Amid speculation that Kinder Morgan may revive its suspended Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project in the future, a leading opposition group has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to dismiss and deny the project, a portion of which would have gone through Londonderry.
The Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast, Inc. (PLAN) filed on May 2 a motion to dismiss and deny the NED project application with prejudice and terminate the FERC’s proceeding immediately.
“I only wish we could ask for a definite deadline for a response to this motion,” said Cherylann Pierce, a leader of Londonderry’s opposition to the proposed pipeline.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, informed investors and the public on April 20, as reported in the Londonderry Times, that it had “suspended further work and expenditures” on the NED project due to insufficient contracted capacity resulting from New Hampshire’s lack of regulatory procedures to facilitate binding EDC (electric distribution companies) commitments, an open-ended process in each state for establishing such procedures and lack of assurance the processes would ultimately prove successful.
Opponents expressed relief the project was tabled, but committed to remain vigilant until the NED project application is no longer before the FERC.
Pierce has said she will “feel a little more comfortable when the FERC takes (the NED project) off the table.”
Noting natural gas distribution companies, including Liberty Utilities and National Grid, have withdrawn petitions for EDC precedent agreements for capacity on the NED pipeline, PLAN President Kathryn Eiseman wrote in her motion that the company could develop a new pipeline project to satisfy those customers.
“Like so many rodents on a grounded vessel, these would-be customers are indicating that NED cannot go forward. 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,” she wrote.
Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said the company plans to file a status report on the project with the FERC by May 26, but does not have a comment relating to PLAN’s filing with the agency.
Eiseman wrote in her filing with the FERC that its dismissal of the project would “give closure” to the public, who “have expended hours and financial resources defending their land, communities and environment against the project.
“The nearly 2,000 interveners in this Proceeding deserve closure, if not restitution,” she said.
“Every penny spent by the coalition which can be accounted for, which was spent on behalf of the residents, should be reimbursed forthwith by Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The enormity of the toll this fight has taken on every individual in the path of the proposed NED, in terms of time, emotional distress, fear mongering about possible loss of land and the potential side effects on aquifers and our scenic treasures, cannot adequately be expressed,” Pierce wrote in an email. “Thousands of hours have been spent combing through documents and legal procedures. We were forced to educate ourselves about fossil fuel fracking and connect the dots as to why our region was targeted by this company, only to discover the true intention to use and abuse us and our natural resources as an expendable, single-use throughway pathway to export.”
With the NED project off the table in the foreseeable future, opposition groups like PLAN have shifted attention to alternative natural gas infrastructure projects in the region.
“This fight is not over,” Pierce said. “There are many more bills before the House to tighten up legislation to stop these types of projects from coming in, and the bigger issue is fracking.