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Lenox Denies Pipeline Survey Work

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
03:26AM / Thursday, August 07, 2014
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The Board of Selectmen denied the company's request to do more surveys until they provide more information.

LENOX, Mass. — Kinder Morgan, the company proposing to expand a natural gas pipeline through the Berkshires, has asked Lenox to allow it do more survey work.

The Board of Selectmen agreed with member David Roche's response.

"Tell them to go to hell," Roche said on Wednesday.
 
The Selectmen denied the request.
 
According to Town Manager Chris Ketchen, the company has asked to do more surveying near the Arcadian Shop and Kennedy Park.
 
Ketchen says the company is doing most of its work along the AT&T right of way — as he had predicted.
 
But, then it looks like the company is planning to veer off that right of way, follow hiking trails near the Arcadian Shop to Route 7. That route will affect the town's watershed and Kennedy Park.
 
But, "we don't know where the survey would cross East Street. We don't know where it would cross Roaring Brook or the Housatonic River," Ketchen said.
 
Ketchen asked the Selectmen to deny the request until the company provides that information. Roche said the town let the company do the initial survey work to help find out where the trail is going to go. Even without the eastern side of town included, he doesn't like it. 
 
Selectman Ed Lane says the company has been "unbelievably vague" and doesn't understand why the route is being withheld. 
 
Chairman Channing Gibson agreed, "I think the really frustrating thing is the inability to get answers."
 
The board unanimously agreed to deny the permit until they can get more information.
 
In other business, the town has applied for a state grant to hire somebody to oversee the proposed solar project. 
 
"We're hopeful that we will obtain funding through that grant," Ketchen said. "We absolutely need these technical resources at our disposal to issue another RFP."
 
The town, in partnership with the town of Lee, has proposed a massive solar array. The group had reached a contract with Broadway Electric to develop it. However, the company's solar division went bankrupt and left the town without a project.
 
But the project hadn't lost energy. The town has started to push again.
 
"We need to reissue the RFP," Ketchen said.
 
However, the motion that approved the town moving forward cited the contract with Broadway specifically. So, if the town again moved forward, it will need another town meeting vote.
 
"The article that we passed in 2012 was very specific," Gibson said. "The amendment that was added to the motion was very specific to Broadway and very specific to the financials Broadway gave us ... We probably have to revisit this as a town meeting issue."
 
Roche added that going back to town meeting may add another level of complication to do it, but "it is a good thing."
 
"We've always had the residents and the voters involved in the voters," he said. "I think that is a good thing."

Tags: gas pipeline,   solar array,   

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