Gordon Massman: Pipeline project, not opponents, is the party terrorizing the environment

Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2015

To the editor:

I accept Berkshire Gas spokesman Christopher Farrell’s apology (May 2, Gazette) for describing those who oppose the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Expansion project as eco-terrorists. I am not aware, nor evidently is Farrell, of anyone who has committed violence to achieve environmentalist aims.

I should say, however, that many of my fellow townspeople are educating themselves in the practice of nonviolent protest, and plan to use it when, or if, the time arrives.

Farrell apologizes correctly for mischaracterizing dissenters in the literal sense of the term eco-terrorism. But if one frames the term differently as those who terrorize the ecology, that is those who commit violence against nature, then I would like to turn the discussion around by accusing — without apology — Tennessee Gas and its subsidiaries of eco-terrorism. For how else can one describe an entity that inserts under wetlands, wildlife preserves, state parks, conservation land and old-growth forests gas produced by an industry that the EPA describes as emitting “the largest source of volatile organic compounds (VOC)” known to humans: methane gas “which is 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide,” benzene, ethylbenzene, and n-hexane, all of which are known carcinogens. This after destroying countless millions of gallons of aquifer water and causing minor earthquakes in stable environments in a process known as hydraulic fracturing.

Kinder Morgan, in correspondence to abutters of the proposed pipeline route, has labeled rural areas such as Plainfield “sacrifice zones.” That is, zones which rate the lowest grade of pipe, that which is most prone to industrial accident, as opposed to high population density areas which rate the highest grade of pipe or that which rarely spews or explodes.

As one who lives in a “sacrifice zone,” I ask Farrell what could be more terroristic against the ecology than this casual attitude toward nature and human life?

Gordon Massman



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