The Groton Conservation Trust has formally come out against the proposed route of a 36-inch natural gas pipeline between upstate New York and Dracut, Massachusetts that would cross some of the Trust’s property as it goes through Groton. The Northeast Energy Direct project would also cross land owned by the Conservation Commission, a relatively unused part of the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School campus grounds, and private property in addition to the Trust’s.
Addressed to Maeve Vallely Bartlett, the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the letter is copied to a full page of other elected and appointed officials from the local level to Washington and spanning a range from the Groton Board of Selectmen to Senators Markey and Warren.
Signed by GCT President Daniel Wolfe and trustees David Black, Edward McNierney, and Robert Pine, the letter states:
We are writing to express deep concerns about significant environmental impacts that will occur if construction of the currently-proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline route through north-central Massachusetts is approved.
The current route crosses large segments of the Squannassit and Petapawag Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, two of the largest state-designated ACECs, as well as BioMap Core Habitat and Supporting Natural Landscape which contain a high density of state-listed rare species.
The Groton Conservation Trust joins a wide range of Massachusetts environmental groups and towns opposing either the entire pipeline project or its proposed route.
The Trust’s letter is likely to be discussed at the Groton Board of Selectmen Monday June 16 meeting, which is already dedicating the lion’s share of its agenda to the pipeline. Beginning at 6 p.m. in the Groton Regional Middle School Performing Arts Center, the board has a number of agenda items, including “Approve Proposed Charge of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Working Group Committee” and at 7 p.m., will segue into its second open information session on the pipeline. Panelists include Dennis Eckloff, of Groton; Kevin Kelly, Manager of the Groton Electric Light Department; Jim O’Reilly, a Groton resident and Director of Public Policy for Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships; a yet-to-be-named speaker from the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), which supplies much of Groton’s electricity; and a presentation by Peter Jeffrey, of Groton, of the “Stop The Pipeline Coordinating Committee.”