Longmeadow residents unhappy with Eversource pipeline project draw attention to environmental gatherings – Low Calorie Diets Tips

The more Bryant Miller learned about a proposed Eversource pipeline project to be built in his neighborhood, the less he liked it. In November, he joined an advocacy group that has been fighting the project for years, and is now drawing attention to upcoming meetings the company has with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office next week.

“We don’t want that in our neighborhood. This shouldn’t be in anyone’s neighborhood, especially after what happened with Merrimack Valley,” Miller said, referring to a series of gas explosions that started in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover — which involved an 18-year-old boy from Lawrence killed and injured 22 people and damaged several homes in 2018.

Miller’s group, the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group, along with other activist organizations such as the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, has campaigned for several years against the construction of a pipeline that would run through residential areas of Longmeadow, parts of downtown Springfield and through Forest Park. Most recently, on May 31, 35 anti-pipeline protesters protested in front of Springfield City Hall, speaking out against fossil fuel dependency and the damage to property of people living near the project.

Priscilla Ress, spokeswoman for Eversource in western Massachusetts, said the project is needed as a backup to existing pipeline infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable power is delivered to over 58,000 natural gas customers in the region.

“We have a single pipeline that’s over 70 years old and not getting any younger, and that’s what supplies the gas to tens of thousands of customers, and as a priority the company has proposed laying a secondary pipeline,” Ress said. “It’s a backup; it is a second source; it is redundancy. It is for the safety and reliable delivery of gas.”

Michele Marantz, head of the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group, said she had been protesting the pipeline for four years. She is concerned about how local residents will be affected by the pipeline and its construction. She said at least three families will be directly affected where their backyards border industrial fences and the processing plant.

“People dealing with all the toxic pollution from Route 91 traffic 24/7 in the various industries in Longmeadow. They’re going to get a double whammy with this pipeline that Eversource is proposing,” Marantz said, referring to the potential pollution she thinks could come from the project.

Marantz is also concerned about the devaluation of local residents’ houses.

“We’re not talking about people whose homes are on miles of lots who don’t want to be bothered. We’re talking about people who own modest homes,” Marantz said. “I suspect that the majority of people invest a large part of their capital in their home. As such, alongside the health and safety concerns, we have always addressed the depreciation of property for these individuals. It’s not fair to them.”

Ress, who said the new pipeline would not support additional expansion by Eversource’s customers, said her company tried to be transparent about the process.

“During this project, we are committed to close communication with our neighbors in the local community and stakeholders at all levels to listen to their feedback – with an ongoing focus on ensuring a safe and reliable service for our customers,” said resource

upcoming meetings

Two meetings are scheduled for Tuesday 21 June to discuss the proposed construction. The first meeting will be a personal on-site visit at 11:00 am at the proposed measurement station facility – the Longmeadow Country Club maintenance facility at 14 Hazardville Rd.

The Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act Office (MEPA) – which will determine the potential environmental impact of the construction project – said the purpose of the site visit is “to see existing site conditions and the location of proposed structures.”

Miller said he invited representatives from the offices of Sen. Eric Lesser and Rep. Brian Ashe and that the Longmeadow Special Committee chair intends to attend the meeting.

The second meeting will be held virtually at 7:00 p.m. on the same day to discuss the project, give the public an opportunity to ask questions and give MEPA an opportunity to hear any concerns about the environmental issues or impacts that the construction may or may not entail.

Individuals wishing to attend the virtual meeting must email alexander.strysky@mass.gov or call 857.408.6957 at least one hour prior to the meeting to receive a meeting link or dial-in number.

These meetings are under the jurisdiction of MEPA, who were involved after Eversource submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Sitting Board – which requires a two-year regulatory process – and submitted an environmental reporting form to MEPA.

According to Miller, his neighbors did not know about these meetings.

“If we didn’t have this organization [the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group], nobody would know about this meeting…. They don’t contact the people who are affected,” he said.

Tori Kim, the director of MEPA, said that the MEPA office usually posts announcements of meetings on the environmental monitor’s website and also notifies some environmental justice organizations.

“The MEPA office does not have separate communications for residents,” Kim said.

Miller said there’s more his neighbors may not know — including several buildings are being built near the pipeline.

Ress said five buildings on the Longmeadow Country Club site would be modeled after existing buildings there.

But Marantz said that wasn’t very reassuring for its members.

“They want to reassure us that the buildings will look good, even if they’re not the buildings we’re worried about. It’s what’s in the buildings,” Marantz said.

Citing blueprints associated with the project, Miller and Marantz expressed concern about how close the pipeline project could be to residences and Longmeadows Wolf Swamp Elementary School on Wolf Swamp Road.

They were also concerned about the risk of explosions like what happened in the Merrimack Valley in September 2018.

At the time of the blasts, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts agreed to a plea deal under which they were ordered to pay $53 million.

Eversource was tasked with restoring and implementing safety controls on the Columbia Gas pipelines, according to Ress, and later purchased Columbia Gas.

“We didn’t own the system back then. Gov. Baker and the heads of state had asked that we help with the salvage and also because we have an excellent safety record,” Ress said. “We also looked at the projects and they looked at them in terms of safety and this single source pipeline rated that have left and served tens of thousands of customers in Springfield. That was a national priority that needed to be addressed. That and gives us a second source of energy. And that is what this pipeline proposal is all about.”

“If Eversource really mattered”

Activists are also frustrated by the pipeline’s potential construction because they want Massachusetts to move away from fossil fuels.

“If Eversource really cared about the community, they would invest in green renewable energy. Instead, Eversource is proposing a dangerous, costly, and unnecessary project,” Springfield City Councilwoman Zaida Govan said at the May 31 demonstration.

Miller agrees, “Massachusetts has one of the strictest green energy laws—they want to be absolutely green. So why are we expanding our fossil fuel infrastructure?”

He’s also concerned that the state — including MEPA — will enforce the pipeline project given rising gas and energy prices, Miller said.

“You’re not going to discriminate against him as much as you would in normal times,” Miller said. “I have nothing against securing [the existing pipeline] but I don’t think that’s the way they should do it – run it through a residential area.”

Ress said the pipeline needs to be created in order to have reliable power for its customers. She added that Eversource is committed to supporting Massachusetts in its decarbonization goals.

“From energy efficiency, electric vehicles and battery storage to offshore wind energy, the future of gas process and innovative projects like our Framingham geothermal pilot, we are all committed to helping the Commonwealth achieve its net-zero goals in the most efficient way and most cost-effective way to achieve. effectively possible,” said Ress.

Marantz said that Eversource will continue with an old plan as new ways of supplying energy are improved and new environmental regulations are passed. She believes the plan violates state law.

“We passed a new climate law last year that says we must reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030,” Marantz said. “And you can’t expose environmental justice communities to additional pollution or environmental degradation. This project will violate both of those mandates.”

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