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"Where" is Not the Issue
In the last week, there have been dozens of news stories about Kinder Morgan’s shift of “preferred” pipeline route. These include two segments that were first proposed as possible alternatives in their Resource Report filed with FERC in early November.
The new western segment would skip over Columbia County, NY and Richmond’s existing pipeline corridor, swinging north to enter Massachusetts at Hancock, crossing through Cheshire on its way back to the original route by Windsor.
After continuing to follow the same route already proposed for the Hilltowns and Pioneer Valley region, the new eastern segment would have the pipeline swing north at Northfield into southern New Hampshire, entering at Winchester and crossing a couple dozen small towns just north of the state border before dropping back down to the gas pipeline hub at Dracut.
These reports have created a lot of concern and have certainly stirred areas not previously affected into action. Some have mentioned that the pipeline route seems to have swayed away from “wealthy” areas. Having worked with people in all of these communities for the better part of this year, I’m certain that wealth has little to do with it — profuse and consistent public opposition does.
What’s motivating Kinder Morgan to drop their previous route and change course is vocal opposition on all levels. Actions that have put this pressure on are:
— Personal actions:
• Denying Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas permission to survey on private land
• Contacting the Governor, state Legislators, the state Attorney General to speak out against the plan to add more pipelines to New England, to ask them to keep pipeline companies off state-owned land and lands under Article 97 Protection for survey AND for construction
• Contacting federal-level officials such as Senators, Congressional Representatives and FERC to demand that questions be answered, full impact studies be done
• Calling out the press to alert them of the impacts and lack of need for more pipelines
• Calling out the press when biased or inaccurate reports on the project are published
• Participating in direct action like the Rolling March to the State House, the rally on Boston Common, the “Not In Anyone’s Back Yard Sale” fundraiser, the November Nature Walks
• A “state-wide” petition to ban new pipelines and promote efficiency and clean energy, directly at Massachusetts leaders and signed by nearly 13,000 people so far from Massachusetts and other affected states
• A similar “state-wide” petition aimed at New York state leaders to do the same
— Community action:
• Passing local resolutions to ban the pipeline
• When the company comes to town, video tape their presentation! Having what was said on record can be an invaluable tool. If there’s no local community access station to help, someone with a camera or even smart-phone will do
• Getting towns to deny permission for Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas to survey on town-owned propertyhttp://www.massplan.org/local-business-form/
• Getting local governmental boards to speak out to state officials, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and to the press
• Businesses and local agriculture speaking out about the impacts to their bottom line
These actions have pestered them into canceling their Open Houses along the first preferred route, backtracking and changing their plans.
Let's keep up the pressure and
get more people than ever to take action!
Another concern is that these are final plans.
The current set of new preferred routes is no more a done deal than the first one was. Though they do have their foot in the door at FERC now, the pipeline company will still have to go back and start a new analysis of these new route segments - new negotiations with new sets of landowners and town officials for permission to survey - to which just as many or more could say no. And rest assured that this new preferred route for which they’re planning to file a new Resource Report in early December could easily change AGAIN before the process is through.
All alternate routes filed by TGP compiled into one map
There may be other alternates previously suggested that they’ll adopt as more obstacles arise. This is still the Pre-Filing period, with formal filing not likely to happen until late summer / early fall of 2015. Even after the initial filing, there can be route changes.
This is not a done deal - especially if we ALL continue to speak up across the entire region.
As we have been saying all along, this pipeline and it’s gas are not the cheap, clean, reliable energy solution it’s made out to be and that it’s not needed —
no matter where the line on the map falls.
No amount of backtracking and path shifting by Kinder Morgan takes away from the fact that this pipeline proposal is grossly oversized and not necessary. We’re in this for the long haul and look forward to aiding newly affected communities, as well as those affected by other pipeline expansions, and connecting them with those who have been in the fight for the better part of this year.
Always check our Act Now page for new ideas on what to do. If your community is just joining the fight, visit the Getting Started page for specific first-step actions you should take. Folks in New Hampshire should also check out the NH Pipeline Awareness Network site.
