Posted on behalf of Ben Linthicum, team leader for the Western MA team
Standing on her back deck, Arti Kelso, a resident of Richmond MA, showed us the three pipelines that cut through her property. Like Polly Ryan in Plainfield who had shown us where the proposed Kinder Morgan Tennessee gas pipeline (TGP) would go through her property, Arti was showing us where three pipelines were already going through her’s. She told me that she and her husband Mark bought this piece of rural wooded land in 2004. When they purchased the land, they were told there were three natural gas pipelines running through the property. They never imagined some massive pipeline company from Texas would come tearing through her backyard to install another fracked gas pipeline.
Which can raise the question, if there is already 3 pipelines running through their property, how much harm could one more pipeline do? A heck of a lot. Putting in another pipeline would require widening the existing tree-less swath of land that bisects her property, cutting down more of the quiet woodland that once embraced her home those may years before.
As Polly had said weeks before as she showed us where the proposed TGP would go through her property, “This is bigger than my backyard.” Bingo. The proposed pipeline would have effects reaching farther than anyone’s backyard. Taking a stand against the TGP here in Massachusetts, helps support opposition to fracking hundreds of miles away.
If Kinder Morgan is unable to build this pipeline, it would have limited capacity to transport the natural gas. If the natural gas can’t be transported to buyers, then there is no way to sell it and thus no reason to extract it. By opposing the pipeline, Massachusetts residents are also taking a stand against all the harmful effects of fracking such as air pollution, ground water contamination, and corporate influence on our democratic processes.
Our actions do not occur in isolation, they are connected to rest of the world in numerous overt and unseen ways. As Paul, a Tendai Buddhist Abbott in Canaan, NY told us, “there is no separation between ourselves and the natural world, the environment; what we do to ourselves we do to the world, and what we do to the world we do to ourselves.” The TGP pipeline has no place in the future we want, a future free from harmful fossil fuels and anthropogenic climate change.