Pipeline forum set for Tuesday
A community forum organized by those with questions and concerns about Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s Northeast Expansion Project through Massachusetts is being planned for Tuesday.
The forum will take place in the Greenfield Community College Dining Commons from 6 to 8 p.m.
The program’s first hour will be devoted to the proposal by TGP owner Kinder Morgan for a pipeline that would cross nine Franklin County towns on its route from Wright, N.Y., to Dracut, north of Lowell. It will focus on the proposal’s impact on local resources and property, and on the siting and approval process for the project.
In the second hour, panelists including state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, Conservation Law Foundation Senior Attorney Shanna Cleveland, Bruce Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team, and Mike Jackson of the Montague Reporter will discuss energy policy, including the role of natural gas and renewable sources, as well as safety concerns and how energy policy decisions are made.
Forum organizers, Montague Community Television and WHMP Radio, said they invited state energy officials as well as Kinder Morgan representative, but that those invitations were either declined or not responded to.
“I’d really like to see a diverse group of people attend,” said Cindy Tarail, MCTV outreach coordinator, adding that people she’s heard from so far are mostly those opposed to the pipeline. “I’m doing everything I can to reach out to people who are grappling with this issue, who are undecided or maybe pro-pipeline,” to get their perspectives represented.
Tarail said the idea for the forum grew out of a Kinder Morgan presentation of its proposal to Montague selectmen earlier this year at which many of those in a standing-room-only crowd didn’t have an opportunity to ask questions, and there was no opportunity for presentations by other groups.
When the GCC Dining Commons, with space for up to 300 people, was made available and MCTV began collaborating with WHMP and other community cable stations, “we realized there are plenty of people all over the valley who are interested, and we could make this available to everybody,” Tarail said.
The forum is free and open to the public, and time will be available for audience members to have an opportunity to speak.
Co-produced by Greenfield Community Television and Easthampton Community Access Television, the forum will be broadcast live on the radio station and the community cable stations in Montague, Greenfield, Athol-Orange, Bernardston Northfield, Shelburne Falls, Amherst, Easthampton and Northampton.