September 24, 2014 -- by Christina Rohrbacher
Last night at 7pm at Lowell Makes, local residents were heartily informed about the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline that seeks to cross Northern Massachusetts. Rich Cowan of MassPLAN (Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network) educated everyone about the proposed route for the pipeline as well as its capacity, who profits, and clean energy alternatives. As we all learned, Kinder-Morgan plans to export a great deal of the “fracked” natural gas the pipeline will support. The pipeline’s capacity far exceeds the needs of the people of Massachusetts and other nearby states.
This issue of this far-exceeding capacity is that Kinder-Morgan must make the appeal that the pipeline is “necessary” in order for them to receive eminent domain, or the power/right to use any piece of land for its own purpose regardless of who owns or uses it. This includes private property (homeowners of all income levels and property values), conservation land, park land, state land, or any other type of land. Not only is this company able to take the land, the cost of the project will eventually fall onto the consumer as well. Rich then went on to explain competitively-priced renewable energy alternatives, such as solar. Solar is making a splash in Massachusetts due to companies such as SolarCity and Vivent, who make “going solar” easy and affordable.
After receiving our “crash course” in pipeline economics, Diane and Richard Hewitt gave us a homeowner’s and activist’s perspective on how to stop this pipeline. The most important ideas to take away from their discussion are simple: organize, for they must listen when large groups come together with one goal; never be silent, because this is exactly what they want you to do; do your research, because they will not educate you about the negative impacts for these will cause you to stop them. Diane and Richard made a compelling case for grassroots activism, and gave our event-goers an important understanding of which groups are involved and how they are acting to stop the pipeline.
In all, our turnout was great. About 20 local residents were able to attend. Their enthusiasm was not missed either. There were many important questions asked by these residents. It proves that there is a sense of urgency in this matter. We must come together now and organize to effectively prove the strength in our opposition. A great way for you to begin is to attend our weekly 350MA of Greater Lowell meeting. This occurs every Thursday at 8:30am at Brew’d Awakening in Lowell at 61 Market St. There is street parking and it is a dollar/half hour for parking.
We hope to see you there!