Letter: Shift focus from dinosaur fuel to new technologies


To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I appreciate the concern expressed by Michael Filpi in his letter of July 23 representing the interests of Laborers' Local 473 (Mass Building Trades). It is true: killing the Kinder Morgan pipeline project could mean fewer pipefitters' contracts here in Massa chusetts. But the jobs created through investing in a clean energy infrastructure will more than compensate for the loss of work on this one project.

The loss of jobs joining pipes that transport fossil fuels will diminish over time, then disappear altogether. It is an historical, and evolutionary, inevit ability. And there are times when special-interest groups must join with others and set their priorities on the long-term prospects for the com mon wealth's financial stability as a whole, as well as the health and well-being of its citizens. There will always be a need for the building trades; just not for an infrastructure that transports fracked gas to the Massa chusetts coast for export overseas.

Yes, Mr. Filpi, most of it overseas. The spokesperson for Kinder Morgan feigns ignorance when asked who will be on the receiving end of this gas.

Let me ask businesspeople this question: would you purchase a prohibitively expensive commodity without knowing who your customers were going to be? Do you determine the expense side of your business while ignoring altogether your source of revenue?

A recent article in The Eagle also reported on an informational session on the pipeline hosted by the Berkshire Re gional Planning Commis sion (BRPC). On the surface, the advice sounds -- well, sound: Instead of just obstructing the pipeline, plan for it. That idea has always been in the mix. But I respectfully disagree with BRPC Executive Director Nathaniel Karns' opinion that "Saying ‘hell no' to the pipeline would not best serve the communities' concerns."

Well, it best serves the concerns of my community, and the state! And representatives Downing, Pignatelli, Kulik, Carridi and Mark recently issued a joint statement opposing the construction of the pipeline "... for environmental, economic, public safety and public health reasons." They listened to their constituency, and their proclamation goes on to state: "We can and should do better." And we will.

It is important to remember that, ultimately, this is not about opposing a pipeline. It is about acknowledging that clean and renewable technologies now exist to fully provide for our energy needs, create thousands of new jobs in the state, and entirely new industries. And it means an end to the traditional vertical (from-the-top-down) structure of centralized energy ownership and decision making, and the beginning of decentralized and horizontal ownership: literally power to the people. Now that's true energy independence, not just from foreign sources of oil but from domestic companies that despoil our environment for financial gain. That's an idea we can all live with, and that's a worrisome thought for Kinder Morgan and the other industrial dinosaurs.




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