Posted on Behalf of Deb O’Hanlon, Ashby resident, Photos taken by Deborah O’Hanlon
I am a property owner in North Central Massachusetts whose property is currently targeted in a route for a pipeline proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan.
We own 30 acres in Ashby, MA, that abuts Willard Brook Forest. We have preserved this land by not developing it, putting it in Chapter 61 for 10 years, and have done everything we could to keep it pristine and organic land. Having ancestors who broke ground in Ohio in the 1840’s and farmed it until they died; and having grown up on a large farm in upstate New York, I have an appreciation for land and forests. This pipeline will not only affect the pristine and organic nature of the land we own and the region we have come to love, but will also affect our property value. I am a real estate agent, and I know that having a pipeline run through an area will decrease the value of the whole region’s properties. Buyers will be cautious about moving to an area that could have many miles of chemicals used to keep brush cleared, with the potential for gas leaks, sound pollution from the pumping stations, and potential for gas explosions in a forested area. We are heading towards retirement one of these years, and if we lose a considerable amount of value in the land, it will gravely affect us. More so, this is an economically depressed area and no new permanent jobs will be created by this project and certainly our already low property values will only go lower.
If I wasn’t an affected property owner or real estate agent, I would have still gotten involved. I have an engineering background and have been interested to read and know more about the fracking process. This process is creating environmental disaster areas, wasting water, polluting with chemicals, and potentially wrecking important water aquifers. By allowing natural gas pipelines that bring fracked gas to Massachusetts, we’re condoning these disasters by providing the companies with outlets to transport and to sell their gas.
As I drive around my region, I see a lot of solar panels and some wind turbines. I’m proud that my region is taking sustainable energy seriously, and proud that my state has supported incentives for sustainable energy technology. That is our future, not natural gas, which by the way, is not much less polluting than burning oil. I am not against progress. In fact if a solar or wind turbine company wanted to gain easements on my property to build sustainable energy sources, I would allow it. But a natural gas pipeline, blasted and drilled into the ledge landscape and maintained with dangerous chemicals, is totally unacceptable. And I’m joining with others to fight it.
Comment if you too are affected by this pipeline!!!