Using FERC's Website
On September 15, Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas Pipeline (KM/TGP) Pre-Filed their (pre) application for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC is the sole permitting agency that can grant KM/TGP the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity - giving them the go-ahead to build and to use eminent domain. But the process is a long one — and we have lots of room for input through FERC's online "docket" process and some further face-to-face meetings.
When a pipeline company files a project application, it is given a Docket number. By using this number, you can search for all the documents filed by anyone that pertain to the project. The Docket number for NED is PF14-22. Once registered on the FERC website, you can also eSubscribe to a docket number and all documents filed will be sent to your email inbox directly, so you can keep tabs on developments as they happen. You can also use the Docket number PF14-22 to file comments on the project.
We emphatically encourage everyone to register with FERC to look up the docket number and eSubscribe to receive all notifications.
See instructions on how to use the FERC website on No Fracked Gas in Mass, under the Act Now tab. If you need further assistance, the staff at FERC can be quite helpful — Toll-free: 1-866-208-3372, email@example.com.
We also have the preliminary pre-filing documents for both the NED and CT Expansion projects available on our site under the About the Pipelines tab, including new, more detailed maps of KM's preferred pipeline route for NED. They've been sorted by county by Rich Cowan and Rose Wessel, for easier searching, but have are otherwise unaltered from the originally filed documents.
Documents "Appendix D" to the application are classified as "privileged" information and subject to Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. An application to obtain this information has been placed and will be on our site with the other documents when it's released.
FERC's comment period officially starts on September 30, but they are accepting comments if you feel the urge to file right away. We suggest looking over the application materials and getting a sense of the details of the project now available. Then go to the FERC website to register your comments. You may do so as many times as you feel is appropriate, so if you think of more pertinent points to be made later, or if you want to file another comment in response to something else you see come through the Docket systems, you are free to do so.
During this preliminary comment period, it's best to focus on telling FERC what kind of studies and evidence you'd like to see KM/TGP have to file - what kind of environmental reviews you'd like to see or comments to show the strength and breadth of the opposition and our general objections - for example, every municipality that has passed a resolution can submit it, and people who have sent letters to newspapers and legislators can also make those part of the FERC record, etc. - complain about export, about methane and global warming, the threat to protected land, fracking, the oversized nature of the pipeline, more fossil fuel infrastructure is the wrong direction, etc. It's not a good time to fill in all of your specific concerns about your property or situation. Those are best saved for the formal Filing period expected to happen next year. See our What Should I Send to FERC page for more information.
This is just the beginning of the FERC process. This is the pre-filing stage, where KM/TGP is putting it's proposal up for consideration. During this time, FERC will be asking for environmental reviews and other evidence that they're planning appropriately for a formal filing in about a year. There will be Open House meetings with Kinder Morgan in several places along the route and separate "Scoping Meetings" with FERC officials.
During the Open Houses, you will have a chance to mingle with and directly ask questions of KM/TGP representatives, so prepare lists of questions well in advance, and hone your knowledge of the project as much as possible to fully understand their responses. Scoping Meetings are conducted by FERC officials and help inform the environmental review process.
It's also a good time to start asking your local, state and federal level elected officials and regulatory agencies to comment and to consider Intervenorship. Strong statements from environmental agencies, planning commissions, local boards of health and select boards will have weight in the FERC process of determining if a project is in the public interest.
Kinder Morgan / TGP will file their formal application most likely in the fall of 2015. Formal filing allows another comment period and also the ability to register as an intervenor - individuals who have a direct stake in the outcome of the pipeline decision. It is a legal status that grants the individual or group the right to call witnesses or file an appeal of any decisions made by FERC. It's widely encouraged that anyone filing as an intervenor have a lawyer.
Again, the formal Filing stage is thought to be about a year from now, so there is time to decide at what level you'd like to participate.
The case against the pipeline
In case of writer's block, you may want a refresher on the reasons why the pipeline is the wrong choice for our region — take your pick. See our quick-fact info sheet and "Burden of Proof", our 30-page research paper on the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, or check our Why the Pipeline's Not Needed page, for a quick overview and definitely add your own!
