The latest news:
• March 8th Cummington presentation has been moved
The informational Presentation by BEAT's Bruce Winn has been moved to the Cummington Community House, 33 Main St. It's still 1-3 pm with extensive discussion time expected afterward. Handicap parking available at the Community House, extra parking available across the street at the Village Church and down the street at Berkshire Trail Elementary School.
• Non-Binding Resolution for the Town of Cummington has been drafted and is collecting signatures to be voted on at Town Meeting in May. Contact us to find out where the petition copy is if you're a registered Cummington voter who would like to sign.
• Lenox Green-Rainbow Party has drafted a similar Non-Binding Resolution for the Town of Lenox. If you've a registered Lenox voter, contact Scott to find out where you can sign the petition to find out where you can sign to get it on the Lenox Town Meeting warrant.
• Concerned Ashburnham residents meet with conservation commission.
• The Berkshire Eagle's Jim Therrien covers environmental and citizen's groups concerns.
We're an all-volunteer, wedged-into-our-schdules citizens' organization. We'd love to have volunteers help out with various tasks and definitely regular updates from around the state. Although we started in Cummington, this site is for everyone in the potential path of this pipeline, so send us your news and offer to help us keep everyone informed.
Since our mailing list has doubled since our first newsletter, we're repeating it below.
Take Action Now!
Now is the critical time to act!
The TGP Northeast Expansion pipeline project is still in the planning stages. The company is actively approaching landowners and, where they need to, towns to gain access to properties for surveying. They're also currently accepting bids to shore up customers (mostly electric utilities) and distributors at the Dracut end station. Once they complete plans and file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), stopping them won't be impossible, but much, much harder. We need to act in numbers now to show that there is solid opposition all along the proposed pipeline route.
If you are a landowner or town selectboard and are approached by the gas company representatives for permission to survey, SAY NO! If they've already come and you've said yes, YOU CAN RESCIND PERMISSION. Use this letter on our website to fill in and send to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to officially deny them permission to access your property. Make sure to share this information with your neighbors if you're near the pipeline route or have been approached.
— Deny access to survey.
• Contact Massachusetts State Officials, your State Reps and the Governor, as well as your Congressional Representatives and voice your opposition. Let them know there is resistance and there will be political ramifications if they allow this to happen against the wishes of their constituents.
— Speak Up Now!
• Write and pass your own local non-binding resolution taking a stand against this proposed project. Federal agencies like FERC may be able to override them, but having them in place lets them know for sure that it's against the will of the people. With enough in place, it becomes politically damaging to our legislators to allow this to happen and builds a case against federal permitting. See the resolution for the Town of Cummington to be voted on at Town Meeting in May.
• Spread the Word -
— Talk to your friends and neighbors, talk to your town government, planning and environmental commissions about the hazards not only of the pipeline itself, but of continuing to increase fossil fuel use when we should be moving full steam ahead on energy efficiency both for consumers and utility companies and on clean energy alternatives.
— Organize in your town! Hold a meeting in your town to discuss your concerns and questions and bring them to town and state officials as a group. Legislation may be stacked in the gas industry's favor, but we have strength in numbers when we get together
— Need to brainstorm? Organize a Letter Writing Party to help get your thoughts and words organized together.
— Write Letters to the Editor to your local paper about the project to help your community become more aware!
• Get Behind the Alternatives - Particularly energy efficiency. This pipeline is being proposed to fill a perceived shortage in natural gas. Shortages occur only occasionally in extremely cold weather, and has only impacted natural gas electricity generation plants. They've had to switch to more expensive sources of gas to keep generating at full capacity when cold snaps forced consumers to use more to keep their homes warm.
New studies have shown the entire country's gas industry to be extremely leaky, not only adding to perceived shortages like this, but needlessly adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Gas companies like to point out that natural gas is lower in carbon emissions than oil and coal. What they don't point out is that natural gas lost in processing and transmission is much higher in methane emissions - a greenhouse gas over 20 times more powerful than carbon.
— Our Senator Markey currently has introduced bills in Congress to make the gas industry clean up its act, S.1767 and S.1768 . SEE HIS REPORT on the state of our nation's gas infrastructure and why efficiency on all levels so critical. Please contact Congress in support of these bills. It's likely to stem the shortfalls we experience from time to time, and may make expansion of gas pipelines redundant and not cost-effective.
— The Massachusetts State House of Representatives has just unanimously passed similar legislation for the state (H.3873 - Read the bill here). Please contact your State Senators and urge them to pass it as well!
Still want more info?
Community Organizing Meeting
— ClimateActionNow of Western Mass is hosting an event to get information out about this issue and organize community action.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Co-op Power, 15A West St. (Rt. 5-10)
West Hatfield, MA
TGP Pipeline Presentation / Discussion
— Presentation on the pipeline project, with Bruce Winn of BEAT, including: fracking and it’s dangers, the proposed pipeline route, the nature of the pipeline and its contents, environmental and health issues, economic and regulatory issues, and what can we do to stop this.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 • 1-3PM
Cummington Community House
33 Main St., Cummington, MA
— Find out more details of why the TGP-NE pipeline project is the wrong move for Massachusetts on our Fracked Gas Facts page, and share the information with family and friends.
— Want to know more than you've found on the site? Organize a fact-finding group to see what else you can find out about the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. & Kinder Morgan's plans, any environmentally sensitive areas that may be in jeopardy along the route, what environmental protections or local by-laws might already be in place in your area ... the list is endless, and share your findings widely (including with us!)
Visit the website. We've been working very hard along with Jane and Bruce Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and others to learn as much as possible about the proposed pipeline and what can be done to stop it! The website is full of useful information and is always being updated.
We'll be sending out news updates as things progress and calls to action when we see that mass action needs to take place. If you got this email from a friend, sign up here to receive updates directly by email.
Feel free to share this widely with neighbors and friends and family across the state.