Northeast Energy Direct – Proposed Pipeline FAQs
- What: This is a high-pressure natural gas pipeline proposed to run from Pennsylvania through New York into Massachusetts, head north crossing the southern portion of New Hampshire and then south to Dracut, where it could join with existing pipelines that connect to the MA and Canadian coasts. In addition to the main transmission line, this project is proposed to include multiple pipelines identified as laterals. Transportation of high-pressure natural gas also requires compression and metering stations along the route.
- Who: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- ROUTE — The original proposed route (and some alternate proposed routes) would require breaking conservation easements—a terrible precedent to set for private projects. Construction would leave permanent degradation of our landscape, private properties, wildlife, forests, agricultural land, and aquifers.
- TARIFF — New England residents could be burdened with an additional tariff on their electric rates to pay for this private project that could generate enormous profits for Kinder Morgan and the gas producers.
- FINANCIAL BURDEN for LANDOWNERS — The payment for the easement on private land would be a one-time deal and is not much money when weighed against the loss of property value. The presence of gas pipelines has historically had a severe negative impact on property values, rendering the properties it crosses virtually unsellable, possibly no longer eligible for a mortgage, and often with increased insurance premiums.
- IMPACT ON WATER —This pipeline would create concerns about construction impact on our residential wells. Water quality could be affected during and after construction. Blasting could disturb sediment, causing it to flow to the home rather than resting safely at the bottom of the well. Water tables could also crack or shift during blasting, rerouting the water away from a well. Gas companies are currently exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and do not have to disclose the chemicals in the pipeline; a pipeline leak could contaminate water sources with undisclosed chemicals.
- CONSERVATION LAND — New Hampshire residents are very proud of their conservation land and their work to preserve it. While large tracts of conservation land may be inviting to pipeline companies, the permanent scarring for that purpose would not be in the public’s best interest. The precedent of taking conservation land threatens future donations of private land for conservation.
- NO BENEFIT in our homes — This pipeline would not bring fuel directly to homes for heating and cooking; this would be a transmission line, not a distribution or service line. It would transport natural gas to facilities that can accept high pressure natural gas such as distribution facilities, power plants and export facilities.
- EMINENT DOMAIN — If FERC determines that there is a public need for the pipeline, they could grant the pipeline company access to the land under eminent domain—enabling private corporations to make substantial profits through the use of our precious private property.
- ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT — This project would deliver fracked gas from New York and Pennsylvania, and the impact in those areas and to our climate would be devastating. We shouldn’t be using tariffs on our electric rates and the power of eminent domain to develop a resource that is damaging to our environment.
- HEALTH and SAFETY RISKS — There are serious concerns about the safety record of gas pipelines in general and Kinder Morgan in particular. Gas leaks threaten sensitive aquifers, soil, and plant life. Explosions involving pipelines of this size and pressure actually occur and are catastrophic, with the fire being fed by many miles of fuel between shut-off stations, leading to prolonged, extremely high-temperature burn. Our communities’ emergency response facilities are not equipped to deal with such occurrences and the cost of developing the appropriate capability would be borne by local taxpayers.
- INFLATED CAPACITY — At 2 billion cubic feet per day, the main pipeline far exceeds the stated need of 0.7 billion cubic feet per day for regional electrical generation—a need projected to occur only 10-27 peak- demand days per year for only a few hours of each of those days.
- INTENDED FOR EXPORT — The excess capacity of the pipeline could be used for export, as the terminus in Dracut, MA could be connected to the Canadian Maritime This would be an inappropriate use of the public’s money and land as the project would be a private for-profit venture. Not only is this an inappropriate use for a project that would be financed by tariffs on our electric rates, built using the power of eminent domain, and possibly breaking conservation easements as well, but it means we would see minimal, if any, benefit as towns, a state, a region, or a nation.
- When the pipeline is used for export, then the stated reason for having the pipeline, to prevent rising prices for electricity with cheap domestic gas generation, would be suddenly impacted by market prices that customers in Europe and emerging economies like India and China will be willing to pay. The gas companies could see huge profits, but ratepayers would see no offset for the increase in our rates.
- GAS is NOT CLEAN (as advertised) — While natural gas produces less carbon than coal or oil when burned, the methane that leaks in drilling, flaring, transmission, and distribution is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and negates any gains over burning other fossil fuels.
- PIPELINE is NOT NEEDED — This pipeline is being touted as filling in a “shortfall” in fuel needed for electricity generation. The “shortfall” in energy has occurred only during very cold snaps when more of the current gas supply is used for heating instead of electricity. This occasional “shortfall” could be cut by 1/3 by simply fixing the leaks in the current gas infrastructure. The remaining 2/3 could easily be made up by expanding current energy efficiency and energy conservation programs in our state.
- EXPANDED INFRASTRUCTURE is a step backward — Building a permanent infrastructure for this fossil fuel could ensure its use far into the future. This project represents a step backward in technology and several steps away from important National and State goals for renewable energy.
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