Published in the November 11, 2015 edition


LYNNFIELD— With the deadline for Kinder Morgan to submit its application for the high-pressure gas line to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) less than two weeks away, the town is positioned to object to it and file as an intervenor.

“We have still taken a stance that we’re going to fight the pipeline,” Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford said at last week’s selectmen’s meeting. “No one wants the pipeline. The pipeline does no benefit to the town of Lynnfield.”

“Once that FERC application goes in, the town of Lynnfield will then file as an intervenor. If you file as an intervenor you become part of the process. We can comment on it, express our objections to the process. We can see what other towns are saying and we can be part of the whole (process) from start to finish,” Crawford said, adding, “I know our water district is also filing as an intervenor so they stay involved and that is the next process we have to follow as a town.”

Subsequent to the Kinder Morgan open house held at Spinelli’s Oct. 29, Crawford said he received feedback from direct abutters to the proposed route on North Hill Drive. “They weren’t thrilled with the meeting,” he said.

“They’re going to put in a 100-foot swath that they have to clear. They build the pipe above ground and then they dump it into the ditch. But they have to take about 100 feet along that easement that goes through North Hill (Drive) and that is going to be the front yard of a couple of the houses and the back yard of couple of the houses,” Crawford said.

He added, “They will be taking walkways and fences and in some cases, even a couple of driveways will be compromised. It is not a good situation for anybody to have to go through this.”

Crawford added that the board has made several requests of Kinder Morgan to attend a selectmen’s meeting, but they’ve “refused to come in front of us” due to bad experiences at meetings with other towns. Still, he said, the town remains hopeful that they will commit to coming before the board and will continue request that they do so.

SWAT team

Selectman Tom Terranova was startled by the extreme police presence at the Oct. 29 open house. “It looked like the SWAT team. It looked like they had the entire Peabody Police Department there,” he said.

“The first thing in my mind is what’s going on here? Lynnfield and Peabody residents were interested in getting information and why this onslaught of a police force?” Terranova asked. He later found out the police details was due to situations at forums held in other communities where “die-ins” were staged.

“I later found out why. There was a situation at a prior meeting where they had a quote ‘dead-in’ where people just fell to the floor, played dead and eventually left,” he said. At this meeting, no die-ins were staged and everyone was courteous, he said.

In reference to Terranova’s question about the police presence at the Spinelli’s meeting, Town Administrator Jim Boudreau said that was probably his fault because of a tip he got. “The town administrator in Northfield, where the die-in was the night before, was a member of the Finance Committee and the School Committee in Norwell,” he said, which is where Boudreau worked prior to coming to Lynnfield. Boudreau said he was also told about another staged die-in where 500 people showed up, including a “woman with a pie” who planned to throw it at a Kinder Morgan official.

“So I called Chief Breen to let him know and Dave and his staff spoke to Peabody. We put the Peabody chief in contact with the Northfield chief and it was based upon their conversation that the Peabody chief had all that police presence there because the two previous meetings were the die-ins,” Boudreau said.

Terranova said, “I can appreciate that there’s a concern but I still couldn’t get my idea around the issue that these are our neighbors from Lynnfield and do we really anticipate them dropping to the floor?”

Boudreau said, “It’s not your neighbors from Lynnfield or your neighbors from Peabody. It could be anybody because this is a public forum and people come from a long way to cover these things sometimes. If you watch Monday Night Football, two people hung from a football stadium to protest fracked gas.”

Boudreau added that the town would not be paying for the details. “I believe Kinder Morgan gets a bill for the details,” he said.

Terranova said during the meeting at Spinelli’s he spoke with Alan Fore who is the vice president of public affairs for Kinder Morgan. “In front of several people when I asked him if he would come to a selectmen meeting, he agreed,” Terranova said. He hopes he would attend the Nov. 16 meeting, adding he’s waiting to see if it will be arranged.

“(Fore) did tell me that at all times Kinder Morgan is always willing to come to a selectmen’s meeting and address the public,” Terranova said, adding that Fore was a surprised to learn that a Tennessee Gas Pipeline representative had declined a prior request from the town.

“Dry gas line” proposed

Terranova said it was “interesting” to learn from a Kinder Morgan representative that the high-pressure gas line the town would be dealing with is called a ‘dry gas line.’”

“Theoretically, there should be absolutely no fluids in that line,” Terranova said, which would mean fears expressed about “certain chemicals” being in the line and the potential for those chemicals to seep down into the ground may not be an issue after all.

“All we got to worry about is if there should be a leak and an explosion in the ozone; so outside of that, things should go smoothly,” Terranova said.

“I agree with my fellow selectmen on this,” said Selectman Chris Barrett said. “I think it is important to get the Kinder Morgan people before the Board of Selectmen so they can answer the difficult questions. I thought that event was nothing but a staged event. They hid behind informational booths and pretty much presented information you can get online. It really wasn’t helpful all that much for us.”

Barrett added, “I think it’s important. I hope one of these individuals do come through and come to a Board of Selectmen here in Lynnfield so they can hear the difficult questions we have for them because we have plenty.”

Patricia Campbell asked if the town administrator was able to contact Kinder Morgan so that they’d be entertaining questions from the public and it would be televised.

Boudreau said he had not spoken to them prior to the Nov. 4 selectmen’s meeting but that he had discussed it with Terranova that morning. He wanted to wait until this week to give them the time to see if they’re still coming.

Campbell added that Kinder Morgan had “piles” of maps available that she was going to bring to friends but she said the town looked like a “postage stamp on the maps,” so she threw them away.

Negotiate funds for usage of land?

Katy Shea, 7 Daventry Ct., said at the Spinelli’s meeting she spoke to John Sorensen, the president and CEO of an energy advisory company, who offered a different “perspective” about the pipeline as a potential source of revenue for those whose land it crosses.

“He said, ‘You can negotiate and you can get revenue every month for them using your land’ and he looked at me and said, ‘And your town’s going to make money on this,’” Shea recalled. She noted the “ballpark figure” he mentioned was $660,000 in tax revenue while adding, ‘Don’t you want a new police station?’”

“If this does move forward – and all of us in this room don’t want it to move forward – will we have visibility to the tax revenue?” Shea asked, adding, “It is something to consider as we move closer. We’ve heard that they like to throw money around a bit.”