Ashland Protests the Pipeline

Cynthia Whitty
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

Ashland residents concerned about the environment are protesting a proposed Eversource gas pipeline, called the Hopkinton to Ashland Transfer Line Replacement Project.
On its website, Eversource states that it hopes “to begin a new project to improve the flow of natural gas between Hopkinton and Ashland in 2019. This transfer line replacement project will replace a total of 3.8 miles of existing gas pipeline with new 12-inch pipe.” (
The construction would take five years to complete. Eversource’s preferred route crosses through 88 parcels in town and wetlands, wildlife habitats, Ashland State Park and neighborhoods, and at times through yards and within 10 feet of homes.
There has been a vast public outcry against the project among residents. No one who has spoken at public hearings and forums or written comments for the record has been in favor of the pipeline.
In a recent email, the Ashland Open Space and Recreation Committee commented on the impact of Eversource’s preferred route for the pipeline through wetlands, wildlife habitats and Ashland State Park. The email said: “Because the Open Space and Recreation Committee’s mission is to preserve and protect Ashland’s natural resources and the environment, the committee is against the proposed pipeline project for the following mission-related reasons: 1) Eversource has made no credible case for the need for this project. 2) There are grave climate change concerns regarding construction of the pipeline, a fossil fuel infrastructure.
“In addition, there are serious health and safety hazards, Eversource’s required alternate route and application documents are incomplete, and Eversource is proposing a potentially illegal use of the existing easement they want to use for construction.”
The committee is recommending residents take action and suggests:
Writing to the Siting Board at the Mass. Department of Utilities immediately to express opposition ([email protected]) and reference Docket# EFSB18-02. The Siting Board has the final authority to grant permission for the project and to decide which route Eversource must use if the project is allowed to go forward. The Siting Board will continue to accept letters from the public until they vote, which is expected to be in the fall. The committee said that residents must keep the pressure on the Siting Board and let them know that Ashland residents are against the pipeline project.
Writing to the Conservation Commission, [email protected], and attend Conservation Commission hearings when the Eversource pipeline project is on the agenda. Eversource will be coming before the Ashland Conservation Commission to request a permit to use their preferred route through the wetlands. The Conservation Commission has jurisdiction due to the wetlands and stormwater impacts. Whether or not you speak or ask questions at the hearings, your presence keeps the public’s concerns very visible and underscores the importance of those concerns.
Volunteering to put up a lawn sign; signs can be obtained by emailing [email protected].
Sharing all of this information with neighbors and urging them to take action.
For a complete list of talking points for a letter, contact [email protected] or [email protected].
For more information about the proposed pipeline route and its environmental impact, visit:
Ashland Conservation Commission for plans, maps, other documents:
Energy Facilities Siting Board for information (use link below then enter “EFSB18-02”on the search bar):
Town of Ashland’s Final Brief filed with the Siting Board on 6/7/19: