic effects. Kinder Morgan’s attempts to build the pipeline through protected lands and its impact on environmental justice communities were also highlighted. Speakers emphasized the urgency of moving now to renewable energy sources and the many jobs that will result. Residents spoke movingly about their love of our region, and their commitment to preserve our way of life and rich ecosystem for our children and grandchildren.
photo by Rene Theberge