By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher
For months I’ve been giving Representative Ted Speliotis the benefit of the doubt, hoping all along that he would unconditionally be on the side of the thousands of West Peabody, Middleton and Danvers residents, who passionately oppose the potentially dangerous and totally unnecessary Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal.
There have been days when Rep. Speliotis has seemingly been with us. But then we’ve been puzzled on days when he’s either been on the fence, or curiously, seemed to discourage our opposition efforts.
He has been all over the place, never really 100% committing to opposing this project, which would not only threaten homes and Peabody’s pristine Independence Greenway bikepath, but also the Ipswich River, which provides public drinking water to 350,000 residents on the North Shore.
His lack of total commitment had been puzzling, but maybe we now know why he hasn’t been 100% with residents on opposing the pipeline.
On the rep’s two most-recent campaign finance reports, posted on the Mass. Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF), there are several contributions — worth more than a thousand dollars — from lobbyists who represent the natural gas industry.
But one contributor stands out above all others. In the last two reporting periods, Brian Hickey of Brian Hickey & Associates — who was hired to represent Kinder Morgan’s Massachusetts interests — has given Rep. Speliotis two checks for $200 each. By the way, $200 is the most a lobbyist can give to a State Rep legally in one year, so you have to wonder how much he would have received had there been no limits. Here’s the link to Speliotis’ full campaign finance report
For a year now, Hickey and KM Chief Propaganda Office Allen Fore have been peddling truths, half-truths and flat out lies to Mass. State Legislators, while filling several campaign war chests with thousands of dollars.
There is, of course, nothing illegal going on here. After all, greasing palms is standard operating procedure for lobbyists on Beacon Hill, and I can’t blame Mr. Hickey for trying to make a living.
But how thoroughly disappointed are we in Rep. Speliotis?
Didn’t we elect him to work for the people of West Peabody, Danvers and Middleton, and oppose this project that will endanger resident quality of life, while providing no benefit to the people of the 13th Essex District. Didn’t we expect that he wouldn’t be taking any of this “blood money?”
The fact is, no matter how much Kinder Morgan tries to avoid the question – and trump up a fake scenario for local demand – we feel that this gas is destined for lucrative foreign markets. The residents of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire are being used as a pass through for this potentially destructive gas highway.
Rep. Speliotis knows this, and maybe, just maybe he should have sent back this KM blood money? Shame on you, Ted, but I guess at least we now know why you haven’t been 100% supportive of our opposition.