Rep William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, worked with Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow, to include the agricultural estate tax reform bill as part of a larger environmental bond bill that seeks to address the Commonwealth’s climate-change preparedness and response plans.
State Sen. Adam Hinds: “If anybody’s learned anything from this election, it’s that elections have consequences – serious policy consequences. They are absolutely gutting the EPA at a rate that even the most pessimistic person would be surprised about right now.” Hinds was also sharply critical of the state in allowing the pipeline project to move through the Otis State Forest, which is state-owned land ostensibly protected from development.
Sitting right next to the existing right-of-way being widened aggressively by Tennessee Gas Company is a “Thoreau Cabin,” so named for American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, who wrote the famous essay on civil disobedience.
There are rumors that the long-anticipated energy omnibus bill could contain language supporting the pipeline tax that would subsidize new gas pipelines through a charge added to the monthly bills of electric ratepayers.
A public hearing in Boston on Tuesday, November 10, before the Joint Committee on State Administration & Regulatory Oversight, will consider a bill to remove conservation restrictions from Berkshire and Hamden counties’ state forests and protected lands. State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and state Sen. Ben Downing urge Berkshire residents to attend this hearing to oppose this measure. The Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline have chartered a bus to go to the hearing.
“I think one of the challenges with climate change is that it is abstract. But when we do things like spend twelve days seeing where a pipeline is proposed to go, we make that a bit more real and we bring others with us to see that, making the abstract a little more concrete.”
In January 2011, 1Berkshire received $300,000 from General Electric and then proceeded to develop a public relations and social media campaign to oppose dredging GE’s PCB pollution from the Housatonic River. The surreptitious funding and anti-environmental campaign led to the resignation of two 1Berkshire directors, both members of Berkshire Creative.
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston wrote a prescient story last May about how electricity prices might soar if Wall Street succeeds in its attempts to manipulate power supply. New England will be a “test-case” for “Enron-style price-gouging,” which is “making a comeback. Under the rules of the electricity markets, the best way to earn huge profits is by reducing the supply of power.”
The study did not consider the impact of pipeline investments on Massachusetts’s long-term reliance on natural gas, nor did it consider these investments’ potential displacement of alternative energy sources. Environmental impacts of pipeline siting and construction and of natural gas extraction were also not considered.