Amherst Town Meeting Passes Resolution Concerning Pipeline


Text of the resolution:

WHEREAS, a proposed high pressure pipeline carrying natural gas obtained through hydraulic fracturing (“fracked gas”), currently called the ‘Northeast Energy Direct’ project, of Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (the “TGP Pipeline”), would run through many communities in western Massachusetts;

WHEREAS, additional plans for other such new or expanded fracked gas pipelines have been proposed for other locations in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, the New England governors previously proposed a utility bill tariff or tax to help pay for new pipeline construction, which would have required ratepayers to invest in more fossil fuel infrastructure, although the prior Massachusetts administration stepped back from that proposal;

WHEREAS, in addition to the inherent risks of high pressure gas pipelines – possible ruptures, fires and explosions, and possible impacts to sensitive areas along the pipeline route – fracked gas may carry additional risks of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) chemicals; recognizing as well the added environmental burdens for communities that are the site of the fracking;

WHEREAS, there is growing concern regarding the impact of methane, the main component of natural gas, on global climate change, from gas leaks at drilling sites and along pipelines, in addition to the impact of the carbon dioxide produced when the gas is burned;

WHEREAS, instead of increasing our dependency on fossil fuels like natural gas, we are better served by embracing and strengthening the Commonwealth’s commitments to combating global climate change through increased energy efficiency and renewable energy; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Amherst has a direct interest in protecting public health, public land and the environment in the Pioneer Valley, the Commonwealth, New England and our shared world;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Amherst through its Representative Town Meeting: 1. Opposes the construction of the proposed TGP Pipeline and any such new or expanded pipelines carrying fracked gas in the Commonwealth; 2. Opposes any tariffs that may be imposed on Massachusetts ratepayers to fund the TGP Pipeline or other such new or expanded fracked gas pipelines; 3. Stands in solidarity with communities opposing the TGP Pipeline and other such pipelines; and 4. Asks that our state and federal representatives and the Governor oppose the TGP Pipeline and any other such new or expanded pipelines carrying fracked gas in the Commonwealth and oppose any tariffs or taxes that may be imposed on ratepayers to fund any of the same; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Town Clerk shall, five days after the dissolution of Town Meeting, forward a copy of this resolution and the vote thereon to Governor Charlie Baker, President of the Senate Stanley Rosenberg, State Representative Ellen Story, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey, Congressman James McGovern, and the chair and commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.