Members of the Mason Conservation Commission appeared before the Mason Selectmen at their March 22 meeting to request funds for pipeline mitigation plans. The selectmen approved the request. According to Conservation Commission Member Liz Fletcher:
“The contract is with Kane Conservation, the same consultant hired by the Selectmen to do an environmental review of the pipeline routes. For $2,880 Chris Kane will recommend wetlands mitigation sites qualified to counter the wetlands damage proposed by the pipelines in Mason.”
“DES has various rules about what types of land/projects qualify. It’s not just size of the area, though the mitigation areas should come out equal to the wetland impact areas. Chris would use his own estimations of the wetland impacts, not KM’s which usually low-ball the damage as they did in Rindge.”
“DES likes to fund wetlands restoration, especially where culverts may have interrupted natural stream flow. They want them sited at the natural water level, not “hanging” as many culverts are. DES also likes to fund acquiring land in the same watershed for wetland buffers. DES has various arcane rules for what qualifies, so for $2880 it makes sense to have a professional make the recommendations for mitigation.”
Kinder Morgan may indeed low-ball impacts, but being denied survey access can one blame them?