KM attempts to flout rules for CT Expansion
Please help by taking actions below before Sept. 4
On July 31st, the Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline company asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to “expedite” several segments for its planned pipeline expansions in the Northeast. It is requesting these segments to be exempted from “pre-filing” with FERC, hence exempted from filing an environmental impact statement.
Segmentation is a long-standing approach of gas and oil companies to avoid environmental oversight. According to Doug Hayes, a lawyer for the Sierra Club, the “oil industry has gone to great lengths to break projects into thousands of smaller pieces to avoid a true analysis of pipelines’ environmental impacts.”
If successful, this maneuver will set a dangerous precedent for the rest of Kinder Morgan’s expansion plans for Massachusetts, including the Northeast Richmond to Dracut line.
The Docket #CP14-529, filed on July 31st, is for approval for a total of 13 miles. The segments are non-contiguous: 1.4 miles in Albany County NY, 3.8 miles in Berkshire County MA, and 8.1 miles in Connecticut. (link to map)
The Massachusetts section is in Sandisfield, along the proposed southern Berkshire fork. It cuts through ecologically sensitive and pristine Otis State Forest land.
Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas and other pipeline companies have a history of using segmentation as a way of avoiding environmental oversight in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and elsewhere. Often this technique has been approved by FERC.
However, just this June, in a landmark decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et. al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company), segmentation was deemed illegal.
The case was brought by the Delaware Riverkeeper, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition and the New Jersey Sierra Club. The three judges unanimously found “FERC impermissibly segmented the environmental review in violation of NEPA. We also found that FERC’s EA [environmental assessment] is deficient in its failure to include any meaningful analysis of the cumulative impact of upgrade projects.”
At the time of the Court of Appeals decision the Sierra Club lawyer, Doug Hayes, said a “linear pipeline can only be segmented into smaller components if the individual parts would have independent utility.”
The 13 miles of segments in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut must be viewed by FERC as an integral part of the entire Kinder Morgan Northeast pipeline expansion program ,which under the rules of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) would mandate a thorough environmental impact statement. Anything less ignores NEPA, the DC District Court Decision, and vital environmental protection for the Berkshires.
If FERC permits this segment it could set a precedent for segmenting the rest of the 180 miles of new pipelines planned for MA. It also opens the door for multiple add-ons such as compressor stations, more pipeline loops, and “pigging stations.”
Under the banner energy independence, FERC is under great pressure to accede to this application. It is imperative that citizens, town governments, legislators and the Attorney General and Governor of Massachusetts formally request FERC to reject the segmented permit approach. FERC clearly needs to evaluate the impact of the entire project, with the benefit of a comprehensive NEPA review.
Comments to FERC on this proposal must be submitted by September 4 to be considered. These segments of pipeline expansion should be referenced as Docket #CP14-529. Though it includes the Sandisfield MA segment, this proposal is called the “Connecticut Expansion Project.”
In our meeting with the Gov. and Sec. of EEA, they mentioned that they can file as intervenors on pipeline issues, so don’t be shy about taking them up on the offer -
Remember the deadline for them to register is September 4! They've been cooperative in delaying the tariff and re-framing and re-conducting the study of the low demand scenario and our energy needs, so don't forget to thank them for that — they're working with us as allies for now!
Ask them to file and act as intervenors in the CT Expansion application!
Docket No. CP14-529
Gov. Deval Patrick — 617-725-4005
Sec. of Energy & Environmental Affairs, Maeve Vallely Bartlett — 617-626-1000
(She's already denied Kinder Morgan's requestion to skip the state environmental review. Ask her to insist that FERC do the same.)
And, since watching out for us is the Atty. General's job, call Martha Coakley, too!
Atty. General Martha Coakley (617) 727-2200
If you want to submit a comment or think you might have standing to register as an intervenor yourself, see BEAT's instructions on how to do so. You'll be glad you did!!
A call has more impact than you know
Do a little every day.
» Visit the page
— Ask Governor Deval Patrick to publicly oppose the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline proposal by Kinder Morgan, to deny them access to state land for survey, and to keep the currently stalled tariff to pay for pipelines off the table.
