New Pipeline in the Pipeline for Western Mass.

Peter Vickery, Esq.

According to TV and print media, a new natural-gas pipeline might soon stretch 250 miles across northern Massachusetts, winding its way under a dozen or so towns in Berkshire and Franklin Counties.

The extension depends on several factors, including whether the pipeline owner (Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company) will get federal approval for its expansion plans. Although the pipeline might stay within the limits of current utility easements, some property-owners may be wondering what happens if the company ends up needing more land. This is one of those rare occasions when the law provides a short, clear answer: eminent domain.

Although the project would generate hundreds of construction jobs, a unanimous Bay State welcome seems unlikely. Environmentalists will point to the impact of fossil fuels on the climate and perhaps abutters will raise concerns about possible leaks and explosions. Some property-owners might be inclined to hold out, for…

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