Government Statements Concerning the Proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline

easment22Governor Hassan Reiterates Need for Concerns of Local Communities to be Addressed on Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline Project

December 4, 2015

“I share many of the concerns that communities and individuals have raised, including those reflected in the two attached letters. I ask again that FERC address these concerns and require that the company work to address the environmental, public health and safety issues raised by affected communities. It is my belief that if the company cannot do so, the project should not move forward as currently proposed.” Read more …

Congressman Guinta’s NED Statement

December 3, 2015

I share my constituents’ concerns about the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which would run through Merrimack and Londonderry in the First District. I joined New Hampshire’s entire congressional delegation to request more information from the energy company and federal regulators: What is the project’s potential benefit to Granite Staters? Will it be safe? What will be the immediate effect on our district?  We have not received satisfactory responses to our inquiries. In my duty to the people I represent, I cannot support this pipeline, as planned. We still have unanswered questions.

Congresswoman Kuster’s NED Statement

December 2, 2015

“Throughout the evaluation process, I have aimed to be fair, open and accessible when listening to both supporters and opponents of the NED project. However, without tangible evidence of substantial economic gains to the communities that are affected, I have not seen enough evidence to justify the potential damage. Given that there are less invasive projects being proposed in New England, I believe that the NED Pipeline, as it is proposed, is the wrong vehicle for bringing meaningful reductions in wholesale electricity costs in New Hampshire.” Read more …

Senator Kelly Ayotte’s NED Statement

December 2, 2015

Constituents have raised real concerns about this, and these are very important, legitimate questions that should be answered.” 

“And in my view, unless and until these questions … are sufficiently answered and the concerns of local residents are meaningfully addressed, I oppose this project going forward

Vermont Senator Sanders’ NED Statement

November 29,

Speaking at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Manchester, New Hampshire, Sanders said he opposed the construction of the natural gas pipeline, proposed by Kinder Morgan, which would cross through New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

I believe the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline that would carry fracked natural gas for 400 miles through 17 communities is a bad idea – and should be opposed

Kuster Sends Letter to FERC Calling for Review of All Energy Projects in Region

September 29, 2015

My goal, similar to yours, is to ensure that we encourage smart energy policies that protect our environment, preserve our way of life, and lower electricity prices.  I am acutely aware of the regional need for electricity and the plethora of energy projects that are being proposed to meet that need.  Given the regional nature of our electric market and the complicated changes that are underway across the region, both with new projects being proposed and with older power sources leaving the grid, I believe that FERC can only properly preform its duties by assessing these projects as a whole, instead of in silos.  All options and alternatives must be considered as we look at these proposals and fit them to the needs of our region.  Whereas New England is on a regional grid, it stands to reason that we should site projects that impact the grid as a region.”  Read more …

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), along with Representatives Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2) and Frank Guinta (NH-1)

September 11. 2015 Letter to FERC

The Honorable Norman C. Bay
Chairman
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

“Dear Chairman Bay:

We write regarding concerns with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) permitting process for natural gas pipelines. In meetings across New Hampshire, our constituents continue to raise questions and concerns with the Commission’s permitting process. We respectfully request explanations to the following concerns as posed by our constituents:

  • Do you agree that FERC should make the threshold determination for “public need” before siting a proposed pipeline? Has FERC made that threshold determination in the case of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline? If so, please share with us your detailed analysis regarding the determination.
  • Do you agree that in determining the “public need” for a proposed pipeline in a particular region, FERC should evaluate the potential impact of other proposed projects in the region, which may collectively provide unneeded excess capacity? Has it done so for the proposed NED project?
  • Do you agree that FERC should give strong consideration during its “public need” review to a project’s economic and environmental impact on communities? Has it done so for the proposed NED project?
  • The public comment system is receiving a very high volume of comments. What steps do the Commissioners take to directly review information on “public need” submitted via that system? Does FERC staff review, analyze, and brief Commissioners on those submissions?
  • How do stakeholders with information relevant to the determination of “public need” ensure Commissioners will directly review that information?
  • Do you agree that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) should have a role in FERC’s determination of whether to permit a proposed pipeline?
  • Has PHMSA provided FERC with safety analysis for the proposed NED project?

Additionally, enclosed is a copy of a letter from our congressional delegation to the Inspector General of the Department of Energy (DOE) dated July 15, 2015, regarding the proposed Northeast Energy Direct project. The letter requested that the Inspector General address and answer five questions related to FERC’s permitting process. We are separately writing the Inspector General and asking for immediate answers to the questions raised in our previous letter.

New Hampshire residents deserve a fully transparent process and should be guaranteed that the Commissioners will consider and respond to their concerns. To date, FERC’s interactions with the public have been unsuccessful in answering these relevant and important questions. We strongly urge FERC to provide clear and complete answers to these questions by September 18, 2015.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your timely response.”

» Read FERCs Non-Response …

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), along with Representatives Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2) and Frank Guinta (NH-1)

September 11. 2015 Letter to KM

Mr. Allen Fore, Director
Public Affairs
Kinder Morgan
3250 Lacey Road, Suite 700
Downers Grove, Il 60515

“Dear Mr. Fore:

We write regarding concerns with Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project. In meetings across New Hampshire, our constituents continue to raise questions as to why Kinder Morgan modified the preferred route for the proposed pipeline from primarily through Massachusetts to New Hampshire.
As you know, on December 8, 2014, Kinder Morgan notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that it was seeking to change the preferred route of the proposed NED pipeline, including relocating approximately 80 miles from Massachusetts to southern New Hampshire. We respectfully request that you explain in written detail the analysis and rationale Kinder Morgan used to arrive at this determination.
New Hampshire residents deserve complete and thorough information regarding Kinder Morgan’s decision to move the preferred route for the NED pipeline from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. For Granite Staters to fully understand and assess this project, transparent information regarding the decision to move the preferred route is pertinent and necessary. We strongly urge you to provide a written explanation detailing the company’s rationale for moving the preferred route for the NED pipeline by September 18, 2015.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your timely response.”

» Read Kinder Morgan’s Non-Response …

Office of the Governor

August 14, 2015 Letter to the FERC

Dear Chairman Bay:

I write to request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) require Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (the Company) to respond to the questions and concerns of New Hampshire residents related to the proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) Project, as well as to ask the commission staff to closely review these concerns  and consider potential alternative routes as they begin the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) process.

Over the past few months, I have heard from many communities and individuals along the proposed route with a number of safety, environmental, economic, and health questions and concerns. To address these issues, I request that FERC, or the Company, as part of the DEIS process, provide detailed responses to the concerns and questions of  New Hampshire residents, including the following:Read more …

» Read FERC’s Non-Response … 

Executive Councilor Wheeler’s NED statement

July 31, 2015 Scoping Meeting-Milford, NH

[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “Are you done elected officials??

[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Yes.”

[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “You didn’t call my name.

[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Who are you?

[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “I’m Executive Councilor Dave Wheeler. I spoke to you and signed up to speak on Monday. I sent my assistant up here to speak to you tonight.

[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “I couldn’t indicate, I couldn’t tell you were an elected official or not. It was hard to tell exactly what your qualifications were.

[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “Right. I called you on Monday to give you the elected official’s courtesy that I would be here tonight.  I sent my staffer up here to tell you I was here tonight and your comment was, “What’s an Executive Councilor?””

[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Well, I wasn’t sure what that was. I mean…

[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Again, look, I apologize, you can go ahead and go as soon as my court reporter goes ahead and makes sure it’s ok. Go ahead.

[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “We’re good to go? Tape’s all changed. OK. I apologize for stepping away from decorum for a moment but I, you know, I felt I needed to do that. Um, it is very disturbing to me, to digress just for a minute, that you come here from Washington and you don’t even know what our form of government is here.