Senators Warren and Markey, Congressional Rep. McGovern, and Atty. General Martha Coakley have all come out with clear statements of opposition to the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, as well as nearly a dozen State Legislators. The Governor's stance remains ... "skeptical". Let him know that it's time to join his colleagues in making a clear statement against this pipeline proposal. Remind him that 30 communities have resolutions against it and over 12,200 people have signed the petition to ban it so far. Just also remember to thank him for agreeing to the new study of energy needs that we called for (and the scope of which is actively being defined by the Dept. of Energy Resources right now), and for stalling the tariff - something we'd like to see permanently OFF the table.
Governor's Office — 617-725-4005.
— Ask your state legislators to:
1. Hold a hearing on New England States Committee On Electricity’s (NESCOE) mode of operations and the lack of public accountability.
Call for an investigation of NESCOE – A Conservation Law Foundation briefing paper (http://www.clf.org/blog/clean-energy-climate-change/governors-infrastructure-plan/) shows that NESCOE operates pretty much behind closed doors with undue influence by the gas and utility companies.
2. Require that the new study of the ‘Low Demand Scenario” (how we can meet our energy needs with efficiency, demand response, renewables), is conducted in a way that’s open to public participation.
Responding to the pressure we’ve put on the issue, the Governor committed to a new study of the Low Demand Scenario and has tasked the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Affairs with following through. In an EEA meeting with over a dozen environmental, anti-pipeline and land conservation groups, Undersecretary of Energy Mark Sylvia stated that they want the process to be transparent and open to input from the public. Let’s make sure it happens that way! Ask your Legislators (and key committee members – see below) to stay in contact with the Governor and the EEA to ensure that public participation is part of the picture.
3. Pledge to oppose the release of Article 97 land from its protection.
To release protected land from that state protection requires a 2/3 majority of both houses of state government. Usually the request comes from the Senator and Representative from where the land is located. Please ask your Senator and Representative to pledge to oppose the release of any Article 97 land for building this pipeline, and to ask other Legislators not along the pipeline route to back them up.
See Legislature contact links below.
Other important actions:
— Contact legislators NOT along the pipeline route
Many of the legislators along the route are already with us, but we need as many OTHER legislators as possible to be informed of the issues and persuaded that this project would be disastrous for the state’s economy and energy portfolio. Please reach out to friends and relatives out east and in other parts of the state so that those Legislators are hearing from their own constituents. If you don’t have connections in those districts, contact those Legislators anyway! If you’re looking Legislators for a particular town, you can type it in here under “Find a Legislator” and this page pulls up their contact info – great for targeted regional action.
» All State Senators
» All State Representatives
Here are links to the major committees who would have sway over these issues. These would be key people to contact first, but definitely feel free to contact more:
» Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
» Joint Committee on Ways and Means
» Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
— Consider spending some time at the State House.
We have a representative interested in helping citizens learn to visit and talk about the pipeline with Legislators in person. Email for information.
Democratic and Republican primaries on Sept. 9
In preparation for the September 9th Democratic and Republican Primaries, MassPLAN has gathered answers to a standard questionnaire sent to all Gubernatorial and Atty. General Candidates. Read the responses they received here.
GRAB SOME FACE TIME
Candidates are holding events all over the place - opportunity for face time! Go to their events & appearances, talk with them about the pipeline.
Keep in mind that there are many more offices open and candidates from many parties - state-wide and local. Find out where they stand before going to the polls, and if they don't seem to understand the pipeline issue - educate them!
Landowner stories now available on
No Fracked Gas in Mass
Come see the videos made so far by Hattie & Paki, the Climate Summer Teams that visited the pipeline-affected communities this summer, Jonathan Mark (and GCTV), and event videos by Stephen Wicks. We now have a Personal Stories page, where the voices of the people can be heard.
More to come!
Contact these videographers below to share your story, too.
