Statement regarding proposed Tennessee Gas Northeast Expansion project natural gas pipeline —
Nashoba Conservation Trust (NCT) was approached by representatives of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to survey our Keyes Farm property as part of a proposed gas pipeline project known as the Northeast Expansion project. Keyes Farm is a beautiful tract of wetlands, forest and farmland enjoyed by day hikers, dog walkers, horseback riders and mountain bikers. Gardner Farm manages the agricultural land, growing feed corn for its milking business. Keyes Farm is also a watershed to the Nashua River and home to a variety of riparian wildlife, as well as fox, turkeys and deer.
As outlined to NCT by Tennessee Gas, the initial construction would clear a swath 100 feet in width from its entry point on Elm Street to its egress on Canal Street. Once installed, the in-ground high pressure transmission pipeline would require a service set back of at least fifty feet, maintained in part by the use of herbicides and pesticides.
The impacts and consequences of this proposed project on Keyes Farm are disturbing: it would leave a permanent, chemically maintained scar through one of Pepperell’s most picturesque open spaces, significantly diminishing its aesthetic quality, disturbing wildlife habitat, polluting the Nashua River and potentially affecting the business of one of Pepperell’s last operating farms.
NCT believes the effort to meet Massachusetts’ ongoing energy needs should not come at the expense of assets benefitting the public good, especially when less invasive, less hazardous, more sustainable and potentially less costly solutions are already in place or can be developed. As noted in the 2009 Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation, signed by the six New England Governors, conservation lands “…may well be viewed as the green infrastructure that future generations of our citizens will require for their health, well-being, and prosperity.” NCT enthusiastically supports this position and adamantly opposes the compromise of and use of public and private conservation land for anything other than its intended purpose.
NCT urges Governor Patrick, his respective agencies, as well as the New England States Committee on Energy (NESCOE) and ISO-New England to avoid at all costs the use of public and private conservation lands to fulfill the Commonwealth’s energy goals. NCT further encourages an open and inclusive evaluation of all energy sourcing options that fully accounts for the proposed pipeline’s adverse impact on quality of life, prioritizes the improvement of current energy market operations and infrastructure, starting with the repair of existing pipelines, and accelerates the deployment of energy efficiency programs and sustainable energy solutions.
Ken Hartlage, President