Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. rejects Ashfield ban
ASHFIELD — The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. says the Selectboard has no legal authority to deny the company or its contractors permission to survey town-owned roads as part of the research for a natural gas pipeline proposed to run through western Massachusetts.
The July 30 TGP letter came in response to the Selectboard’s July 14 letter, reporting that the town had voted to oppose the TGP pipeline through Ashfield. At least 200 residents had come out for a special town meeting in June and had overwhelmingly voted to ban the pipeline. The town vote also instructed town officials to oppose it.
The Selectboard letter said: “Consider this letter official notice that we hereby deny permission to TGP and other agents of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. (the parent company) ... to enter any town-owned land to perform surveys, or for any other purpose in the furtherance of a pipeline infrastructure project.”
The letter continues: “If any such activities have begun, you are hereby notified to immediately cease and desist.”
The Selectboard’s letter was also sent to Congressmen Richard Neal, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, and state Rep. Steve Kulik.
In Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s reply, the company’s Right of Way Agent Jim Hartman said that “roads are dedicated for the public use,” and that the information obtained from the surveys would be included in the company’s application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and to other federal and state agencies.
The Selectboard had turned the pipeline company’s letter over to Town Council Donna MacNicol, to see if the town has the legal grounds to keep the company off town roads. According to Selectboard Chairman Thomas Carter, the town doesn’t have the legal grounds to enforce the town meeting-approved resolution.
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