Published in the May 26, 2016 edition


NORTH READING— Kinder Morgan has officially withdrawn its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington D.C. for its Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project that would have followed a route through North Reading.

The announcement from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. (TGP) to FERC Secretary Kimberly D. Bose came on Monday, three days earlier than the deadline the company had set for itself to submit a status report to the federal agency following its April 22 request that FERC not take any further action in processing its application.

Kinder Morgan, the parent company of TGP, had announced on April 20 that it was suspending all additional work and expenditures on this project. Monday’s notification to FERC that Kinder Morgan was withdrawing the pipeline application all together is a more definitive indication that the plug has really been pulled on the project.

This action was taken “as a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers and a determination that the project is uneconomic,” stated J. Curtis Moffatt, deputy general counsel and vice president of gas group legal for TGP, in his letter of withdrawal to Bose. TGP had filed its certificate application to FERC on Nov. 20, 2015.

Previously, company had notified the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU) that it would not continue to pursue its application for permission to conduct site surveys on over 400 privately owned properties throughout the state, including those in North Reading, whose owners did not grant the company permission to enter onto their land. TGP claimed these surveys were necessary for the company to collect the data required to process its application at the federal level with FERC.

This is a step past suspension of the application. The pipeline proposal has been totally withdrawn from consideration.

“It’s done,” said Selectman Jeff Yull, who represented North Reading and attended many meetings along with Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto of the North East Municipal Gas Pipeline Coalition that was skeptical and critical of the project and Kinder Morgan’s plans.

To say the Selectmen and other town officials were pleased with the news would be an understatement.

“They claim insufficient demand” for the gas the pipeline would have carried, said Yull, “It doesn’t matter as long as they withdrew.”

“Apparently, it wasn’t true what they were saying that there was a significant demand for the gas,” commented Selectman Stephen O’Leary.

Yull said the Pipeline Coalition always questioned the extent of demand for the gas. Unlike some critics who were simply opposed to the project, the Pipeline Coalition concentrated on the facts and let the facts speak for the coalition.

“That’s to their credit. I was glad to be a part of it,” Yull said.