Letter: Candidates lacked strong early stands on pipelines

Strong early stands on pipelines missing

To the editor:

I was shocked when I went to the WAMC website and listened to the March 2 interview by Jim Levulis, "Another Democrat enters Western Mass. state Senate race." At 1:10, Mr. Levulis stated, "[Andrea] Harrington has said she is undecided on the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline that will run through the region." At 3:05 Mr. Levulis reports, "[Adams Hinds] said the pipeline is a big issue, but did not take a stance for or against it."

When I took out nomination papers (I have not formerly announced), I was interviewed by Mr. Levulis, resulting in the WAMC piece, "More Contenders in Western Mass. Senate Race," which aired March 31, and is also available online for listening. Boy, did they sing a different tune.

All of a sudden, there was a Bernie Sanders progressive in the race. Now both were opposed to the pipeline. I share Sanders' progressive stand against fracked gas, which both pipelines would transport. I was instrumental in leading the charge to ban Styrofoam in Pittsfield. I inspired Brad Verter to lead the fight to ban Styrofoam and single-use plastic bags in Williamstown. Both of my opponents steadfastly deny that I pulled them to the left, but the evidence shows otherwise.

In the April 20 WAMC piece, "Pipeline Becomes an Early Point of Contention in Mass. Senate Race," Hinds says that his failure to initially come out against the pipeline and only doing so after I took out nomination papers "has absolutely no connection to my policy positions." The evidence is quite strong that he reacted to my presence in the race.

Harrington said, "I was opposed to the pipeline as a private citizen living in Richmond where the pipeline was going to be going through, and I'm opposed to the pipeline as a candidate for state Senate." She added, "I've been opposed to the pipeline, always." She makes it sound as if she was never undecided, and this is just not so.

Voters should want someone as state senator who is firmly opposed to both pipelines and will fight with conviction and passion. The pipeline that is the Massachusetts loop of the Connecticut expansion project is still scheduled to go (there are court delays), and something tells me Kinder Morgan's "suspension" may be just a ploy to get more customer commitments.

My opponents were not clearly resolved to oppose the transportation of fracked gas. But even if you are for the pipeline or don't have a strong position, do you really want a candidate who entered the race and did not have a position on one of the most pressing issues of the day?

Rinaldo Del Gallo, Pittsfield


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