The controversy over the proposed Kinder Morgan gas pipeline has entered into the Massachusetts State Representative race in the 13th Essex District. Bob Croce is running against incumbent State Representative Ted Speliotis (Danvers). Croce is pointing out that Speliotis accepted campaign donations from Kinder Morgan, and that it’s NOT coincidental that Speliotis doesn’t oppose the pipeline. Note in particular the last line of this clip from the article, especially in light of the fact that “fracked” gas will be running through the pipeline.
From Ethan Forman, Salem News Staff Writer, on Apr 5, 2016:
Bob Croce, a West Peabody resident…is also chairman of a citizens’ group opposing the pipeline plan in Peabody. Even before announcing his candidacy, Croce was attacking Speliotis for accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists representing Kinder Morgan…
“I would have not, absolutely, taken money from a lobbyist who was working for Kinder Morgan,” said Croce, chairman of Peabody Citizens United, a group opposed to the pipeline. “It’s up to others to judge if it’s right or wrong…”
The larger issue, he said, is what he calls Speliotis’ “lukewarm” opposition to the pipeline.
“He really seemed on the fence here,” Croce said.
A Democrat who is challenging Speliotis in the primary, Croce said he decided to run, “because, in general, the representative has never supported our opposition to the pipeline. In fact, he’s discouraged our efforts, saying several times that we can’t stop the project, so we might as well mitigate.”
A subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Tennessee Gas Company, wants to install a natural gas pipeline through West Peabody, but the project has proven controversial because the route would tear up a section of the Peabody Independence Greenway, and skirt the Ipswich River, triggering concerns that herbicides meant to keep the route clear could contaminate the river, which is a source of drinking water.
Croce said other political leaders have lined up in opposition to the pipeline, but not Speliotis.
Speliotis said he has a different view of the pipeline. He would prefer to see it routed along existing rights of way for pipelines, and away from the Ipswich River, he said, though that is not what the company is proposing.
He sees the pipeline as a possible secondary gas supplier to Salem’s new natural gas power plant, which is now under construction. With a competitive source of gas for the power plant, this could help lower the region’s electric rates, he said.