I can’t think of another issue in recent years that has concerned the residents of Berkshire and Franklin Counties the way the Kinder-Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline has…and is it any wonder?

There are very legitimate concerns about the possible seizure of private and public property, damage to the environment and wildlife and public safety if a new gas transmission line is run through this rural area. Supporters –including the construction unions — say we need the energy the pipeline will supply and the jobs constructing it will bring. Opponents say the risks outweigh those benefits — and claim we can deal with the energy issue by conserving and by growing our use of renewable energy — solar, wind and hydro-power — rather than continued and increased use of fossil fuels like natural gas.

Right in the middle of all this debate is State Senate Stan Rosenberg — Democrat of Amherst and the Hampshire-Franklin District –which the pipeline would most-likely run right through if it happens. However, Senator Rosenberg now has the ability to play a bigger role than usual for a local legislator confronted with a issue of great concern for their district. That’s because he is also now the President of the Massachusetts State Senate. That means he’s one of the “Big 3” who set the agenda for what happens on Beacon Hill and in state government–along with the Governor and the House Speaker. Simply put, if something is happening that one of the “Big 3” doesn’t like or agree with — they generally have the power to stop or at least change what’s happening so it’s more to their liking.

Senator Rosenberg has real concerns about the pipeline. He’s gone to Washington and met personally with members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and top people in the U.S.Energy Department to express his concerns — and he’s won some concessions that will allow more time for additional questions and further consideration of the concerns about the pipeline at the Federal level.

Senate President Rosenberg is my sole guest this week on our weekly “The State We’re In” edition of “Connecting Point” and he really gets into some of the fascinating, intricate details of what may happen with the pipeline.

If the pipeline is an issue you care about — you need to watch. That’s at 7:30PM Friday, Oct. 23 with an encore broadcast 10:30AM Sunday morning, Oct. 25. It will also be available online at Beyond that, you can catch it on our “WGBY/World” Digital channel(check our website for the times) and, for the next couple of weeks, see it through the “Video on Demand” option if you have Comcast Cable.

If you need anything further to peak your interest — I asked the Senator if the pipeline is a “done deal”. His answer — “Not a done deal.”
Sounds like this is going to be quite a fight for months — maybe years — to come.