Federal regulators have brushed off a request by both Massachusetts U.S. senators to delay construction of a natural gas pipeline running through Otis State Forest in southern Berkshire County.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey last month asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to put the breaks on the project. They said since FERC lacks a quorum, which is preventing it from holding more hearings on the pipeline, it shouldn't have granted permission to start construction, either.
In a response dated last week, the acting chair of FERC said the commission already conducted a "thorough, independent" review of the New York-to-Connecticut pipeline.
"FERC should never have allowed this pipeline project to begin construction when it lacked a sufficient quorum to be able to evaluate and act on the challenges that have been raised by the local community. When FERC cannot act on pending challenges to a pipeline project, it should not allow that pipeline project to move forward until those challenges can be heard." -- Sen. Ed Markey
“FERC is clearly wrong: as pipeline construction moves forward, irreparable harm is being done to Otis State Forest. The Commission continues to ignore the voices of Western Massachusetts, which is wrong as a matter of policy and goes against FERC’s own guiding principles.” -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren