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Gas Pipeline

Pipeline, resolution to be discussed at Deerfield public meeting

DEERFIELD — Deerfield’s Board of Selectmen will hold a public meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the town offices to discuss the proposed Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline.

At recent selectmen’s meetings, concerned residents have called for a special town meeting to be convened to present a nonbinding resolution opposing the pipeline project for voter approval.

If adopted, the resolution would direct the board to oppose the pipeline, rescind any permission given to Kinder Morgan, Tennessee Gas Co.’s parent company, to survey town property, and send a copy of the resolution to state representatives and the governor’s office.

At a July 30 meeting, Deerfield residents Lisa Turowski and Tom Clark, the owner of Clarkdale Fruit Farms on Upper Road, informed the selectmen that they had collected over 300 signatures on a petition to convene the meeting — well over the 200 signatures required to do so.

“(The resolution) probably won’t hold up in court, but it would make a statement about how people feel about having this pipeline in their town,” Clark said at the time. “When Kinder Morgan files with the FERC, it will be another voice against the pipeline.”

They also presented a map showing the path that the pipeline would take through town, which Clark said includes a large part of his orchards, as well as property owned by other farmers in town.

According to interim Town Administrator Kayce Warren, the town has asked Kinder Morgan to send representatives to Deerfield for a public forum, but the company has said that it would not be able to do so in August due to scheduling conflicts. Instead, the company offered to visit the town in September.

Kinder Morgan has said that it plans to file for approval of the pipeline’s planned route with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in mid-September. Clark said he would like the meeting to take place before that.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Carolyn Shores Ness, the board’s chairwoman, said next week’s public meeting was called in an attempt to address local concerns without having to call a special town meeting, which can cost the town over $1,000.

“We’re going to send the letters to oppose the pipeline anyways,” Ness said. “People can come here and make their concerns known.”

Ness said the town has extended an additional invitation to Kinder Morgan to attend the meeting, noting that it would be in their best interest to do so.

Local governments have no say over the envisioned $3 billion to $4 billion pipeline, and while the state Legislature may have some say over its route, it is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that is the agency that licenses such interstate energy projects.

In addition to Deerfield, the currently proposed 300-mile route for the 30-inch-diameter pipe cuts through Conway, Ashfield, Shelburne, Montague, Erving, Warwick, Orange and Northfield.

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