Not as simple as it sounds
One of the reasons most cited by Kinder Morgan for the southern New Hampshire route is that it the pipeline would be co-located with existing utility rights of way for high tension power lines. This definitely sounds less impactful, but it's not that clear cut a case.
Because of high electro-magnetic fields generated by power lines, locating metal pipeline, packed to pressure of 1,460 psi (extremely high) within that space can boost the likelihood of explosions. There is also a problem with the "cathodic protection" charge that runs along a pipeline responding to the strong EM field. Studies have shown that the two fields interacting increases corrosion.
For that reason, these "co-located" pipeline rights of way are actually slated to be parallel to the existing utility corridors, not contained within them. Private properties and public lands along these corridors will still be facing new, widened easements to allow for the pipeline to be in a somewhat less hazardous location in relation to the power lines. This has been and still is the case for the Hilltowns area of the pipeline route in Massachusetts. Recent survey flagging showed the intended pipeline location 50 ft. away from the edge of the existing powerline clearing and the other side of pipeline easement yet another 50 ft. into private properties - taking a new 100 ft. corridor of land alongside the existing route. As Kinder Morgan touts it's "less impactful" utility co-location route, landowners, communities and elected officials will need to demand concrete definitions of what this means.
» See the Maine Governor's Office of Energy Independence report on utility co-location
Kinder Morgan, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce organize meeting on pipeline for businesses:
Media barred from meeting
By RICHIE DAVIS,Greenfield Recorder
Monday, November 24, 2014
A statewide industrial group, together with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, has scheduled a Dec. 2 “business community energy briefing” to discuss Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed pipeline.
The meeting, which is open by invitation only to the chamber’s board members and to large energy users, is closed to the media. The morning event at Greenfield Community College’s Downtown Campus will include presentations by TGP parent Kinder Morgan, Berkshire Gas Co., Columbia Gas, the Northeast Gas Association and ISO-New England, the region’s electric grid operator, as well as event co-sponsor Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
Controlling the pipeline message
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Scheduling a briefing for the county’s business community as an invitation-only event falls far short of our definition of inclusive — or smart.
That was the plan, however, concocted by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce — to bring in Kinder Morgan, Berkshire Gas and other energy-related concerns to talk to chamber board members and area big energy users about gas capacity, future concerns and the proposed Tennessee Gas pipeline.
Oh, and by the way, the media wasn’t informed, and isn’t invited, to the Tuesday meeting, either.
Read more ....
TUESDAY — DECEMBER 2, 2014 — GREENFIELD
— Standout to protest the pipeline and closed door meetings during private FCCC meeting with Kinder-Morgan, Berkshire Gas, Columbia Gas, Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), ISO New England, and the Northeast Gas Association and local, invited businesses. Additional representatives from WMECO and National Grid will also be in attendance.
For more information, contact d.o.
8:30 – 10:30 am (stand-out to start earlier?)
GCC Downtown campus
270 Main Street
ON THE OTHER HAND
N. Quabbin Chamber of Commerce refuses pipeline co. membership
By RICHIE DAVIS, Greenfield Recorder
Monday, November 24, 2014
ORANGE — When is a business’s interests not necessarily in the interest of a business group?
The North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce had pause over that question when it considered whether to accept Tennessee Gas Pipeline parent company Kinder Morgan for membership.
The chamber’s 12-member board of directors rejected the Houston-based corporation’s request a couple of months ago, deciding in effect that its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project would work against the nine-town region’s effort to promote tourism, according to Executive Director Mark Wright.
“Generally, it’s kind of perfunctory,” he said. “It just happens. After all, why wouldn’t it, because the chamber would be turning away membership.”
But after considering Kinder Morgan’s application, the board decided that “by placing a pipeline through the region, it would jeopardize a large aspect of what the chamber does, which is to promote tourism,”
Read more ...
Are you a business owner?
Join the pipeline opposition!
