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Concern about gas pipeline proposed from Longmeadow to Springfield

A map shows details of Eversource's Western Massachusetts Natural Gas Reliability Project.
A map shows details of Eversource's Western Massachusetts Natural Gas Reliability Project.

A proposed natural gas pipeline from Longmeadow to Springfield, Massachusetts, has some residents of both communities up in arms. But utility Eversource insists the five-mile pipeline is safe and essential to assure reliable service. What’s called the Western Massachusetts Natural Gas Reliability Project is a proposed pipeline that would take one of four routes from Longmeadow to a regulator station in Springfield.Eversource argues a second pipeline is essential to protect thousands of businesses, schools, and residents from the risk of losing natural gas, if the only pipeline supplying gas to Springfield and surrounding communities is damaged. That pipeline is 70 years old.

“We look for areas to create redundancy so that a single failure, whether it's an old age section of pipe. Infrastructure at risk is high, but you could have a third party hit. You could have a major storm that you could have an issue at the Memorial Bridge. You could have lots of things,” Eversource President of Gas Operations William Akley told And Another Thing.

“We want to be able to make people feel very comfortable about this project and the need for it and the ability for us to do this safely and to be able to operate the system for a long, long time in a safe manner,” Akley said.

Critics say the pipeline presents dangers and needlessly extends the region’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“We need to move toward transition. It's a matter of working with energy companies to provide renewable or clean energy,” Michelle Marantz of the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group told And Another Thing.

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