Just so you know what the Executive Council does, we are the second highest elected state official, uh, in New Hampshire government. We hire the Public Utilities Commissioners or fire the Public Utilities Commissioners. We hire the Site Selection Committee members or fire the Site Selection Committee members. And we have a significant role in the state, in developing the state’s energy policy. Also, if you think this pipeline’s going through Rhododendron Park, it ain’t gonna get my signature to sell the land, have an easement on the land, or right-of-way.   Read more …

July 16, 2015
The PUC Staff, the OCA and PLAN-NE all submitted written testimony on May 8 in respect to EnergyNorth’s request for approval. All three testimonies were highly critical of EnergyNorth’s proposal and all three parties recommend that the agreement, as filed, NOT be approved. The key issues can be summarized as follows:”  Read more …
Rep. Susan Emerson
Cheshire County, Dist. 11

July 15, 2015
“The Northeast Energy Direct (NED) Project , a pending interstate natural gas infrastructure project proposed by Kinder Morgan, has brought certain issues related to the FERC permitting process to our attention . Our constituents have expressed frustration about the lack of information from FERC and the limited extent that public input is considered in the Commission ‘s review and approval process for energy infrastructure projects. This raises sigruficant concerns for us given that the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) issued by FERC to authorize the construction of a pipeline project allows for land to be acquired through eminent domain. Moreover , the CPCN preempts any state or local action that may conflict with federal law in relation to a given project.
» NH Delegation Letter to Department of Energy Inspector General 

January 28th. 2015
“I believe it is important to fully understand the impacts of the Northeast Energy Direct Project pipeline proposal.  We must ensure that natural gas production and transportation do not negatively impact public health and the environment.” – US Senator Shaheen

» Senator Shaheen Letter to NH Pipeline Awareness

August 18, 2014
“Martha is committed to building a clean energy future in Massachusetts and, while natural gas currently represents a critical piece of our energy mix, she continues to see it as a bridge to cleaner, renewable energy sources. She is concerned that the proposed pipeline expansion may fail to strike the right balance between providing affordable energy, protecting fragile environmental resources, respecting the rights of homeowners, and helping us reach our long-term energy goals. Based on the information currently available, she does not support this proposal.” – Spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley

August 12, 2014
“Massachusetts has distinguished itself as a state with a strong and enduring commitment to environmental conservation, a commitment evidenced in the wetlands, forests, waters, and state and private conservation lands that run from our coastline to the Berkshires. The commonwealth is also a leader in developing clean energy and promoting energy efficiency. In fact, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks Massachusetts number one in the country in its energy efficiency policies and programs.

Our commonwealth has amazing energy entrepreneurs and smart policies that promote greener communities and energy conservation. These policies have helped to spur statewide investments and advancements in clean energy and energy efficiency. That, in turn, is helping develop more clean energy jobs, which grew 11.8 percent between 2012 and 2013 and now employ about 80,000 people statewide, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

And these investments have paid off, helping to keep our air and water clean, helping to preserve the commonwealth’s natural beauty, and helping to grow our economy. We should build on these successes, particularly when making decisions about investments in infrastructure that will affect our mix of energy consumption for decades to come.

In recent months, representatives of Kinder Morgan, Inc. and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, have approached Massachusetts landowners, towns and land trusts to ask permission to conduct surveys for a proposed pipeline that would carry natural gas from the New York border across our state to Dracut. Rather than using existing infrastructure, roads, and rights-of-way, the company is considering routing this pipeline largely through undeveloped land.

I have heard from many Massachusetts homeowners and businesses that are deeply concerned about the impact of this proposal on their farms and properties. Conservation commissions in towns along the intended route and citizen groups dedicated to protecting our state’s environment have also raised concerns that this proposed natural gas pipeline would needlessly disrupt environmentally sensitive conservation land. Because I share many of these concerns, I do not support the current proposal.

***

Kinder Morgan argues that the proposed pipeline could play a role in helping our region meet its energy needs. It is true that New England faces energy infrastructure challenges, and that we currently rely on natural gas for heating in the winter and for electrical generation year round. Over the past few winters, which have been especially cold, we have experienced some of the highest natural gas prices in the nation. This is a serious problem, which we cannot ignore.

But the need to improve our short- term energy outlook and reduce unacceptably high energy prices does not mean that we should rush to support every energy infrastructure project, no matter the consequences. The decisions we make about energy proposals today will have an impact on future generations, and in each instance we must weigh the potential benefits against the potential consequences — both in the short- term and long-term.

