January 3, 2017
Massachusetts settles with Kinder Morgan to purchase CT Expansion pipeline right of way
On December 29, 2016 the Massachusetts Attorney General's office announced that, on behalf of the Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), they reached a settlement with Kinder Morgan for the pipeline Right of Way through Otis State Forest in Sandisfield.

Though several press sources (i.e. Berkshire Eagle, WWLP) are reporting the CT Expansion compensation package at $1.2 million, that number is somewhat inflated. Aside from the actual $640,000 to be paid to the state, it includes the maximum amount that Kinder Morgan would legally be required to pay for compliance with state’s environmental protection requirements including hiring and environmental monitor and other costs not related to compensation for the land.

The breakdown of the actual $640,000 agreement is:
(1) about $40k that represents the newly agreed-to value of the temporary and permanent easements;
(2) $300k that was agreed to by Secretary Beaton over one-and-a-half years ago as payment into a conservation fund (instead of strictly following the EEA's "no-net-loss" Article 97 land disposition policy);
(3) another nearly $240k also agreed to by Beaton at the time, to cover the anticipated adverse impacts from construction; and
(4) an additional $60k, apparently primarily to address the destruction that will occur at the Spectacle Pond boat launch when KM clears the spot to make a staging area for its hydrostatic testing operation (pumping over a million gallons of water from the pond to check the pipe for leaks).

This settlement does not affect the current appeals to the 401 Massachusetts Water Quality Certificate that are pending in state and federal court. Hearings for these appeals are coming up later in January, and one at the Berkshire Superior Court in February. » Read more about these appeals at plan-ne.org

Keep up with our Act Now page on ways to take action, from contacting the Governor and Attorney General (< click these links for some ideas) to helping steer Connecticut State policy away from creating the "need" for the pipeline.

If you're able, consider attending the Attorney General's Post-Election Town Hall Meeting in Springfield on January 18, 2017 so you can voice concerns in person.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE FIGHT! See ways we're taking action below.

No Fracked Gas in Mass and our parent group, Berkshire Environmental Action Team are currently working with Pipeline Awareness Network for the Northeast on the legal battle. We’re have formal appeals of the Massachusetts 401 Water Quality Certificate in the state and federal courts right now. This is really the last legal challenge standing in the way of work being done on the pipeline. We’re raising funds for legal fees as hard as we can to keep us in the fight.
» More info at plan-ne.org
— There’s a fundraiser Contradance happening on Jan 14, in West Cummington

No Fracked Gas in Mass is also helping groups in Connecticut fight that section of the project. The ONLY customer for this pipeline is the state of CT’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) program, offering incentives for people to switch their home heating to natural gas. Not only did the drop in fuel costs stop people from converting, but some people also realized that natural gas is an environmentally harmful way to go. Long story short - the market for this pipeline never materialized and now the CES is up for renewal. We’re pushing for people to call on the CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to NOT include natural gas in the new version.
» Here’s more information on that.

There’s also a local group that’s been fighting this project along side us for nearly 3 years. They’re the most local way to keep up with what’s going on directly in Sandisfield
» Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline (S.TO.P.)

Both No Fracked Gas in Mass and our parent organization, Berkshire Environmental Action Team and many other organizations are working with Delaware Riverkeeper on their Constitutional Challenge to reform FERC - a long term approach that could help prevent more fights like this in the future.
» More info

Hilltown activists plan fun fundraiser for PLAN-NE's legal battle over CT Expansion

To help raise funds for the fight, Hilltown activists have organized a fun fundraiser, featuring local musicians, caller Sadie Stull and catering from renowned local caterers Alice's Kitchen for January 14 at the West Cummington Church Parish House, 27 West Main St., West Cummigton. Even if you can't attend, you can donate online.


Solarize Mass shines light on opportunities in Cummington, Goshen, Windsor, Worthington
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle
December 28, 2016
Property owners in Windsor, Worthington, Goshen and Cummington have until March 31 to get a free site assessment to determine if solar generated electricity is viable. If so, April 30 is the deadline to sign a contract with Massachusetts-based SunBug, the installer the consortium selected nearly two months ago.

Since late November, five property owners in the four towns have agreed to SunBug installing solar arrays totaling 40 kilowatts, putting the collaborative project at Tier 3. Under Solarize Mass, Tier 5 is the highest level to achieve the lowest possible group cost.

Engage your local officials in state energy policy!

Mass Power Forward is asking that local official(s) to sign a letter to the Honorable Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the House and the Honorable Stanley Rosenberg, Senate President that asks the legislature to do the following:

“We write to you as municipal leaders from communities across the Commonwealth, who, through energy efficiency upgrades, clean energy projects, and the adoption of effective policies and programs, are leading the charge against the deleterious effects wrought by climate change. We commend the Legislature’s rejection last session of the utility-proposed “pipeline tax” and urge you to stand united against efforts to undermine the August ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), as well as local and state climate gains achieved to date.

