New England governors are pushing for a tariff to be placed on the utility bills of all New England customers to fund pipeline projects.
Properties within several hundred feet of the pipeline would likely suffer a loss in value, yet pipeline companies are under no obligation to compensate landowners abutting the property that hosts the pipeline easement.
The construction process can clear-cut and level a 125′-wide swath, destroying the neighborhood landscape. The remaining 50′ scar must be kept clear of any deep-root vegetation such as shrubs and trees. Only grasses and weeds are allowed to remain. The increased health risk of a natural gas pipeline is also a deterrent to buyers and therefore decreases the value of the property. Fluctuation of property value has also been tied to frequency and severity of recent pipeline explosions.
Insurance companies may raise premiums on dwellings within several hundred feet of a pipeline.
Property owners forced into an easement may request tax abatement for the portions of their property that are no longer useable, resulting in a revenue shortfall. This shortfall would likely be overcome by increasing taxes on those residents not directly affected by a pipeline easement.
The sources of a private well are far-reaching. Water quality of nearby wells can be affected during and after construction. Water tables can crack or shift during blasting, causing a rerouting of the water away from wells. Gas companies are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and do not have to disclose the chemicals in the pipeline. A pipeline leak of undisclosed chemicals could contaminate an aquifer and spread to wells throughout a community.
The target of pipeline routes is often conservation land. Sacrificing these sacred areas disrupts and destroys many plant and animal species. It divides habitats that have supported wildlife for ages. Generous residents willing to contribute land and money for conservation projects will be less likely to do so knowing that their hard-earned donation may become a private company’s “easiest path” for a pipeline.
Small towns are often not prepared for a catastrophic natural gas explosion. Necessary upgrades to emergency response equipment and additional training for responders come at a cost to all town residents.
The natural privacy barriers formed by trees that have stood for decades will be removed before pipeline construction. This “temporary” clearing can be as wide as 125’, even though the final easement could be reduced to a width of 50’. Unfortunately, decades will pass before seedlings become mature enough to replace the privacy barrier that was removed during construction.