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FERC Considering Pipeline Project in Class I and II Lands

 River Alliance of CT > Priority Topics > Pipelines >

Proposed New Gas Pipeline in Class I and II Watershed Lands CANCELLED!

May 5, 2016

Last month Kinder-Morgan's Tennessee Natural Gas Pipeline Company announced it was cancelling its Northeast Energy Direct (NED) Project (docket CP16-21) that included the building of a new, larger pipeline alongside their existing pipeline through Class I and II public water supply watershed lands of the Metropolitan District Commission. Here is their reason from the statement on their website:

As a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers, Kinder Morgan, Inc., (NYSE: KMI) and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), have suspended further work and expenditures on the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project.

They say customers would not make commitments because of low energy prices and because "...the New England states have not yet established regulatory procedures to facilitate binding EDC (Energy Distribution Company) commitments, ... the process in each state for establishing such procedures is open-ended, and that the ultimate success of those processes is not assured."

Caveat? In Kinder-Morgan Tennessee's April 22 correspondence to FERC, they seemed to leave open the possibility of doing some part of the project in the future:

Tennessee is in the process of determining how best to proceed consistent with existing contracts. As a result, Tennessee respectfully requests that the Commission not take any further action in processing the Application, pending Tennessee submitting a status report to the Commission no later than May 26, 2016.

We, at Rivers Alliance, and many other environmental groups, believe this pipeline would have had major negative environmental effects.  We questioned whether a quantified need for more natural gas had been demonstrated. That question now appears to have been justified.

Particularly important to Rivers Alliance, given its mission to protect state waters, is that allowing the proposed construction in protected reservoir lands (click on map to right) would have set a very bad legal precedent. In the field, the project would have impaired water quality during and after construction. Moreover, the pipeline would have crossed numerous waterways.

This NED project is separate from the FERC-approved Connecticut Expansion Project that involves much pipeline building in MA and NY and a relatively small section in CT. The section that has been approved for construction in CT runs from a massive compressor station in Agawam, MA, south to the East Granby meter station next to Bradley Airport. NED would have extended that additional, bigger pipe farther south into Connecticut.

The statement from Kinder-Morgan goes on to say, "TGP will continue to work with customers to explore alternative solutions to address their needs, particularly local distribution companies that are unable to fully serve consumers and businesses in their areas because of the lack of access to abundant, low-cost domestic natural gas."

 

FERC had begun the process of preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project. TGP submitted Resource Reports describing the Project and its economic and environmental imapcts, and thousands of comments were made on the Project by individuals; organizations; local, state, and federal agencies; and elected officials. FERC asked TGP to clarify and add to information in the Resource Assesments and to respond to many of the concerns in the comments. TGP's latest response to FERC is a 500-plus page document posted March 17, with more information promised in a supplemental filing in April, now put on hold. Please see the box below for our summary of items of concern regarding effects on water resources.

 

Items of Note in Kinder-Morgan Response to FERC

FERC asked Kinder-Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) a number of questions relating to environmental issues to the NED project. In March, TGP provided a partial, though lengthy, reply you can read here: NED_FERC Data Response 2 (March 17). They promised a supplemental filing by the end of April to finish answering FERC's questions, but that was put on hold due to cancelling the project. 

On April 26 TGP informed FERC they will NOT be submitting the supplemental filing in April because they are suspending the project. However, "Tennessee is in the process of determining how best to proceed consistent with existing contracts, and will provide an update on the status of the supplemental filing when it submits its status report no later than May 26, 2016."

Two items of particular note to Connecticut that were in the March partial reply are:

1. TGP intended to describe a "re-route to adjust the distance from the Project to the Metropolitan District water supply land areas...." (page 4 of 515). This route adjustment may never be publicized however since TGP has cancelled the project, but maybe they will mention it their May status report. Presumably the adjustment was just to route a small section of the new pipe alongside their old one through Talcott Mountain State Forest, which is still in the public water supply watershed (map below).  The first plan was was to install part of the new pipe along a shorter route next to the power lines that cross a portion of MDC property. 

2. Use of pesticides (including herbicides) for right-of-way maintenance may have little state or local regulation adequate to avoid excessive pesticide use (p 38, 39,).

TGP "currently uses the following herbicides, where authorized: 1) Garlon, Escort, 2, 4-D Peptoil or 2) Pramitol, Glyphosate, 2, 4-D Peptoil. Metsulfuron-methyl is not used. Tennessee may request additional herbicides on a case-by-case basis, all of which would be subject to approval by applicable regulatory agencies." (page 75)

 

Archived:
Comments on Kinder-Morgan Pipeline Proposal (NED Project) Through Class I and II Lands
Background on Kinder-Morgan Pipeline Proposal (NED Project) Through Class I and II Lands

 

 

 

Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
PO Box 1797, 7 West Street 3rd Floor, Litchfield, CT 06759-1797
860-361-9349
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