Toward that end and on behalf of our shared constituents, our communities, and our state’s future, we ask you to SUPPORT legislation that will:
     •     Prohibit the harmful and unnecessary “pipeline tax.”
     •     Prevent any other scheme to force consumers to accept unnecessary pipelines that we cannot afford and that would prevent us from complying with the law.
     •     Prioritize greater investment in energy efficiency/demand response, renewable resources, and energy storage  …”

… and so on.

» HERE IS THE LINK to the letter.
It must be filled out by the actual official him/herself:

The goal for this campaign is to deliver at least 25 letters statewide to the legislature in February.  The DEADLINE for this effort is JANUARY 20, 2017.

Interested in getting your local officials to send this letter?
Email Claire of Mass Power Forward for more info.

Mass Power Forward Lobby Day:
Clean Energy for All!

Hundreds of members of the Mass Power Forward coalition are descending on Beacon Hill to demand that our legislators do everything they can to promote a clean energy future! The stakes have never been higher. With climate deniers running the show in Washington, DC, we NEED Massachusetts to step up and lead. On January 25, we'll meet with our representatives and senators to make the case for clean energy. We'll push for at least 50% clean power by 2040, expanded investments in solar (especially community and low-income solar), and further action on gas leaks. And we'll call on our legislators to say no once and for all to pipelines and nuclear power. Join us! Please register with » this Google Form so that we can help you arrange meetings with your rep or senator 10 AM - 2:30 PM Massachusetts State House (exact location within State House TBD!) 24 Beacon St. Boston, MA

Massachusetts issues draft of clean air regs; hearings scheduled
By Michael P. Norton, State House News Service, Reprinted in Worcester Telegraph December 16, 2016

BOSTON – With Gov. Charlie Baker describing climate change as a “serious threat,” the state’s clean air agency unveiled draft regulations Friday aimed at securing greenhouse gas emission reductions from the natural gas, transportation and electricity generation industries.

The regulations, which will be vetted during a series of public hearings scheduled for February, were assembled after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in May that the state must seek emissions reductions across economic sectors to meet the requirements of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

That 2008 law requires the state to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 25 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2020. As of 2013, the state had reduced emissions by 19.7 percent from 1990s levels, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. The package of new regulations aims to achieve an additional 7.2 percent reduction by 2020.

The law requires a reduction of at least 80 percent by 2050. The Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling vacated a Superior Court ruling and concluded that DEP regulations do not fulfill the specific requirements of the GWSA.

The high court ruling required the department to promulgate rules “that address multiple sources of categories of sources of greenhouse gas emissions, impose a limit on emissions that may be released, limit the aggregate emissions released from each group of regulated sources or categories of sources, set emission limits for each year, and set limits that decline on an annual basis.”

The regulations also stem from an “integrated climate change strategy” executive order Gov. Charlie Baker issued in September. That order directed the DEP to propose draft regulations by Friday and to finalize the regulations by Aug. 11, 2017.

February 24, 2017, is the deadline for public comment


Liberty Utilities plans new natural gas plant in Keene
By Meghan Foley, Keene Sentinel
January 2, 2017

Liberty Utilities is moving forward with plans to build a natural gas plant in Keene to replace its decades-old propane-air distribution system in the city.

The company intends to locate the compressed and liquefied natural gas facility on property it owns on Production Avenue, spokesman John Shore said in an email.
It will be filing for local and environmental permits for the project soon, he said.

The move could allow Liberty Utilities to upgrade its service in the city, and expand to deliver natural gas to communities beyond Keene. It would also change a system that’s malfunctioned twice in the past year, most notably in December 2015 when it caused a large, city-wide emergency that brought in crews from dozens of other towns.

The company’s system is fed by a facility on Emerald Street, which branches out to places including the Monadnock Marketplace. Liberty has already built a connector under Route 9 between Production Avenue and the marketplace across the way. It would house a gas main so the new natural gas plant could be hooked into the existing system, Shore said.
Having that work done now will allow Liberty Utilities to meet its target of converting the first group of customers to the new plant by the beginning of the next heating season, he said.

In addition, Liberty has filed an application with the city for a temporary compressed natural gas plant behind Price Chopper at the Monadnock Marketplace. It’s unclear if and how that proposal would play into the project for the natural gas plant on nearby Production Avenue.

» Read the full article

Sununu Says He Will Push For The Right Energy Projects
By Josh Rogers, NHPR
Dec 8, 2016

Speaking at a Business and Industry Association energy symposium, Chris Sununu said New England needs more natural gas and anyone who disagrees is wrong. He said the pipeline proposed for NH and scuttled by the Kinder Morgan company earlier this year would have been wrong for the state. But Sununu added he hopes Kinder Morgan and other companies will look to build here in the future, and said if the project is designed with local input, and he’s persuaded it works for New Hampshire, he’ll fight for it.

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We're fighting the CT Expansion pipeline and AIM, Access Northeast and others, keeping an eye out for possible resurrection of NED or another new projects. We're also working with PLAN-NE, Mass Power Forward and other organizations to help ensure bold steps away from fossil fuel dependency continue and grow!

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