Pipeline foes to feds: Dismiss application

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/9/2016 6:43:21 PM

Pipeline opposition groups have filed a motion with federal regulators, calling for dismissal of the application to build a natural gas pipeline, after developers put a hold onthe project last month.

“If the Company develops a new project in the region, it can submit a different application to the Commission. However, that will not be the NED project,” wrote Kathryn R. Eiseman, president of Pipeline Awareness Network of the Northeast in a filing submitted May 2.

Developer Tennessee Gas Pipeline and their parent company Kinder Morgan filed a request to suspend its application to build a 30-inch natural gas line from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts on April 20. The plan’s route included Mason, Greenville, Rindge and New Ipswich, and would have sited a 40,000 horsepower compressor station on the New Ipswich and Temple border.

In its April 20 announcement, Kinder Morgan said the project had not gained enough contracted users for the gas, making the project not viable for the company. In filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which has final say on approvals for the pipeline, the company requested that the application be suspended. The company anticipates making an additional filing on or before May 26.

With Tennessee Gas’ application still in limbo, pipeline foes are calling on FERC to end the uncertainty by denying the application with prejudice – meaning that the company could not re-apply with the same project again.

“This is not something that Kinder Morgan should be allowed to pick up again when the winds change,” said Eiseman in an interview Monday. “There are so many flaws in the proposal that they really need to go back to the drawing board.”

Other pipeline opposition groups have echoed PLAN’s motion, including the New Hampshire Municipal Pipeline Coalition, an organization which includes the towns along the pipeline’s New Hampshire portion of the route.

Attorney Richard Kanoff for the coalition argued that there was no basis for the application remaining open.

“[Tennessee Gas Pipeline] cannot offer a rational explanation as to how, given its notice, and the absence of capacity contracts necessary for even the minimum facility design, further review of the [Northeast Energy Direct] project in this proceeding would be warranted,” Kanoff wrote. “Simply put, in this application, there is no longer a ‘project’ or contracts to be reviewed, and the commission should dismiss the application forthwith.” Kanoff also pointed out that towns are expending funds on legal council and seasonal environmental reviews, and are “unfairly compelled” to continue.

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