SANDISFIELD -- A group of local residents plans an informational meeting to explain their opposition to a Tennessee Gas. Co. project that would add nearly four miles of a new, high-pressure natural gas pipeline on an existing route.

The half-hour meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sandisfield Firehouse 2 on Route 57. At 7, representatives of Kinder Morgan, the parent company of Tennessee Gas, will present their own informational session, which will include time for questions from residents.

The opponents include longtime residents, newcomers and second-home owners, according to Roberta Myers, a member of a new grassroots group, S.T.O.P. (Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline). Additional information about their position on the project, which would be added to an existing pipeline that enters Berkshire County in Richmond, is available on the group's website, sandisfieldtaxpayers.org.

Tennessee Gas is planning the extension as part of its $77 million Connecticut Expansion Project, a separate proposal from its 250-mile potential pipeline from upstate New York through parts of Richmond, Lenox, Washington, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru and Windsor, eventually terminating at Dracut in northeastern Massachusetts.

The 36-inch diameter high-pressure pipe would loop out of an existing gas line through Sandisfield and reconnect with it after 3.8 miles.


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The Connecticut Expansion Project, which also includes other loop segments totaling nine miles in Albany County, N.Y, Hamden County, Mass., and Hartford County, Conn., requires approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Company officials say it could go into service on Nov. 1, 2016.

The Sandisfield citizens group also has prepared a non-binding resolution to be presented for a vote at the annual town meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in the Old Town Hall on Silverbrook Road.

The route of the new pipeline would cross conservation property at Spectacle Pond Farm, the opponents have stated. In an e-mail to The Eagle, Myers asserted that some opposition-group signs installed with permission of property owners have been stolen.

The existing pipeline was constructed in 1952 and in 1981. According to S.T.O.P., the pipeline ruptured during the 1981 phase of construction, causing an evacuation of many residents in Sandisfield and Otis.

Opponents have asserted that the proposed pipeline expansion is "unfair, unsafe, unsightly and environmentally destructive, in many places doubling the 75-foot scar across our environment and most importantly, not needed."

To contact Clarence Fanto:

cfanto@yahoo.com

or (413) 637-2551.

On Twitter: @BE_cfanto