Late yesterday, CLF declared a victory in our fight to end our region’s addiction to climate-warming fossil fuels when gas giant Kinder Morgan announced it is pulling the plug on its Northeast Energy Direct (NED) natural gas pipeline.
A Flawed Project That Was Never Needed
The project as proposed was flawed from the outset. For three years, Kinder Morgan and other gas companies have been trying to scare us into buying into this polluting pipeline, claiming that, without it, New Englanders faced imminent blackouts, electricity shortages, and crippling energy costs. But the massive proposed pipeline was slated to deliver far more gas than New England could ever need or use – even if our region was at risk of a major natural gas shortage (which it’s not).
CLF’s own analysis showed that trying to solve New England’s gas deliverability problem by building a pipeline of this size would have been the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to push in a tack. Even the Massachusetts Attorney General agreed that the state didn’t need a new natural gas pipeline to meet its energy needs.
In fact, as Kinder Morgan kept up its hype, our electricity prices have dropped dramatically over the last two years. Better management of our gas supply, improvements in our energy markets, increasing energy efficiency, timely use of existing liquefied natural gas infrastructure, and declining oil prices all contributed to the cost savings. And meanwhile the the lights have stayed on and the heat kept pumping in homes and businesses across New England.
What’s more, the only way Kinder Morgan could make the economics of their project work was to get electricity customers to foot the bill for its construction. Asking you and me to subsidize the pet pipeline project of an oil and gas giant is simply unprecedented and reveals that this project never made financial sense – not for electricity customers, for New England, or for Kinder Morgan itself.
The flaws in this project were so many that CLF had to fight it on multiple fronts: in state utilities commissions all over New England, in Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
New England’s Energy Tipping Point
When it comes to energy in New England, we’re at a tipping point. Thanks to CLF’s relentless advocacy, our few remaining dirty coal plants are hanging on by a fast-fraying thread. And now, Kinder Morgan’s pipeline failure is a signal to fossil fuel companies that dirty, climate-warming fuels have no place in New England’s energy future.
As we come off of yet another record-setting month for global temperatures – and with nations around the world meeting at the United Nations tomorrow to sign the Paris climate accord – the time is now to say no to more dirty fossil fuels, and say yes to clean, affordable, home-grown energy.
The Work Ahead
There’s much more work to do to achieve our vision of a New England powered by renewable energy. Half of New England’s electricity is generated by natural gas today. New fossil fuel power plants are currently under consideration in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. And proposals for other natural gas pipelines through our region threaten further damage to our climate.
With our states committed to drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, New England must begin to wean itself off of natural gas before it’s too late. CLF is committed to carrying on our fight against needless natural gas plants and pipelines – and pushing through policies to spur investment in innovative new energy technologies and clean, affordable energy.
It’s time we put NED and Kinder Morgan in the past; our clean energy future is now.