Pipeline opponents rejoice after AG announcement - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Pipeline opponents rejoice after AG announcement

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Massachusetts' Attorney General released a shocking new study about the expansion of a gas pipeline. It's huge news for opponents who have voiced concerns over how the pipeline would affect the environment. 

The study determined that the region's supply of electricity will remain stable for at least the next 15 years and that additional energy needs, like pipelines, can be met with cheaper and cleaner ways.

"The population is opposed to this pipeline. And, it's also just a disaster in terms of climate change and global warming," said Jeff Napolitano, Director of American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts. 

The 400 mile project would run through Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. But today, Attorney General Maura Healey said the pipeline would result in less customer savings and would drive up GHG emissions.

"Attorney General Healy's study that was released today is the perfect demonstration of what folks have been saying for quite some time, which is that energy efficient measures by far will out weigh any need of additional gas pipelines and gas infrastructure," said Napoilitano.

The news comes as the company is preparing to file its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"The gas in itself as a fossil fuel does damage. But when you're obtaining gas by fracking, you're endangering even more people by that method of extraction," said Sharon Maulton of Climate Action Now. 

Kinder Morgan said the study was 'seriously flawed'. Read their full statement below:

The Analysis Group’s study commissioned by the Attorney General’s office is seriously flawed; its recommendations will do nothing to lower unnecessarily high electricity costs for ratepayers or provide long-term solutions to the region’s chronic energy problems and environmental challenges.

In assessing the state’s natural gas needs, the study focused only on the electric power market in Massachusetts and the region, ignoring the need for more natural gas from local gas utilities struggling to meet increased demand from residents and businesses seeking to switch from oil to gas.

As a result, the study paints an incomplete and inaccurate picture to reach its conclusions. Its findings are contradicted by every other analysis in a long line of public studies, including a comprehensive review prepared for the Patrick administration’s Department of Energy Resources, all of which found that Massachusetts and New England need substantially more natural gas capacity. The region’s power grid operator, ISO New England, has also underscored the pressing need for expanding natural gas infrastructure, noting that nearly half of the region’s electricity is now produced with natural gas, a number that will steadily increase as more coal and oil generators are retired.

Due to its lack of adequate pipeline capacity, over the last two winters New England has been forced to spend $7 billion more for electricity than neighboring regions with access to low-cost natural gas. As the report itself acknowledges, additional natural gas supplies will provide a net savings and rate reduction to consumers.

There were environmental consequences as well. Having spent more than a decade building natural gas electric generators to replace coal and oil facilities and reduce carbon emissions, the state has been forced to burn coal and oil in recent winters due to inadequate natural gas supplies. Given the severe constraints on pipeline capacity, this pattern will likely repeat itself this winter and in the future.

The study actually supports the continued use of oil, combined with expensive imported liquefied natural gas, to manage natural gas shortages. This approach will not only deny relief to Massachusetts residents, businesses and industries burdened by sky-high energy costs, but also contribute to higher carbon emissions and make it more difficult to meet the goals of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

The region must gain access to the abundant, low-cost domestic natural gas available nearby to lower electricity prices, lock in environmental gains by supporting renewable generation, and maintain and grow its economy. The closing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station makes it more important than ever to take steps to bring additional natural gas to Massachusetts and New England.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), a Kinder Morgan company, proposed the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project to add up to 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas capacity a day to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and the region – a $3.3 billion investment that would be funded entirely by the company.

As previously announced, TGP plans to file its FERC 7 (c) certificate application seeking approval for NED from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday, Nov. 20.

The company has already signed long-term natural gas transportation contracts with local gas distributors (LDC) and others representing approximately half of NED’s capacity, a clear sign of the need for more natural gas in the region, and is offering gas capacity to electric distribution companies as well.

These LDC contracts have been approved by both the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, and both have affirmed the benefits of bringing more natural gas to the region.

We look forward to continuing the discussion on how NED can help relieve the state’s and New England’s critical shortage of natural gas.

Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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