Published in the November 24, 2015 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Let the games begin.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, filed a certificate application under Section 7(c) of the National Gas Act with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline Nov. 20.
Kinder Morgan announced it filed the NED project with FERC in a press release sent to the Villager.
“The NED project is a transformative project for the northeast United States,” said Kinder Morgan East Region Natural Gas Pipelines President Kimberly S. Watson in a statement. “Despite being just a few hundred miles from the most abundant and low-cost natural gas production area in the country, consumers in the Northeast pay some of the highest natural gas and electricity rates in the continental United States. These higher prices are due, in large part, to natural gas pipeline infrastructure that is insufficient to meet the winter heating demand of local distribution companies and electric generators.”
According to Kinder Morgan, the $5 billion NED project will expand TGP’s existing pipeline system in Pennsylvania, New York and New England, connecting natural gas supplies from northern Pennsylvania to New York and New England markets.
The NED pipeline project has dozens of communities in the five states impacted up in arms as private homeowners, landowners, businesses and government entities alike push back against the private company’s request to survey properties that would be encumbered by permanent easements along its meandering route.
The Lynnfield Lateral portion of the NED pipeline will be 24 inches in diameter if FERC approves the project. In Lynnfield, the project would affect Chestnut Street, Willis Lane, North Hill Drive and surrounding streets. The pipeline would also run through Lynnfield Center Water District (LCWD) property and would impact the Ipswich River.
The NED project is opposed by local residents and officials who have safety, environmental and property value concerns about the project.
Kinder Morgan held a community meeting on the proposed NED project at Spinelli’s Function Facility last month. The event was held as part of an ongoing public relations campaign to convince FERC to approve the project as well as win public support.
While the community meeting was originally billed as a meeting where Kinder Morgan officials spoke and people would be given an opportunity to ask questions about the project and its impact, the event actually resembled a college fair. Kinder Morgan set up different stations where people could read maps, watch slideshows and ask the energy company’s representatives questions.
The community meeting was attended by a number of local residents and officials, who expressed their displeasure with the forum’s format.
According to Kinder Morgan’s press release, “TGP requested that FERC issue requested certificate and abandonment authorizations during the fourth quarter of 2016.” If FERC approves the project, TGP will begin constructing the pipeline in January 2017 “in anticipation of placing the project facilities in-service on Nov. 1, 2018.”
“TGP is proposing this construction timeline in order to accommodate narrow construction windows due to seasonal weather and anticipated environmental and seasonal constraints on tree felling and clearing, as well as to minimize outages and maintain adequate levels of service to meet its existing commitments to its shippers during the construction and installation of the project facilities,” Kinder Morgan said in a press release. “The proposed schedule also allows TGP to complete acquisition of property for the pipeline and compressor station locations, environmental and cultural resource surveys, federal and state permitting activities, materials procurement and construction.”
Town plans fight
In the aftermath of Kinder Morgan submitting its application for the NED pipeline to FERC, Assistant to Administration Bob Curtin informed the Villager the town filed to become an intervenor. The LCWD filed to be an intervenor on Monday.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford said recently filing as intervenors will enable the town and LCWD to “fight the pipeline.”
According to FERC’s website, “Intervenors become participants in a proceeding and have the right to request rehearing of commission orders and seek relief of final agency actions in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. FERC “expects parties to intervene in a timely manner based on the reasonably foreseeable issues arising from the applicant’s filing and the commission’s notice of filing.”
In addition to local officials, residents can comment on the NED project as well. Residents can comment on the project by visiting https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. The project’s docket number is CP16-21-000.
Residents can also mail their comments to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington DC 20426.