Buckland voters back gas pipeline ban
BUCKLAND — With ample discussion but no debate, special town meeting voters have overwhelmingly approved a ban on “fracked gas” pipelines such as that proposed for Franklin County by Kinder Morgan and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.
The town’s Energy Committee supports the ban and organized the petition drive to get it on the agenda for a special town meeting, which was held Thursday night.
“Even though it may not pass through Buckland, it may pass through our neighbor towns — Ashfield, Shelburne and Conway,” Energy Committee member Pamela Walker said. “I think we should align with other towns and say ‘no.’”
Previously, Shelburne adopted a “community rights resolution” asserting that townspeople have a say in large energy infrastructure systems proposed through its territory, and Ashfield votes on Monday on a pipeline ban and on a similar community rights resolution regarding commercial-scale utility construction for wind turbines, large solar arrays and pipelines.
Buckland Energy Committee member Margaret Olin said the cost of building this pipeline is to be a “socialized cost,” a tariff that will be shared by all utility rate payers in Massachusetts.
Other articles approved
Other town meeting articles were quickly approved: the town agreed to money transfers to cover an additional $60,403 for winter roads expenses; they paid off a $1,313 Highway Department bill for fiscal year 2013 that didn’t reach the town in time for payment before July 2013. They also accepted a money transfer to cover $2,680 to pay for Employee Group Insurance.
Also, voters agreed to fund the town’s Mohawk school assessment, which is $1.9 million. Buckland was the only Mohawk town that voted down the school assessment at annual town meeting. But since the budget was approved by a large enough majority, Buckland has to fund its assessment.