"Technically, it's speculative," said Bruce Winn, president of Berkshire Environmental Action Team, but he believes the company wants to move quickly in seeking permits if a viable route can be found.
"It would go right through here," Winn
In recent weeks, Tennessee Gas Pipeline has contacted landowners along the tentative route, seeking permission to do survey work.
The route is expected to angle northeast from an existing gas line coming from New York into Richmond; it would then pass through Lenox and other Berkshire towns, and towns in Franklin County and possibly Hampshire County on its way east to Dracut.
Interest in organizing in the Berkshires to oppose the project is not yet as evolved as in Franklin and Hampshire counties, Winn
said, but he
added that BEAT recently received a number of calls from residents seeking information.
expects the environmental organization will act as a lead group here and provide information.
Winn, a member of the adjunct environmental science faculty at Berkshire Community College, will speak March 8 in Cummington to a rapidly forming Hampshire County citizen group.
said objections to the project include the likelihood gas extracted through controversial fracking techniques will be delivered to Massachusetts.
"They [Tennessee Gas] are pushing that," he
said, referring to the large new gas reserves being extracted by the fracking method, which has led to lower costs but also, opponents argue, to unacceptable environmental damage to water supplies and in the release of methane into the atmosphere.
Fracking involves the injection of water and chemicals under high pressure into underground rock formations to release gas trapped there.
"We don't want fracked gas," Winn
"It is not a selling point with us."
Other major concerns, he
said, include the gas line industry's history of gas line leaks and related problems, as well as the wetlands and other sensitive areas that the proposed line would pass through.
"There would be damage beyond fracking," Winn
"This would go through a lot of very sensitive wetlands areas."
Concerning the lines themselves, Winn
said methane leaking from gas lines has been shown to have up to 30 times the greenhouse gas effect of carbon dioxide.
said, should be counted against the overall positive effect of using natural gas as an alternative to coal or other fossil fuels to produce electricity.
Expansion of renewable energy sources and energy conservation through insulation of older properties and other initiatives is a better alternative for Massachusetts, he