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Natural Gas Pipelines and Conservation Land

In the News

Read our letters to the editor to the Boston Globe, Berkshire Eagle and Greenfield Recorder


The Trustees opposes natural gas pipeline projects when there are significant outstanding environmental and conservation concerns.

Energy policy is complex. Any conversation about new energy projects should consider the following: Is this project necessary? Are there viable alternatives? What are the environmental and climate change impacts? Are there energy efficiency opportunities missed that could offset growing demand? Are there other, environmentally preferable standards for construction and operation than what’s being proposed? What does it cost, both to construct and to mitigate?

The Trustees advocates for public and private conservation land, and for the environmental laws and policies that protect these lands. Decision makers need to hear about the decades of intentional land conservation in our Commonwealth, sophisticated environmental analysis tools available, and about the ecological, recreational, and historic values of protected land.

Right Sizing Energy Infrastructure Letter to New England Governors
Conservation Letter to Governor Baker

We are also asking that energy generation and use questions be answered. We have asked decision makers to ensure that our energy infrastructure is the right size for our needs and that conservation land is protected. The Massachusetts Attorney General has found that additional natural gas pipeline capacity for energy reliability is not necessary and that our needs can be met by increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. Read the report here.
 

MAJOR PIPELINE PROJECTS
 
Access Northeast
This project was withdrawn in spring of 2017.  The company had sought to finance the project with ratepayer funds, but the MA Supreme Judicial Court ruled that this was not allowed. Spectra Energy/Algonquin Gas Transmission, in partnership with Eversource and National Grid, sought to expand 125 miles of Algonquin’s pipeline system. This project would connect to gas-fired electric power plants. The 26 miles of proposed new pipeline would cross roughly 47 parcels of protected open space, including Upton State Forest and The Trustees Moose Hill Farm in Sharon. This project includes two lateral, or spur, lines and a large new Liquefied Natural Gas storage facility in Acushnet. Read more here.

Connecticut Expansion
Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is expand by 4 miles an existing pipeline, in Otis State Forest, to create storage capacity for Connecticut customers. Project plans call for withdrawal of one million gallons of water from a pristine pond, which would be used to test the pipeline, and construction would impact roughly 29 acres of the forest. There is no public benefit associated with this project, and the Massachusetts legislature declined to grant Kinder Morgan access to this public land. Kinder Morgan sued the Commonwealth for eminent domain and won and construction has begun as of spring 2017. Read more here.
           
Northeast Energy Direct
This major Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. project was withdrawn in May, 2016.  The company had proposed a new pipeline system that would run from NY through MA and NH delivering 1.2 billion cubic feet/day of fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale.  Much of that gas would have been for export.  In Massachusetts alone, over 25% of the route crossed conservation land, impacting more than 100 parcels of protected lands including The Trustees Notchview Reservation.  Read more about our work on this pipeline here.