New Lebanon, NY board puts off vote opposing gas pipeline


NEW LEBANON, N.Y. -- Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline want their town to go on record against the plan, but they'll have to wait to hear from the company first.

Amid opposition from residents, town Supervisor Michael Benson this week postponed a vote on a non-binding resolution against the proposal by Kinder Morgan, parent company of the Tennessee Gas Co.

The company is proposing a 250-mile pipeline through New York and northern Massachusetts called the Northeastern Expansion Project, which would affect New Lebanon among other cities and towns in New York and Massachusetts.

More than 20 cities and towns in Massachusetts have approved non-binding resolutions opposing the project, and many state and local lawmakers have followed suit, most recently U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

In New Lebanon, the town board had scheduled an initial discussion of the issue at Wednesday's meeting, but many residents said they already have been approached by the company and wanted the board to vote as soon as possible to show their opposition to the project.

"They sent notice asking for permission to survey my property and I refused," resident Bruce Shenker told The Eagle. "All of my neighbors also refused. We haven't heard from [the company] since."

Shenker acts as the town's representative on the Columbia County Environmental Management Council

But Benson prevailed on Wednesday, appealing to residents to first allow a Kinder Morgan representative to come to town and explain the new pipeline initiative.

Roughly 10 miles of the proposed pipeline would run through New Lebanon, and accordingly, Benson believed the town could recruit a company representative to speak about the proposal in town sometime next month.

Meanwhile, Shenker and others aren't going anywhere.

"There's a lot of support [for the resolution] and we're really going to put pressure on the town to do something," Shenker said. "We'll see what happens."

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


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