Northfield, Paicos perturbed at pipeline proponents’ procrastination
NORTHFIELD — The town is losing its patience with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. after numerous attempts to schedule a community forum with the company have gone unanswered.
“I’ve made three calls to Kinder Morgan’s community outreach person, and not a single one has been returned,” said interim Town Administrator Kevin Paicos. “I left him a terse message today, in hopes that it would elicit a callback.”
Kinder Morgan, the parent company of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., previously reached out to the town and offered to give a presentation and answer questions at a community forum. That’s the last Northfield’s heard on the subject from the company that plans to run a 30-inch diameter natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Dracut, crossing nine Franklin County towns on its way.
Two weeks ago, the Selectboard picked a date of Aug. 5 to hold the forum at Pioneer Valley Regional School, to accommodate a large crowd. If the town doesn’t hear back from the forum by next week, Chairman John “Jack” Spanbauer suggested the meeting be pushed back to Aug. 16.
“If we don’t hear from them by then, we’ll have to go on without them,” said Selectboard member Jed Proujansky.
Paicos said he will continue to call Kinder Morgan’s community outreach contact. If he doesn’t receive a response, he said he will cold-call everyone he can reach at Kinder Morgan until he gets an answer or a call back from the community outreach department.
The pipeline would cut through the southeast end of town on its way from Erving to Warwick.
Gulf Road resident Bill Kilpatrick asked the board whether they’ve heard concerns from people on that end of town. Spanbauer responded that several residents have reached out to the board to share such concerns.
Kilpatrick is frustrated with Kinder Morgan’s lack of response to Northfield.
“The fact that they haven’t returned any messages shows that they don’t give a flying fig about us,” he said after Tuesday’s meeting.
Pipeline representatives have spoken at several forums in the area, but have also postponed, canceled and failed to attend others.
The company declined the invitation to a June forum at Greenfield Community College. State legislators as well as representatives from conservation groups, environmental lawyers and the regional energy regulating group ISO New England were in attendance, and the discussion went on without the project’s proponents.
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