On October 31, 2017 FERC granted Tennessee Gas Pipeline's (Kinder Morgan) request to place the Connecticut Expansion in service.
This was just in time to meet TGP's preferred November 1 in-service timeline.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. cleared to start flow through Otis State Forest spur
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
October 31, 2017
SANDISFIELD — Nearly six months after workers began expanding a path through Otis State Forest, natural gas can begin flowing through a newly completed Tennessee Gas Pipeline spur.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday granted the company permission to put portions of the Connecticut Expansion Project in service beginning Wednesday, since the Massachusetts and New York sections are ready to flow gas.
In a filing with FERC on Monday, the company said that, after quality-control checks, these two sections of its 13-mile, tri-state pipeline are safe and mechanically ready to run gas intended for Connecticut customers.
The filing also said the Connecticut section is nearly complete, and it will notify the agency when that happens, and said it is on a tight deadline to make the gas available by Wednesday.
"The project [gas] shippers have expressed a commercial need for the capacity," the filing said.
Starting from the interconnection with the Iroquois Gas Transmission System in Wright, N.Y., the new line will provide 72,100 dekatherms of natural gas per day to points on the company's existing lines in Hartford County in Connecticut.
The pipeline is the company's third in a corridor that runs through about 4 miles here — about 2 miles of which are in a part of Otis State Forest that was purchased by the state.
The state forest had to be expanded to make way for this third line, sparking a court fight last year between Tennessee Gas and the state; the forest is protected under Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution. Typically, a two-thirds majority vote of the state House of Representatives is required to pull land out of Article 97 protection, a court ruled that federal interstate commerce law trumped the state constitution.
That was just one complaint of residents, environmentalists, lawmakers and activists who began a series of mostly peaceful protests that have led to nearly 100 arrests since tree cutting began in early May.
Other areas of concern were the impact on climate and the environment, the effect on stone landscapes that are considered sacred to some Native American tribes, and the claim that the extra gas is no longer needed, because gas demand in Connecticut has changed since FERC approved the project in March — approval that was based on this demonstrated need.
The Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network made one last stand on these points, and more, when Tennessee Gas filed its request to flow gas.
"Important new evidence has just emerged that further undercuts TGP's claims of Project need," wrote Kathryn Eiseman, director of the Network.
Eiseman referred to a recent academic paper about the natural gas and electricity markets that, she says, "indicates the Project's shippers have been systematically withholding capacity on the Algonquin Gas Transmission System, as part of an overall market failure (or potentially improper manipulation) that has reportedly resulted in New England ratepayers being overcharged billions of dollars."
Eiseman said FERC should investigate capacity issues in this and all the region's pipelines before allowing a new pipeline to go in service that could increase capacity on the backs of ratepayers, who pay for it, whether or not the gas is needed.
Kinder Morgan spokesman David Conover told The Eagle in an email that customers are ready and waiting.
"Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation, Yankee Gas Services Company and Southern Connecticut Gas Company have all signed long term agreements with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. for the additional transportation capacity that the Project will add to the our system," he wrote.
The Network filed another last-ditch request Monday for FERC to deny, on several grounds, the company's push for the Nov. 1 gas flow date. One had to do with temperatures.
"Even in the northernmost part of Connecticut, the temperature is not forecast to fall below 40 degrees during the first week of November," Eiseman wrote. Eiseman also said restoration, seeding and final cleanup of the company's work area might have to be redone after the flash flooding and high winds that came through the area. The company said in a mid-October status report that 97 percent of the Massachusetts section was complete.
Tennessee Gas said in its original filings with FERC that it would restore as much of the disrupted area as possible to its previous condition, and told FERC Monday that it will continue this work until it is complete. That includes maintaining erosion-control devices, the company said.
In its response, FERC said it found that the company has "adequately stabilized the construction workspaces" and "rehabilitated" them.
Throughout the process, more criticism has been leveled against FERC and its way of doing business than the pipeline company. Eiseman told The Eagle that the network is not surprised that FERC granted permission to run the gas with some questions remaining.
"FERC has made sure that TGP is able to meet its in-service deadline, and ignored objections from the public," she said. "All along, FERC has ignored evidence that the project is not needed, and plowed ahead in the regulatory process to suit the company's schedule while shortchanging the public, the environment and their obligations to the tribes."
Listening Sessions on Transportation Sector Emissions Start TonightOctober 31 - November 9
. Sessions across the Commonwealth to discuss solutions to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, hosted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). These listening sessions highlight the collaborative approach the Baker-Polito Administration is taking to work across state government and with our cities and towns to reduce emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
» More info on dates / times / locations of listening sessions
MA Sierra Club Transportation "Cap & Invest" Webinar
The webinar by Sierra Club offered on October 24 provided an overview of an approach that has worked well in the electric sector in terms of reducing costs and yielding revenues to be re-invested wisely, and could offer a model for the transportation sector as well. Good prep for the listening sessions.Presenters:
Daniel Gatti, Union of Concerned Scientists
Emily Norton, MA Sierra Club
Jordan Stutt, Acadia Center
Joel Wool, Clean Water Action» Now available online here (requires a simple, free registration)
D.C. court hears West Roxbury Lateral gas pipeline case
By Caitlyn McGoff, Wicked Local - Dedham
October 27, 2017
Oral arguments against the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline were held recently in Washington, D.C., a process that attendees said contained more stalling questions on procedure than a discussion of issues.
Rickie Harvey, chairman of the West Roxbury Saves Energy Steering Committee, traveled to D.C. for the hearing, in which three judges from the United States Court of Appeals heard oral arguments against the Algonquin Incremental Market project, a high-pressure gas pipeline proposed by Spectra Energy.