Share Your Story
As part of his ongoing video documentary project about the growing grassroots movement against the pipeline, Steve is interested in meeting people who would be open to sharing their story - on camera - about the impact this proposed project has had or would have on their lives. If you are interested, please send an email, with a narrative or outline highlighting the key aspects of your story.
Visit Stephen's blog "From the Ground Up" to see his work on the project so far.
Paki and Hattie
Paki Wieland of Northampton Community TV ( NCTV) and Hattie Nestel are shooting interviews with landowners along the proposed pipeline route for airing as short You Tube segments and a longer cable TV broadcast. They are centrally located and will travel to your location.
If you are a landowner or know a landowner who would like to be filmed and interviewed on site for this project, please contact Hattie by email or 978-790-3074.
WEDNESDAY — SEPTEMBER 3 — DUNSTABLE
— Selectman's Meeting with Kinder Morgan
Upstairs Meeting Room
Dunstable Town Hall
511 Main St.
THURSDAY — SEPTEMBER 4 — GROTON
THURSDAY — SEPTEMBER 11 — BOLTON, MA
— STOP THE PIPELINE/BOLTON HOSTS INFORMATIONAL MEETING. STOP The Pipeline/Bolton will host an informational meeting on Thursday, September 11 from 7:00 -9:00 pm at Davis Hall to provide resources, strategies and support to land owners and abutters of the proposed Tennessee Gas/Kinder Morgan North Worcester Lateral pipeline. Concerned citizens from Bolton and beyond are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn how the pipeline expansion will affect you, our town and our Commonwealth. Bring your questions and concerns.
STOP the Pipeline/Bolton is honored to have Rosemary Wessel and Katy Eiseman, founders of No Fracked Gas In Mass, as our presenters for the evening. Katy is currently the Director & Legal Liaison of Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network (MassPLAN).
For more information about the group, join our YahooGroup, stopthepipeline_bolton or contact BoltonGasPipeline@comcast.net Find more information about the Pipeline at MassPLAN.org and NoFrackedGasInMass.org including Bolton's page in the "Town by Town" section, and at www.townofbolton.com.
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Davis Hall, First Parish of Bolton
673 Main Street
WEDNESDAY — SEPTEMBER 17 — LENOX
— Pipeline Panel Discussion - Presentations from several sides of the pipeline discussion, including representatives from Kinder Morgan, Berkshire Gas, Berkshire Environmental Action Team and more. To be followed by a panel discusssion.
More details TBA.
THURSDAY — SEPTEMBER 18 — PITTSFIELD
— Berkshire Regional Planning Commission meeting with Kinder Morgan and Conservation Law Foundation. BRPC will be hosting both Kinder Morgan representatives and a representative from the Conservation Law Foundation at a Commission meeting. This will be a public meeting and the public is welcome to attend and listen but this will not be a public hearing, rather an opportunity for the Commission members to become more informed regarding Kinder Morgan’s plans and be better educated regarding both the need for the pipeline and the federal permitting process which such a project entails.
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Berkshire Community College
SATURDAY — SEPTEMBER 20 — HOLLIS, NH
SATURDAY — OCTOBER 18 — STATEWIDE!!!
— Hollis Special Town Meeting/Vote - Fourteen articles to be voted on regarding the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.
» Full Text Here
Hollis/Brookline High School
— Statewide Yard Sale to Support the Pipeline Movement!
Sales already being planned in:
Stay tuned for more details.
Want to hold a sale in your town? Email Emily!
MORE EVENTS ON TAP! Visit the Events Page to catch them all.
CONTRIBUTIONS MEAN MORE THAN EVER
As the movement toward FERC pre-filing picks up (or in the case of Sandisfield, FERC filing cropping up prematurely), the need for funds for our work is growing. Operational and likely legal assistance expenses are starting to crop up, and any donation, large or small, will be going to help us help you and your neighbors across the state, and even some in NY state and NH, as we share advice and strategies with people along the pipeline route there.
Visit our Donate page today!
We are proud to have Berkshire Environmental Action Team and New England Grassroots Environmental Fund as our fiscal sponsors to help accept tax-deductible donations (501(c)3).
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