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Gas Pipeline

Conway pipes up about gas pipeline

Third town in county to pass opposing resolution

CONWAY — The town became the third community in Franklin County to ask its selectmen to oppose the proposed gas pipeline that would cut through town.

At Monday’s annual town meeting, the majority of voters supported the resolution submitted by citizen petition.

Kinder Morgan, the parent corporation of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., has proposed a 179-mile natural gas pipeline that would pass through nine Franklin County towns on its way from Wright, N.Y., to Dracut, north of Lowell.

Throughout Franklin County, townspeople have drafted letters of opposition and resolutions for town meeting to consider. Townspeople in Deerfield and Shelburne have already overwhelmingly supported resolutions opposing the project.

The pipeline would go through the Deerfield River, the South River State Forest, the Conway Sportsman’s Club land and on to Ashfield, Conway residents said.

To resounding applause, Pixie Holbrook said she doesn’t want her grandchildren to “wonder why their grandparents and parents let this awful thing happen.”

While some residents hesitated, wanting more information before voting, the majority of voters felt ready to take a stand against the project.

Residents questioned the impact on property values the pipeline would have.

In several other places where pipelines are located, Diane Poland said, she found property rates reduced by 5 to 30 percent.

She also pointed out that many banks do not provide mortgages to people whose properties are crossed by pipelines.

“They have specific regulations. They haven’t gone after that many people because it hasn’t really come up before,” Poland said. “It will threaten your mortgage. This is a very practical concern.”

One of the persuasive factors was Kinder Morgan’s reputation as a big corporate business.

“One of the reasons to vote against this is I wouldn’t trust Kinder Morgan,” said Peter Jeswald. “I wouldn’t trust these folks for anything. These corporations trudge on public land. I can’t see how this benefits the town in any way. The downside of this seems tremendous.”

Roy Cohen, a Finance Committee member, couldn’t believe people still want to trust these “Wall Street corporations.”

“They see landowners as easy pickings,” Cohen said. “I say this — if the technology is so great, let them run the pipeline up the Mass. Pike and Interstate-91 in existing public right of ways. There would be lots of eyes on them to make it very safe, much more than if they were running it through our backyards.”

Malcolm Corse was less confident in the power of resolutions.

“It’s a moot issue. It’ll still go through. The energy department will approve it and give them eminent domain,” Corse said.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268 on Twitter follow @RecorderKatMcK

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