DALTON -- Kinder Mor gan company representatives will present company arguments in favor of a pipeline expansion in town and across the state and parts of New York at Nessacus Regional Middle School on Tuesday.

Town officials intend to put together a panel of local people to argue the other side of the contentious issue at the meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m.

"The plan is to have two [viewpoints presented]," Select Board Chairwoman Mary Cherry said at a meeting this week.

Town Manager Kenneth Walto said the prospect remains a work in progress.

So far, Walto has asked individuals who served on a panel representing the opposition at a similar meeting in Richmond if they would do the same for Dalton but has yet to receive a response.

He also contacted the Conservation Law Found ation and is in dialogue with the nonprofit about the prospect of speaking in the town. CLF recently argued against the pipeline in a segment on National Public Radio, Walto said.

"I was impressed with their presentation because they had taken the time to really study the issue and presented some valid arguments for perhaps opposing the pipeline," Walto said.

Because the nonprofit will be participating in a Berk shire Regional Planning Commission forum on the same topic Thursday.

"At this point I'm not sure that we're going to have an opposing view there," Walto said.

The prospect sat fine with Selectman John F.


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Boyle, who referred to several weeks ago when town residents flooded several meetings with an outpouring of sentiment against the proposal.

"Haven't they had their day in the sun?" Boyle said in calling for a chance for Kinder Morgan to present their position "uninhibited."

Kinder Morgan, parent company of Tennessee Gas, is expected to file a preliminary application with federal regulators in several weeks for the new 250-mile pipeline. It would begin in Wright, N.Y., west of Schen ectady, enter the Berkshires in Richmond and follow a proposed route through eight Berkshire communities, ending in Dracut, north of Lowell.

Company estimates place the cost of the pipeline at $4 billion, plus another $2 billion for a route supplying the fracked natural gas from the Marcellus shale area in southwestern New York and nearby Appalachian Moun tain regions. Opponents say the public will bear the cost of construction through surcharges attached to electric bills.

If the project wins formal approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Com mission (FERC) in 2016, the pipeline could go into service by spring of 2018, according to company officials.

The efforts of opponents in the town have resulted in a non binding resolution against the pipeline passed by residents at a special town meeting and the rescission by the Select Board of an earlier extended invitation to the company to perform survey work in town associated with the pipeline.

To reach Phil Demers:
pdemers@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD