Otis State Forest’s Hour of Need,
FERC Must be Held Acountable
From Katy Eiseman at PLAN-NE
As you likely know, there is a threat of imminent tree felling in Otis State Forest, despite the state's constitutional “permanent” protection from development. FERC issued Kinder Morgan a Notice To Proceed with tree felling and construction of the Connecticut Expansion pipeline on April 12th.There is still an opportunity to stop this project -
this is an urgent fundraising appeal
» Please donate here
We have won numerous battles along the way – in fact, the company’s plan was to clear the trees more than a year ago. There are still legal avenues to prevent construction of this pipeline, based on the fundamental lack of need, which we can prove due to new market realities and data on gas use in Connecticut. There are also ceremonial stone landscape features sacred to local tribes along the pipeline route that would be destroyed by the project, without adherence to the National Historic Preservation Act.
FERC must be held accountable. MassPLAN filed with FERC, pro bono, a request for rehearing
and a motion to stay
the Notice To Proceed and to stay all activity. The next step is an expensive federal court action that PLAN-NE seeks to fund.
Looking ahead, we plan to expand our work in New Hampshire and Connecticut to challenge unnecessary gas expansion plans that have surfaced. Your contributions, large and small, will help us continue to challenge overblown assertions of “need” so that we can beat back the insidious hydra of pipeline expansion across our region.We have been offered a matching grant of $5,000 by a generous donor to help inspire others, like you, to support our work.
Please help today with a donation
Be it $50 or $5,000, we appreciate all that you do to help us fulfill our mission to prevent the overbuild of fossil fuel infrastructure.
Please share widely!Thank you,
Katy - on Behalf of PLAN-NE
CONNECTICUT EXPANSION NEWS:Gas pipeline foes file to halt start of constructionBy RICHIE DAVIS, Greenfield Recorder
April 25, 2017
Opponents of a proposed gas pipeline loop expansion through southwestern Berkshire County have filed to halt an April 12 federal Notice to Proceed with Tree Clearing and Construction and have formally requested a rehearing for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. project through Otis State Forest.
The Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network contends the notice was improperly issued by the chief of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s gas division following the Feb. 3 resignation of Commission Chair Norman Bay, which resulted in lack of a quorum at FERC, and that “contested matters” should not have allowed the action to be delegated.
Among those contested actions cited by MassPLAN Director Kathryn Eiseman in her filing Monday are FERC’s failure to provide for public involvement in resolution of “dozens of multiple ceremonial stone landscape features” identified by the Narragansett Indian Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office that would be threatened along the project route in Sandisfield.
» Read full story
With pipeline work looming, anxiety mounts in SandisfieldBy Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle
April 27, 2017
After bushwhacking through brambles to get to the edge of a beaver pond, Bill Kitchen points up to a series of large nests. Binoculars reveal a head in several — and when one adult steps out to perch, Kitchen confirms these are great blue herons, five rookeries total. This beaver pond is adjacent to the pipeline corridor where Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is about to begin cutting trees on about 29 acres across 4 miles of Otis State Forest and private land. The company's Connecticut Expansion Project is why Kitchen has come here from his home in Johnstown, N.Y.
"I was hoping to find an eagle's nest to throw a monkey wrench into the pipeline plans," he said. No such luck. Instead, this longtime environmental activist found the herons, which are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 but are not an endangered species. Kitchen said this shouldn't matter one bit. He also worries about nesting bats, populations of which have been "decimated" by disease, and which generally have only one pup a year, he said. He said what's about to happen here is terrible. "None of the birds know what's going on," Kitchen said. "They're just sitting in nests laying eggs right now."
The birds aren't alone. No one but officials from the Kinder Morgan subsidiary knows when the cutting will begin since the company will not release schedules. And the atmosphere here is pregnant with anxiety over it, particularly given the company's heavy security presence along these rough rural roads. The work is set to begin after several years of escalating tension over the pipeline path, environmental and safety concerns and questions about the company's natural gas demand projections in Connecticut, where most of the gas will go.
» Read full story
Pipeline opponents poised for peaceful protest Friday at Otis State ForestBy Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle
April 27, 2017
The Western Massachusetts-based Sugar Shack Alliance will gather at 11 a.m. at Lower Spectacle Pond off Cold Spring Road for a "non-violent" opposition to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.'s plans here.
