Here are Spectra maps showing project components and abutters’ properties.
AS A LANDOWNER, YOU HAVE RIGHTS
You have the right to deny or rescind permission for Spectra to survey your land. Doing so is a separate process from negotiation of terms of easement.
Until a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is obtained from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Enbridge (Spectra) cannot bypass any state or local regulations.
Each individual property is negotiated separately. You can make specific requests when talking with Enbridge (Spectra), including adjusting the route within your property and negotiating your price.
Enbridge (Spectra) encourages landowners to get a lawyer to help with easement negotiation, but will not compensate for legal fees.
According to a Massachusetts attorney knowledgeable about eminent domain, holding out for eminent domain leaves homeowners in a strong position, relieving the land owner of tax and liability burdens.
You have Municipal Rights
Ninety percent of environmental damage in towns is done by projects locally permitted. However, towns are increasingly using municipal rights to create new legal precedents to assert their autonomy in their fights against undesirable development, such as gas pipelines and power plants, including:
- Towns can create binding “Rights-Based-Ordinances,” successfully used in over 150 US towns/cities to say NO to fracking, sewage sludge application, etc., according to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org).
- Towns can collaborate in coalitions with other towns, as ten northern Massachusetts towns fought the Kinder Morgan Northeast Direct pipeline which moved to New Hampshire soon after Kinder Morgan received a coalition letter.
- Towns with public conservation lands that come under Article 97 jurisdiction have protection within the state constitution that requires an act from the state legislature to overrule.
- Towns can sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging the issue of “public necessity” as the town of Deerfield recently has done with the Kinder Morgan Northeast Direct gas pipeline proposal. FERC’s authority especially can be challenged now with Congress’ lifting of the oil export ban. The 1978 Natural Gas Policy Act which authorized FERC to regulate both intrastate and interstate gas production and transmission to address a gas emergency shortage is no longer valid, as Congress has declared the shortage no longer exists.
You Can Do Community Outreach Within Towns and Across Towns
- Use networks, the press, events, meetings, social media, door-to-door, the internet, and signage to reach town residents to build consensus.
- Contact crucial town, state, and federal leadership: town board, conservation commission, public safety officials, board of health, planning board, state and national legislators, governor, and state agencies.
Learn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Process
Towns can employ delay tactics within the process. However, if towns work ONLY within the FERC process, they need to understand FERC’s process has a built-in assumption that new gas infrastructure is in the public interest, despite the burden of proof being on the applicant. According to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CLEDF.org), “[t]he only thing that regulations regulate is activists.” See our website NOspectraMA.org in the FERC section for how to participate.
Fight the Department of Public Utilities (DPU)
People can fight the Department of Utilities from imposing a “pipeline tax” on our utilities bills by commenting on the dockets, signing petitions and attending hearings and rallies. See DPU for how to participate.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION – Pick one or many, all make a difference!
ACTION ITEM. Sign a petition to fix the FERC process.
ACTION ITEM. Sign a petition for Governor Baker to Lead on Clean energy prioritizing efficiency and renewable energy
ACTION ITEM. Sign a petition to Close the Halliburton loophole and restore the EPA’s rightful authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. Require the oil and gas industry to disclose the chemicals it uses.
ACTION ITEM. Sign a petition to stop Spectra Pipeline from going through Franklin Mass
ACTION ITEM. Sign a petition to ban new natural gas pipelines and champion sustainable energy
ACTION ITEM. Leave a comment on a FERC doc.
ACTION ITEM. Click here to contact State and Town Officials
ACTION ITEM. Email your individual town (click on your town in the TOWNS menu above) if you know someone living on a main thoroughfare who would like a lawn sign