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Not Needed, Regardless of Route
KM's new preferred route not so radically different
Recently, Kinder Morgan announced its new preferred route which now follows two alternates that were published at the beginning of this month: The New York power line alternative and the New Hampshire power line alternative.
As stated in our blog posts and newsletters over the last few weeks, this is another proposed, preferred route, even less of a done deal than the original route, because they're starting over with a new resource report to FERC and without any of the newly affected porperties having been surveyed. If you think your property may be affected by the new route (or even if it's not), you can print out, fill out and send the Deny Permission to Survey Letter by registered mail. Make sure to also send a copy to FERC to have it on the pipeline project's official record.
Our opposition to pipeline expansion isn’t a matter of where a pipeline goes, it’s that new fossil fuel infrastructure isn’t needed. Building it will commit our region to decades of increased dependency on fossil fuels, instead of moving forward toward the clean energy economy.
The pipeline capacity constraints given as the reason for the need for more pipelines is a phenomenon that only happens a few hours on just a few days a year. There are many other options for meeting this need that do not involve disruptive, permanent infrastructure that further ties us to a fossil fuel economy. Solutions like the state-mandated expansions in solar and wind capacity, using increased efficiency to lower demand, and even bringing in LNG through already established means of distribution during peak demand can solve those brief, infrequent spikes in demand without committing our region to billions of dollars of infrastructure and destruction of property.
With the proposed overbuild of capacity, the majority is most likely slated for export, especially since all 5 pipeline projects being proposed for New England are planned to connect to the M&NE pipeline and other export-terminal based projects. Competing with overseas markets paying 2-5 times as much will drive up our energy costs here. And increasing our dependence on gas, which already makes up over 60% of our electric generation, will only make us more susceptible to market price swings, and leave us stranded as gas drilling production starts to drop in the next few years.
No shift of pipeline path makes any of this any less true.
UTILITY CORRIDORS HAVE IMPACT
The idea that utility corridors are a less impactful location for pipelines is a mis-characterization. Large, high-pressure gas transmission lines cannot be built directly within an existing power line easement. The electromagnetic fields from these power lines cause induction along the pipeline, interrupting it’s cathodic protection system, increasing the likelihood of corrosion and electrically charge explosions in case of gas leaks.
Pipelines need to be built alongside existing utility corridors, requiring an extra 100 ft. easement along the route. This is shown by survey flagging done recently in Plainfield, where the pipeline has been slated to follow WMECO’s power lines since the initial pipeline proposal. The flags on the ground there clearly show a center line 50 ft. into private property from the edge of the existing power line corridor and the other side of the pipeline’s construction easement another 50 ft. in.
This has been the reality for towns like Dalton, Windsor, Plainfield, Ashfield, Conway, Deerfield and others that have faced this intrusion into their properties and communities since the beginning, and continue now even with what Kinder Morgan refers to as an “improved” path.
ISO AND ELECTRIC RATE HIKES
The recent energy price hikes are much more a result of ISO New England’s policies of last winter. They opted to not provide fuel incentives that would have helped gas powered electric generation plants store fuel for use during these hours of peak demand. In their Winter Reliability Program report for 2013-2014, they state that such programs would lower gas and electric prices and “send the wrong signal about the relative scarcity of natural gas.” (See ISO report - see page 7, paragraph 3) This and their omission of distributed electric generation from rooftop solar and similar sources already supplying the grid, of utility scale solar and wind slated to come on line in the next few years, and the reduced demand created by efficiency “performance incentives” in forecasting energy supply capacity, have combined to created the illusion of an energy shortage. (See NESCOE report).
WE CONTINUE TO STAND UNITED
Members of the pipeline opposition movement that are no longer directly facing impact on their properties or in their towns are now assisting those newly affected with information and advice. A pipeline that isn’t needed, isn’t needed, regardless of where it’s routed. If you're in a newly affected town, you may want to consider joining the over 40 municipalities that have taken action by passing local resolutions. See our Getting Started page for more ideas for taking action. This pipeline project is still in the first stages of the approval process, there is still much time to push back even more!
For those looking for more detailed information, Kinder Morgan has announced it will file its new Resource Report on Monday December 8, 2014. Please visit www.ferc.gov and search docket number #PF14-22 to get this information as soon as possible. These reports are usually very large and it will take our two-person volunteer staff time to get them downloaded, uploaded and indexed on the No Fracked Gas in Mass site.
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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, which further increases the likelihood of catastrophic explosions when gas leaks and electrical charges mix.
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 - although question remain about how far is far enough.
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
Franklin County Chamber of Commerce closed door meeting opened up by area citizen-activists
When a statewide industrial group, together with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, has scheduled a closed door meeting with gas and electric utility executives and a select list of large industry chamber memebers, it didn't rest well with other small businesses and the public. Protestors later entered the private meeting and, although asked to leave, were not forced to, and managed to read a statement of protest.
» See WWLP-TV's coverage
ISO-New England Consumer Liaison Meeting
Protestors at the Dec. 4th meeting in Boston ended up being invited to meet with officials for a dialog about citizen concerns. Updates to follow after this and other upcoming meetings. Other pipeline opponents participated in the meeting indoors where the roster of speakers consisted of ISO staff and pipeline industry executives. Although clean energy experts were in the audience, they were not on the roster of speakers. PDFs of the presentations made are available here. See what information your utility regulators use as basis for policy decisions.
» Download presentation PDFs
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.
Don't forget to check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if Kinder Morgan has applied for membership. Some Chambers in the area have turned down their application!
Valley Gives Has Begun!
Although Valley Gives Day is officially on Wednesday, December 10th, you can donate any time up through that day. Because of generous matching grant pledges, your contribution through Valley Gives may be doubled, or even tripled! Donations made between 12:01 AM and 11:59 PM on Dec. 10 qualify for extra bonus donations as well.
You don't need to live in the Valley to give through Valley Gives!
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. If you'd rather give directly, you can also visit our Donation Page.
If you'd like to make donations earmarked specifically for legal services, please contact Katy at MassPLAN. or MassPLAN's Valley Gives page. 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.
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