Major gas pipeline plan continues to change course middlesex east homenewshere.com youtube gas monkey

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Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, in December labeled as its "preferred" route 80.03 miles of new natural gas pipeline in New Hampshire. The proposed route starts in northern Massachusetts, enters the Granite State in Winchester, crosses the southwestern tier of the state and continues through 17 communities.

The proposed route enters the Ipswich River watershed area from Tewksbury, travels along Martin’s Brook in Wilmington and North Reading, crosses the Ipswich River in North Reading, continues through the forests just south of the river in Reading, North Reading and Lynnfield then right along the south bank of the River in Peabody and into Danvers. The pipeline will connect to existing pipelines in Lynnfield and Danvers allowing the gas to serve North Shore communities and/or connect to Maine and Canada for potential export.

The Ipswich River Watershed Association issued the following statement about the pipeline project: “We are very concerned over both the construction impacts and long term impacts of the conversion of natural areas to a new 50 foot permanently maintained swath through forest, wetlands and riverfront area. In addition, we are concerned about the bigger sustainability-related issues of continuing to invest in fossil fuels thereby delaying our transition to a more sustainable and less environmentally impactful energy future.

“This argument mimics what we’ve been advocating for regarding water use for years. The most cost effective and sustainable way to provide water to meet human needs for the foreseeable future is through water conservation. If we were to simply fix leaks and minimize non-essential water use, we would have enough water for both people and nature forever. The same thing is true for natural gas.”

Because of gas pipeline constraints, the state is likely to see spiking winter electricity prices through 2019, according to the "Massachusetts Low Gas Demand Analysis" prepared by Synapse Energy Economics of Cambridge for the Department of Energy Resources under former Gov. Deval Patrick.

Between 2020 and 2030, even assuming the introduction of 2,400 megawatts of Canadian hydropower and the deployment of "all technologically and economically feasible" alternative energy resources, a natural gas capacity shortfall will be present during periods of peak demand, the report concludes.

In June, 2014, the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen attended a presentation at the Senior Center in Tewksbury made by Kinder Morgan regarding the TGP expansion. Representatives from Kinder Morgan made a presentation regarding their plans to extend the pipeline through parts of Tewksbury.

The purpose of the project is to create new natural gas transportation capacity to meet growing energy needs, particularly in New England. The Project claims that it will ‘help to reduce natural gas costs for homes and businesses in the region, lower electricity prices, increase reliability of the electric grid and stimulate economic growth’ in addition to environmental benefits ‘by reducing the region’s reliance on greenhouse gas emitting coal and oil-fired power plants.’

The Conservation Law Foundation released a statement accusing the Patrick administration of stacking the deck in favor of a new natural gas pipeline, even though it was the administration that backed away from a region-wide consensus on the issue to launch the study.

“The Department of Energy has stacked the deck with a study designed to justify the Patrick administration’s attempts to build public support and financing for natural gas pipeline development and large-scale Canadian hydropower imports,” said the statement issued by Greg Cunningham, the foundation’s interim program director of Clean energy and climate change.

"This project will create 3,000 construction jobs and be an economic boost to Massachusetts’ working families and local businesses," said Frank Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, in a prepared statement. "By solving New England’s energy supply crunch in an environmentally responsible way, the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline will reduce energy bills for families and businesses, strengthening our entire economy."

According to Forbes magazine, the cost of natural gas in New England is about 10 times higher than that in the Mid-Atlantic. The magazine also reports that the total wholesale cost of electricity in New England for the first quarter of 2014 was $5.3 billion, up 75% from the first quarter of 2013, according to ISO New England.

“Even though it relied on dubious assumptions that biased the analysis against gas, the report clearly established that Massachusetts needs to significantly increase gas pipeline capacity,” said Anthony Buxton, a spokesman for the Coalition to Lower Energy Costs, an industry group that backs the Kinder Morgan project. "The enemy here is expensive and environmentally harmful oil, not natural gas."