— Even Forbes Magazine agrees that gas bubbles can be uncomfortable
Could we do with even less?
One of our pipeline-watchers just discovered that ISO New England has been issuing "Minimum Generation Emergency Warnings". These are times when consumers were using so little electricity that the gird operator had to ask power plants to NOT generate electricity. As we understand it, this happens far, far more often than the times ISO-NE comes close to dipping into the buffer of electric generation during the 10-27 peak usage days per year that occur in winter. A quick look at the ISO-NE calendar shows that this "Minimum Generation Emergency Warning" happens about 10-20 a MONTH - about 12 times more often than the supposed "capacity constraint" that led to the request for more pipelines.
While energy demand is a complex and fluctuating measurement, the fact that we're efficient enough to warrant a powerdown warning about 1/2 the days of most months certainly warrants further study and consideration in the pipeline permitting process.
A case of the creeps?
There have been increasing reports of suspect activity in towns along the pipeline route. For a couple of months now, there have been a few areas of survey without notification and work being done around utility corridors that the utility companies won't account for, but now reports are on the rise. Some newer ones have included strangers approaching waterfront properties by boat, others large industrial equipment operated by folks not willing to identify who they're working for or unmarked helicopters hovering or flying repeatedly over the route. More than a few accounts of increased or strange seismic activity have surfaced, even prompting local press to cover the story.
As evidenced by this article it's hard to tell if odd activity is pipeline related or not. But in any case, any strangers trespassing or unusual activity in your area should be reported to local authorities. Checking with local permitting or planning authorities can help fill in some information (or reveal a lack thereof), reporting to the police will get any suspicious activity on record, and notifying your selectboard or city council will help them be aware of activities in town. Remember, without evidence, there is only suspicion, so report what you've actually observed and what you suspect the cause may be as clearly separate pieces of information.
Call on Legislature to back Article 97!
Now that the FERC process has begun, it's crucial that the Legislature stands up for our Protected Lands.
We need a minimum of 14 State Senators and 54 State Reps to promise to protect Article 97 lands from the NED pipeline. To gain access to our public lands, Kinder Morgan needs 2/3 of the Legislature to vote to override the Mass. State Constitution's Article 97 which defends our open spaces and protected lands. We have some who have already vowed to uphold the Constitution, but need more to vote down this request when it comes up. Kinder Morgan's stance on this issue when asked was, "we've never had any problem getting access". Let's make sure this time is a first.
As of September 8th, every Legislator has a copy of our quick-fact info sheet AND "Burden of Proof", our 30-page research paper on the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline. Several dedicated volunteers from went to the State House and delivered them in person to every single office. With Kinder Morgan / Tennessee Gas Pipeline likely to pre-file soon, it's more important than ever to follow up and let them know this is important info and there is lots of opposition!
Please contact your own State Senator and State Representative and choose several others not from your district. (If you're in Berkshire or Hampshire Co. your legislators are on board, so reach out to others!):
— Ask them if they've read those materials
— Ask them where they stand on the pipeline issue
— Tell them to defend Article 97 of the State Constitution
— Ask them to become an Intervenor in the FERC approval process to protect the interests of their constituents
— 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
Hollis, NH joins the growing list of towns with resolutions against the pipeline
In a vote of 419 to 1, Hollis, New Hampshire voted in a resolution against the pipeline. Hollis is located along a proposed lateral line that would cut north into the state. Knowing that this proposed route can change, towns and cities not along the currently propose pipeline route, like Brookline, MA are working on resolutions as well.
See the list of over 30 towns and cities that have passed a resolution, and if yours doesn't have one yet, get one going! The pipeline route is not solid yet. It could change radically as they go through the application process, so get your town's stance in order and stand with others that have said no. Remember to get a digital copy of your town's resolution to send to FERC.
See more news about the pipeline on NED News Archive.
Visit our Upcoming Events Page for the latest
CONTRIBUTIONS MEAN MORE THAN EVER
Now that the FERC process has begun, 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 the No Fracked Gas in Mass Donate page today!
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 the pipeline battle.
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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