Given the cost and infrastructure realities of the Northeast, it is likely that natural gas will continue to play a role in our transition away from coal and oil electricity production and toward a cleaner energy future. But our aim must be to reduce reliance on carbon based fuels, and than means careful consideration of clean energy alternatives as well as other natural gas pipeline alternatives that do not create wholly new infrastructure. For example, upgrading our old, methane- leaking pipes can help provide affordable power for businesses and consumers without threatening our families and our state.

Before we sink more money in gas infrastructure, we have an obligation wherever possible to focus our investments on the clean technologies of the future — not the dirty fuels of the past — and to minimize the environmental impact of all our energy infrastructure projects. We can do better — and we should.” – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

August 1, 2014
I oppose this pipeline as it is now proposed because it raises serious questions about whether it is too massive for Massachusetts’ energy needs, does not respect the rights and wishes of local residents, would worsen climate change, and could lead to the export of natural gas to foreign countries, raising prices for Massachusetts businesses and consumers. – U.S. Senator Edward Markey

August 1, 2014
I oppose the current Kinder-Morgan proposal and share many of the concerns that have been raised by Massachusetts families, businesses, conservation commissions and towns about the pipeline’s impact on their land and the environment. We must upgrade our energy infrastructure in ways that are consistent with Massachusetts’ commitment to environmental conservation, clean energy, and energy efficiency. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

July 25, 2014
As legislators representing communities to be impacted by the proposed Tennessee Gas/Kinder Morgan Northeast Direct gas pipeline, we want to make our opposition to the project clear. We oppose the project for environmental, economic, public safety and public health reasons. In recent months we have heard a message of overwhelming opposition from our constituents, on those grounds and others. We have performed our due diligence and met with various state agencies, project proponents, environmental organizations, local laborers and our constituents to better understand the project, all issues surrounding it and state government’s role in the process. While it is clear the ultimate power in permitting and approving the project rests with the federal government, in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), it is our responsibility as state legislators to speak for our communities. As such, we have come to the conclusion that while building the Northeast Direct Gas Pipeline would provide the economic benefit of providing good jobs with good wages for local labor, the project as a whole is not in the public interest. We can and should do better. – Joint statement of U.S. Senator Downing, U.S. Representative Kulik, U.S. Representative Cariddi, U.S. Representative Pignatelli and U.S. Representative Mark

May 15, 2014
Since this gas pipeline was first proposed, we have been actively working together to obtain factual information about the project and its potential impacts on the people and communities that we represent.

Our major focus to date has been on determining exactly what the role of Massachusetts state government would be for this project, since most of the regulatory and permitting authority for it lies with the federal government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Despite the primary federal authority for this project, we believe strongly that state government, including the Legislature, must take an active role in determining if this project is in the best interests of the Commonwealth, and especially the areas that we represent in the western part of the state.

Our work so far has convinced us that the major policy questions about the need for additional gas supply, and the environmental, economic, and social issues raised by this project have not yet been adequately addressed.

Furthermore, we are not pleased with both the lack of specific information about this project and the proposed pipeline route that has come from Kinder Morgan. We are very disappointed and concerned about the way that the company is dealing with property owners and town governments who would be impacted by the pipeline.

As such, we pledge to continue to press for a more open and transparent process for this project, and to focus on the enormous potential for negative environmental impacts of this pipeline through Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin counties.

We are deeply concerned that the proposed route may pass through lands that the public has set aside for conservation, agriculture, and wildlife protection. As such, we believe that Article 97 of our Massachusetts Constitution, which provides protection for such lands, must be invoked. Waivers from Article 97 protections require approval from the Legislature by a two-thirds majority, and we believe at this time that this would be a challenging and uphill process.

We thank all of the citizens who are actively engaged in this issue, and encourage you to stay in touch with us as we continue to work together for the benefit of our region’s economy, environment, and quality of life.” – Joint statement of U.S. Senator Rosenberg, U.S. Senator Downing, U.S. Representative Kulik and U.S. Representative Mark

Proceed to Government Letters Opposing the Proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline