Senator Lesser Registers Opposition to Proposed Longmeadow Gas Meter Station in Letter to State Board

LONGMEADOW — After responding to countless constituent concerns about a proposed meter station in Longmeadow, Senator Eric P. Lesser has formally registered his opposition to the project in a letter to the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Board, which is reviewing the proposed project.

Sen. Lesser’s letter identifies two main issues with the meter station proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC to expand its natural gas infrastructure in the region.

The first is that metering stations continually release raw methane and other harmful contaminants as they transfer gas from one pipeline to another, which pose potential health risks such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, fetal/neonatal illness and brain lesions that cause neurobehavioral abnormalities.

“This is of particular concern where Tennessee proposes building the Longmeadow Station in a dense residential neighborhood and in the immediate vicinity of an elementary school. It should be noted that none of the assessments filed by Tennessee describe the proposed location as a residential area,” Sen. Lesser’s letter notes.

Sen. Lesser’s letter also notes that the Boards of Health in Longmeadow, Amherst, Chicopee, Holyoke, Northampton, Westfield, West Springfield and Springfield have all called on the Governor stop the expansion of the gas pipeline infrastructure until a statewide study of the health impacts caused by natural gas can be conducted.

The second major concern that Sen. Lesser raised with the project is the potential noise that will be generated by so-called “pig Launchers,” devices used to clean gas pipelines.

“Residents already near natural gas pipelines have complained that when the pig Launcher is cleaning a pipe, the noise generated is equal to that of a Boeing 747 airliner,” Sen. Lesser’s letter states.

“These concerns, raised by residents and health experts, must be taken seriously. Given the potential for dangerous health consequences, I respectfully urge the Energy Facilities Siting Board to withhold its approval of this project in its recommendation to federal regulators,” said Sen. Lesser.

The Energy Facilities Siting Board held a public hearing on the project on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Longmeadow High School auditorium.

The Board will take these comments, along with Sen. Lesser’s letter, into consideration before making its own recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has the power to deny Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company the necessary certificate to proceed with constructing the meter station.

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Eric Lesser