Join us in taking a stand against the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline that threatens our communities, natural resources, treasured landscapes, and economy. Please fill out the online form to have your business listed as part of the opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan TGP Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project. We will list your business at MassPLAN.org and elsewhere in our campaign.
Keeping an Eye on the ISO
One of the decision making bodies involved in this issue is ISO New England (Independent System Operator). Aptly described as "the air traffic controllers of the power grid" by the folks at BEAT, this non-profit organization makes decisions about New England's energy supply in ways that are not often watched by the general public. As cries of pipeline capacity constraints leading to higher electric prices are raised across the region, folks have started to turn a closer eye to their modes of operation.
One alarming document from ISO-NewEngland was last year's Winter Reliability Program 2013-2014. ISO-NE offered incentives to oil burning electric generation plants to hold fuel aside for the few peak demand days, when the need to generate was especially high. But they refused to do the same for natural gas powered plants, leaving them with no reserves for peak demand hours when electric and heating demands were both high. On page 7, paragraph 3 of this report, they stated the following:
"a solution that provided incentives to natural gas suppliers or generators to ensure incremental gas supply would affect wholesale electricity prices … For example, if an ISO solution reduced the opportunity costs priced into the gas market during a time of high gas demand, this would lower gas prices and send the wrong signal about the relative scarcity of natural gas. These lower prices would also be reflected in the electricity market."
Though that practice was removed for this upcoming winter, we are facing unprecedented electric utility price spikes of dubious origin. Another contributing factor was recently brought up by NESCOE in it's comments on ISO New England's practice on not including energy efficiency Performance Incentives, Distributed Generation (rooftop solar, small scale wind, etc) already in use, and utility scale clean energy projects coming on line in the next few years in its capacity forecasts, creating the illusion of a shortfall in energy generation capacity.
» Read NESCOE's statement
One opportunity for the public to observe the process is their Consumer Liaison Group Meeting. We encourage people attend this meeting to observe and hopefully take part in the discussion, or at least let your voice be heard outside.
Putting the "I" in ISO
THURSDAY — DECEMBER 4, 2014 — BOSTON
— ISO New England – Consumer Liaison Group Meeting. Stakeholder forum between ISO New England and regional consumer organizations and advocates to exchange information about the economic impacts of New England’s bulk power system and wholesale electricity markets.
12:00PM – 4:00PM
The Colonnade Hotel, Boston, MA
Teleconference Info: 1-866-692-3582 / Passcode: 3283642
— Rally at ISO New England. ISO New England, the entity responsible for keeping the lights on in New England, is not doing its job. By leaving renewables out of their equation for our future energy needs, they caused rate hikes this winter which are costing us millions of dollars, and they are propping up the false perception that we need new gas pipelines. Gather with other activists from across New England to send ISO the message that we already have too much gas, we need more solar and wind now, and they need to rise to the challenge of building our energy future, not destroying it!
WHAT: Protest at New England ISO Meeting
WHEN: Thu, December 4, 11am – 12pm
WHERE: The Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave, Boston
Visit our Upcoming Events Page for the latest
Help us keep going and to broaden our outreach as we help organizers in far eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and hopefully soon in New Hampshire and Maine with presentations and strategies, while still supporting the communities we've been helping all year. Every donation, large or small, helps us forge ahead. Valley Gives' online day of giving helps boost your donation with special prizes and matching grants offered by the Community Foundation of Western Mass. If you'd rather give earlier, you can also visit our Donation Page.
If you'd like to make donations earmarked specifically for legal services, please contact Katy at MassPLAN. A legal fund being kept in escrow to be used in fighting the pipeline battle.
We are proud to have Berkshire Environmental Action Team, New England Grassroots Environmental Fund and the New World Foundation as our fiscal sponsors to help accept tax-deductible donations (501(c)3).
Hattie Nestel needs more stations and interviewees (including state rep, local officials, business people). Doesn’t cost a penny, just need to sign as sponsor for your local cable station. Contact Hattie to arrange an interview OR to sign up as a sponsor to show these programs on your local cable station.
Stop the Pipeline - Personal Stories
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