SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Advocacy groups in Springfield expressed their concerns over a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through their local streets.

Elected officials and residents continue to question why a pipeline is necessary in Springfield’s South End neighborhood, some showing their opposition Tuesday afternoon. Massachusetts’ Rep. Carlos Gonzalez held a meeting with Springfield residents to discuss concerns over the proposed Eversource pipeline project.

Many who live in the area where the pipeline would be constructed oppose the project because of the potential dangers it could pose. Eversource has proposed a roughly $33 million, 16-inch diameter gas pipeline that would be constructed underground between Longmeadow and the South End of Springfield.

“There are multiple problems that I see with the proposal. One is environmental. We are trying to get away from fossil fuels. There is a national effort, and global effort. A lot of ecosystems are being destroyed by fossil fuels,” said David Ciampi of Springfield told 22News.

“I am concerned for the potential hazard the proposal may have on the residents of Springfield. My priority should be moving to a less hazardous and greener production of energy,” said Chairman Gonzalez.

The proposed pipeline would carry natural gas and Eversource says it is a necessary improvement to reliability. The current existing one is nearly 70-years-old. Rep. Gonzalez continues to hold meetings with Eversource to get more information on the proposed project.

Pipeline proposal (Screenshot from Eversource handout document)

In a statement to 22News, Eversource spokeswoman Priscilla Ress released the following:

“In order to enhance reliability for more than 58,000 of our natural gas customers in the Greater Springfield area that are currently served by a single supply through infrastructure that is 70 years old, we are proposing the Western Massachusetts Natural Gas Reliability Project to provide a much-needed redundant supply source.

We have not yet submitted a formal proposal to the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, which will open an approximately two-year regulatory proceeding, as well local, state and federal permitting processes.

With a comprehensive public process just now beginning, we are committed to close collaboration throughout with our neighbors in the community and stakeholders at all levels to listen to their feedback and input. Those efforts have included two virtual open houses to give local residents and business owners an opportunity to learn more about the proposed project with subject matter experts, ask questions and provide comments, as well as meetings with elected officials like Rep. Gonzalez, and we are committed to continued communication and collaboration as the process moves forward.”

An earlier version of this story contained a statement from Eversource spokeswoman Priscilla Ress in regards to the virtual open houses that was outdated. The above statement provided has been updated to reflect Tuesday’s meeting.