Kinder Morgan Withdraws Application for Gas Pipeline

The Town of Londonderry will no longer have to fear, or fight, a national gas pipeline to which many residents, including the governing body, objected.

On May 23, Kinder Morgan withdrew its application for Northeast Energy Direct (NED), the 420-mile pipeline planned to carry Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania to New England through a route that included Londonderry.

On April 22 the company asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt further action in processing its application, as previously reported by the Londonderry Times. At that time, representatives cited “inadequate firm capacity contracts” for the 2.2 billion cubic foot line and said it would “suspend further work and expenditures” on the project. The Texas-based firm filed its application six months ago with the FERC.

“Given these market conditions, continuing to develop the project is not an acceptable use of shareholder funds,” a Kinder Morgan spokesman said at the time.

On May 24 Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, who opposed the project “due to the many unanswered questions and concerns raised by New Hampshire residents,” announced that Kinder Morgan submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission withdrawing the application for the NED project.” Ayotte had advocated for more transparency on the project, both in hearings and letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

A portion of the pipeline would have gone through about 2.5 miles of Londonderry. In several meetings with company representatives, residents expressed concerns on safety, what would happen if the pipeline were abandoned, and how close it would come to their property.

In a letter dated May 23, James D. Hartman, Senior Right-of-Way Agent for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, wrote to inform abutters and stakeholders that the application has been withdrawn. Hartman wrote that the project has been shelved because of “inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers and a determination that the project is uneconomic.”

He concluded, “Our goal is to maintain positive relationships with all directly and indirectly affected landowners now and in the future. Tennessee appreciates your attention and participation in discussions and meetings regarding survey access, proposed re-routes, and impacts of the project on your property during the pre-filing and certificate process for the project.”

Hartman wrote that “Tennessee is grateful to those affected landowners that granted survey permission to Tennessee when requested.”

In July 2015, the Londonderry Town Council took a position against the pipeline, voting 5-0 to approve a resolution opposing its construction. The resolution read in part, “The pipeline will create no direct benefit to the residents of Londonderry, and the disruption to the residents of Londonderry caused by the construction of the new pipeline may outweigh the benefits to the Town and its residents.”

Council Chairman John Farrell said in a phone interview, “Since there was no direct benefit to Londonderry, I am happy to see the project withdrawn.”

Cherylann Pierce, a resident who fought the pipeline through several venues, said she was proud to have been part of the fight across New Hampshire and Massachusetts that led to the demise of the project.

“I wasn’t fighting Kinder Morgan specifically,” she said in a phone interview. “I was fighting the whole concept of fracking.” Pierce said she would continue to fight fracking.

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