Published in the May 25, 2016 edition
LYNNFIELD — It’s officially over. Kinder Morgan has officially withdrawn its application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project that would have followed a route that passed through Lynnfield on its way from New York state all the way to the North Shore of Massachusetts.
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. 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 several in Lynnfield, whose owners has not granted 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 great news for all the communities along the proposed NED pipeline and in particular the Lynnfield residents living in the North Hill (Drive) area,” Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford told the Villager Monday afternoon. He added, “My hope is with the Spectra pipeline still moving forward the NED pipeline will never be presented for approval again.”
News of Kinder Morgan’s/TGP withdrawal of certificate application with FERC was sent to the town by Beverly Woods, the executive director of the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments based in Lowell. Woods stated, “Thank you for all your hard work over the past two years. It has been a pleasure working with such a dedicated group of communities and individuals.”
At Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting, Crawford reiterated that Kinder Morgan’s withdrawal was good news for Lynnfield residents as well as the “dozens of communities along the pipeline route.”
“We got notification today that the Kinder Morgan pipeline application at the federal level with FERC has been withdrawn and the pipeline is completely shut down at this point,” he said.
Crawford said Spectra Energy’s proposed pipeline on the southern route of the state that would eventually go through West Roxbury en route to the coast “is still in the works and moving forward. I believe this was more of a race to see who could get the pipeline in first.”
Assuming the Spectra pipeline receives approval, Crawford said, “I hope in the future it alleviates any more discussion about the pipeline coming up through the Northern part of Mass. and into Lynnfield. They shut it down at both the state and federal level, and I am very happy for everybody.”