In October, CLF submitted comments at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the appropriate scope of environmental review to assess Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project. The company’s proposed pipeline will traverse much of southern New Hampshire to deliver 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas capacity into Massachusetts.
Such a massive new pipeline project would profoundly affect New England’s transition to clean energy sources, while also hampering regional efforts to ramp up other climate-saving resources such as demand management and energy efficiency.
Worse, the project is just one of many pipelines being planned or proposed in New England. Combined, these unnecessary new pipelines promise to scar the region and steal money away from smarter investments that would not only provide permanent, low-cost energy solutions for consumers but also relieve the region of its over-reliance on a single, fossil fuel–based energy source – natural gas.
That’s why CLF is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to pause and take stock before considering the Kinder Morgan project as proposed. Instead, we’re asking the Commission to conduct a broad, programmatic environmental impact statement that considers the region’s current and future energy needs and weighs the full suite of natural gas expansion projects already being planned or proposed. We’re confident that if decision makers like FERC step back and take a hard look at where we are putting our money – and whether it gets us where we need to be in 10, 20, or 30 years in reducing climate-warming emissions – the answer will be no to projects like Northeast Energy Direct.
New England Doesn’t Need New Pipelines
Criss-crossing New England’s landscapes with pipelines that make the region even more reliant on natural gas is not a win for New England’s communities or the climate. To this end, CLF recently commissioned a report to look at the winter-time gas delivery problem facing New England. The report proposes common-sense solutions to maximize the use of existing delivery and storage facilities. Changing the way we use existing facilities would be far less costly and more timely than laying new pipeline in the ground. Most importantly, these solutions would avoid undermining our collective efforts to meet the mounting challenge of climate change. You can read about CLF’s white paper on making smarter use of existing natural gas infrastructure here.
We know that natural gas’s low prices make it alluring in the short term. But there’s nothing inexpensive about natural gas or the massive investments proposed for the northeast. Sinking consumer funds – dollars coming out of your wallet and mine – into infrastructure that will further entrench our reliance on this climate-polluting fossil fuel is simply a bad investment all around. On the contrary, it’s the kind of investment for which our children and grandchildren will be paying for decades to come, unless we speak up now.
New England needs real, lasting solutions to price volatility, including energy conservation and a strong clean technology sector. That’s why CLF is advocating before the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission to craft New Hampshire’s first Energy Efficiency Resource Standard. And why CLF is working to eliminate barriers to the wider adoption of renewables, such as the restrictive net metering cap that may soon keep solar from going live on rooftops in New Hampshire. Because we can’t afford to continue to sink money into massive dirty fuel investments to solve our energy needs.
This is a critical fight for New England and our region’s ability to achieve its urgent climate change goals. We’re glad to be a part of it.