Press Release: Hundreds of Small Businesses Call on Governor Baker to Oppose Pipeline Expansion

On Tuesday March 21st, local business owners and concerned residents unveiled a list of hundreds of local businesses endorsing the Stop the Pipeline campaign from across the state. The effort was spear-headed by a state-wide coalition Mass Power Forward with press conferences in Seekonk, Canton and Dalton.

“We are small business owners in Rehoboth Massachusetts and are deeply concerned with the Spectra pipeline,” said Marie Soliday, owner of local business Confectionery Designs in Rehoboth.”It is detrimental to both residents and business owners. We value our health of our families and our township.”

Endorsement forms signed by the 500 businesses from over 80 municipalities called on Governor Baker to withdraw his support of new and expanded gas infrastructure and asked him to keep our state moving towards a path of competitive clean energy like appropriately sited wind and solar.

"Our Berkshire solar design and installation business, now 32 years old, is growing to meet the accelerated demand in the solar market.  New positions have been filled by local graduates of UMass/Amherst and Berkshire Community College. These young people want to make a difference for the environment in their careers, and we define sustainability in part as our firms' continuance for them and our environmentally motivated customers,” said Christopher Derby Kilfoyle, President, Berkshire Photovoltaic Services in Adams, "It is important for the Governor and the legislature to follow the Attorney generals' lead and help prevent penalties and hurdles the utilities are pushing this year through arcane regulatory proceedings to ruin the viability of existing solar net metered facilities and place roadblocks to new projects."

The last five years has seen more than $8 billion dollars of proposed pipelines to built in the Commonwealth, though much of it has stagnated after a financial scheme to have a public subsidy floundered in the legislature. Gas companies appear wary to make the financial investment without a steady public subsidy. Residents along the expansion routes have expressed strong concerns.

Monica Mancuso of Canton, a resident whose home is in what is known as “the incineration zone” spoke eloquently about her family and what the pipeline would mean for her. “Pipelines like this not only disrupt our personal lives but they also destroy and pollute our local wetlands, our air and our climate. We can't exploit our communities this way. We have to pour our efforts into alternative technology that can create and sustain energy without these devastating impacts and risks of ‘incineration’.”

Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast project would include building new pipeline across dozens of communities from Canton to Medway to Shrewsbury, build a compressor station in Rehoboth and 2 large LNG tanks in Acushnet. This project was studied by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office and deemed unneeded and expensive.

“Study after study has shown us that we don’t need the pipeline, that we can’t afford it,” said Bri McAlevey of Sharon, one of the organizers of the Canton event. “So we say, why the risks? Why should we invest in something we don’t want and don’t need? We are pleased so many business owners agree with us.”

From 2014 to 2016, Houston-based Kinder Morgan had proposed to build a 250-mile new pipeline that would cut a 50-foot path across over 30 municipalities from the Berkshires east to Dracut. After not securing enough financing and facing fierce opposition, the company canceled their proposal last May. Kinder Morgan is still pursuing its expansion in Sandisfield of the lower Berkshires.

“We’ve been out talking to business owners, and they get it,” said Claire Miller from Toxics Action Center, “obviously this list is just the tip of the iceberg of opposition to the new gas pipelines. From farms to realtors to auto-shops and more- I hope the Governor hears these small business owner voices and stops supporting gas.”