The West Roxbury Lateral is a five-mile section of this larger pipeline that begins at a metering station in Westwood, and then runs through Dedham and West Roxbury, ending at a metering station across from the active quarry. The appeals request a rehearing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to issue a certificate to Spectra to construct the AIM.
In an email summary of the proceedings, held this past Thursday Oct. 19, Harvey said that the lawyer for the city of Boston and the lawyer representing a coalition of groups each spoke for 10 minutes. Initially three appeals, made by the Boston delegation, the town of Dedham, and a coalition of groups and abutters from the four states impacted by AIM, the court requested they be consolidated to two, with Dedham’s attorney joining the others during the hearing.
“A one-sentence overview of the 45 or so minutes would be that nearly the entirety of the ‘arguments’ was focused on matters of procedure, not on matters of substance,” Harvey said.
Many of the questions directed to Boston’s lawyer related to whether or not the appeal had standing to be filed, based on whether or not it was directed by the city’s corporate counsel. Based on the discussion, Harvey thought the judges might throw out the appeal, though it was not determined at the hearing.
Doctor challenges safety of compressor plan
By Jessica Trufant, the Quincy Patriot Ledger
October 24, 2017
WEYMOUTH – A local doctor working with residents fighting a proposed 7,700-horsepower natural-gas compressor station in North Weymouth said his rough analysis shows even small releases of natural gas could create flammable conditions on the Fore River Bridge.
“Doesn’t this matter? Can’t we have (the experts) look at this?” Dr. Curtis Nordgaard said Monday night at the Fore River Clubhouse in Quincy. “I can create under seemingly reasonable conditions results that show that this is a possible risk, and this is something that should be looked at further.”
Nordgaard said Algonquin did not adequately study the consequences of blowdowns. The company is not required to release blowdowns through smoke stacks, meaning the gas and chemicals could be released at ground level. Residents have questioned whether natural gas from a blowdown could ignite from static or vehicles crossing the Fore River Bridge, directly adjacent to the proposed site.
“All this money, time and investment - next to a bridge.” Nordgaard said compressor stations aren’t typically built next to bridges in use by thousands of vehicles per day.
“Everything about this is unique and ridiculous,” he said.
Nordgaard said he has been using ALOHA, a hazard modeling program developed by the Environmental Protection Agency to predict outcomes and estimates for various types of hazards.
Through that program and available data, Nordgaard said his rough analysis suggests even small blowdowns could create flammable conditions on the bridge. But he said the experts who have all the necessary data to do a true analysis are failing to do so.
“The state isn’t doing this analysis. They are just leaving it up to the company,” said Nordgaard, who has not heard back from state officials about his findings. “What’s the big fuss? Why don’t we just trust Spectra?”
SATURDAY — NOVEMBER 4, 2017 — KINGSTON, MA
— Clean energy tour of the town of Kingston, MA. Have you ever noticed the wind turbines visible from Route 3? You’ll have a chance to see them up close at our Kingston clean energy tour! Kingston has a renewable energy grant program, wind turbines on their capped landfill, and has increased its recycling rates after having one of the lowest on the South Shore.
Meet at the Kingston train station at 10 am.
10am – 2pm
134 Marion Dr.
Kingston, MA 02364
NOVEMBER 5-16, 2017 — NORTHAMPTON & SPRINGFIELD, MA
Monday, November 6 marks the opening of the United Nations Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany. The Trump Administration has withdrawn the United States from participation in the agreement signed by the US in Paris in November 2015.
In the face of Federal Government climate denial, the Reclaiming Our Future events call on Governor Charlie Baker to honor his pledge to uphold the Climate Alliance agreement here in Massachusetts, despite Trump’s withdrawal.
Stand Up Charlie!
Make our state a leader in cutting emissions.
* ENSURE CLIMATE JUSTICE *
* NO NEW PIPELINES *
* NO PIPELINE TAX FOR MASS *
Please join us for three events!
— Sunday, NOV 5 in Northampton
5:30 March begins at Northampton High School
6 pm Rally at Northampton City Hall
— Monday, NOV 6 in Springfield ( Part 1)
State Office at 436 Dwight St., Springfield
— Thursday, NOV 16 in Springfield (Part 2)
State Office at 436 Dwight St., Springfield
LEAD SPONSORS of the Reclaiming Our Future actions: Climate Action Now, Arise for Social Justice, and Springfield Climate Justice Coalition. We are joined by well over 30 co-sponsoring organizations.
MONDAY — NOVEMBER 6, 2017 — BOSTON, MA
— Vigil for Climate Action. After weeks of standing in the Governor’s office asking that he issue an executive order halting the development of fossil fuel infrastructure in the Commonwealth, on Monday, November 6 from 6-7pm we will come together as a coalition of leaders and organizations of faith and of non-faith in a candlelight vigil on the Statehouse steps. This will be the opening day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (COP 23), and we will stand as people of hope that Massachusetts might take the lead on climate, even when our country will not. As we consider the intersections of climate justice, we will hear from local leaders of the movement, gather together in moments of silence, song, and hope, and pray for our leaders here in Massachusetts and abroad.
You are welcome to bring organizational signs and banners, but because this is a vigil, we do not recommend protest signs.
Hosted by Mass Power Forward and others.
6 PM - 7 PM
Massachusetts State House, Rm 146
24 Beacon St
MONDAY — NOVEMBER 13, 2017 — WEYMOUTH, MA
SUNDAY — DECEMBER 3, 2017 — AMHERST, MA
— Discussion of campaign to protect Ceremonial Stone Landscapes.
Doug Harris, Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, and Attorney Anne Marie Garti will discuss Protecting the Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape.3:00 – 5:00 pm
Hitchcock Center for the Environment
845 West St