"We need to protect our forests, not build pipelines through them," said Sugar Shack member Susan Theberge.
After an April 12 authorization to proceed with tree cutting and construction was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the town began to swell with private and state police security, construction workers and heavy equipment for this section of Kinder Morgan subsidiary's tri-state Connecticut Expansion Project.
While 2 miles of pipes will run through state-owned forest protected by Article 97 of the state Constitution, another roughly 2 miles will run through private property here.
The project has faced multiple delays as the state, environmental groups and residents battled the company in court.
While tree cutting is officially allowed to begin Thursday, no one knows for sure when it will begin. Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said the company will not release construction schedules or locations, adding that increased security is in the interest of public safety. Portions of the forest adjacent to the pipeline construction zone now are closed to the public.
Plans for the natural gas storage loop have angered and worried residents, legislators, and environmentalists on a number of grounds.
» For information about the Ceremonial Stone Landscape issue and the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office's fight to protect them, visit tinyurl.com/SaveMANativeSites.
WEYMOUTH COMPRESSOR STATION NEWS:
Hi Friend of FRRACS,
As you may know, the MassDEP Department of Air and Waste issued the Air Quality Proposed Plan Approval to Spectra (Algonquin Gas Transmission) in April. This plan approval was granted pending a 30 day commenting period that is to expire this coming Monday, May 1 at 5:00 pm.
Please take a moment to comment. This can make a big difference on whether or not the plan approval becomes an actual air quality permit. It's easy to do! If you do not have comments prepared, we have a list of issues--you need only choose one--and an easy template to send your comment. Just go to our website at www.nocompressor.com and file your comment before Monday, May 1 at 5:00 pm
If you would prefer to send your comment yourself, please send it to:
Thomas Cushing, Permits Chief
MassDEP Southeast Regional Office
20 Riverside Drive
Lakeville MA 02347
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for all that you do!
The FRRACS Team
Lawmakers blast air quality plan for
Weymouth compressor station
By Jessica Trufant, The Patriot Ledger
April 26, 2017
In a letter to Thomas Cushing, permits chief for state agency’s Southeast regional office, 13 state representatives and senators said the plan is “inherently flawed” due to inadequate siting standards and extreme healthy and safety risks.
The proposed site is within a half-mile of more than 960 homes and 38 educational facilities, and an estimated 3,100 children live within one mile and 13,200 attend school within three miles of it.
The lawmakers wrote that Spectra Energy identified at least 10 carcinogenic chemicals that the compressor station would emit, and the Fore River Basin is already “overloaded with an abundance of industry” that pollutes the air in Quincy, Weymouth and Braintree. They pointed to the significantly higher rates of asthma found in students at Weymouth’s Wessagusset Elementary School and Quincy’s Snug Harbor Elementary School, as reported by the state Department of Public Health.
Yet in its air pollutant modeling, Algonquin Gas Transmission failed to account for preexisting hazardous pollution, including formaldehyde and benzene.
Dr. Curt Nordgaard, a pediatrician from Newton who practices in Dorchester and sees many South Shore patients, has worked closely with the North Weymouth Civic Association and the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station to test the air quality surrounding the proposed site.
With more testing results due back this week, Nordgaard said preliminary testing showed a measureable amount of formaldehyde – something Algonquin Gas Transmission did not factor into its air quality plan.
» Read full story
OTHER MA PIPELINE NEWS:
New natural gas pipeline proposed between Easthampton and Holyoke
Sarah Robertson, Daily Collegian
April 26, 2017
A new pipeline would provide direct service to Holyoke and allow more of Columbia Gas’ natural gas to flow from Southwick to customers in Easthampton and Northampton.
Opponents to the pipeline say the project would prolong the necessary transition away from fossil fuels and increase the harmful drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, for natural gas across the country.
“As a company we have no position on the pipeline,” said Patrick Quinlan, CEO of the Easthampton solar energy startup SolaBlock. “Though, personally in terms of the future, I believe that all pipelines are indeed not an investment in the future, but an investment in the past.”
» Read full story