May 282014

Proposed Northeast Expansion Project pipeline routeMassPLAN

Proposed Northeast Expansion Project pipeline route

The Groton Board of Selectmen has set up two information sessions about a proposed 36-inch natural gas pipeline that would pass through Groton on its way from Albany, New York to Dracut, Massachusetts. The underground pipeline has been proposed by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline company, a unit of the Kinder Morgan company, to deliver more natural gas to New England and Atlantic Canada. In Groton, the preliminary route would traverse the northern edge of town from west to east between Pepperell and Dunstable. It would cross land owned by the Conservation Commission, and a relatively unused part of the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School campus grounds, as well as private property including some owned by the Groton Conservation Trust.

The first briefing on the “Northeast Expansion Project” is tomorrow, Thursday, May 29, at 7 p.m., Board of Selectmen Chairman Peter Cunningham will moderate an hourlong presentation of information the town has received from Kinder Morgan and other information it has pulled together. That will be followed by an hour of questions and comments from the audience. The meeting is at the Groton Country Club, 94 Lovers Lane, and will be televised on the local access channel.

“Thursday night, one of the primary presenters will be (President) Ken Hartlage from the Nashoba Conservation Trust. He was involved in a presentation they gave in Pepperell a few weeks back and he has a PowerPoint. This is all just informational — just on what it proposed, what the process is — we’ll lay that out — he’ll be doing that,” Cunningham said.

“Then Kevin Kelly from GELD (Groton Electric Light Department) is going to talk about what is driving the need for this pipeline, and that is specifically that there is not enough gas up here for all the individual homeowners for heating and stuff but also for power generation.”

“And the third presenter — we’ll have someone from Town Counsel (Kopelman and Paige) come out and talk about the legal aspects of this, and the process whereby Kinder Morgan can apply to the Department of Public Utilities to come on your property and survey it, getting the permits to do the project, and then also talk a little bit about what compensation homeowners may be entitled to,” he said.

The second session is penciled in for June 23, and will include presentations by Kinder Morgan representatives, Cunningham said. Dawn Dunbar, in the Town Manager’s office, said that some details on the session still need to be confirmed before it is formally scheduled. The location is tentatively set as the Lawrence Academy auditorium. Kinder Morgan media relations spokespeople wrote in an email that “We just confirmed today that we will be meeting with Groton on June 23rd.”

It took more than a month to get any information from Kinder Morgan, Town Planner Michelle Collette said a week ago. Phone calls from her and other town officials to Kinder Morgan weren’t returned, and the town had received only a background document and a request that the Conservation Commission allows surveyors access to its land in February (Download the February documents here.).

What The Town Knows

The most recent information from Kinder Morgan that the town has received is posted on the town website. This link does not include a map the town received Tuesday, May 27, detailing the route from the Nashua River crossing to Dunstable, which traverses the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School campus.

Kinder Morgan Website Summary

To address the need for additional pipeline infrastructure and firm transportation service in the Northeast United States, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. is developing its Northeast Expansion Project (the “Project”). In response to significant interest from local distribution companies, electric generators, industrial end users and developers of liquefied natural gas projects in New England and Atlantic Canada, Tennessee is holding an open season to solicit requests for service on new capacity which can be sized from approximately 600,000 Mcf per day (“Mcf/d”) up to 2.2 Bcf per day (“Bcf/d”) (“Project TQ”).

With Tennessee’s ability to expand its system to provide significant volumes at competitive rates, the Project is of sufficient scale to address the long-term energy needs of New England and Atlantic Canada by providing access to abundant new supplies from the Marcellus and Utica supply areas. Recent initiatives by the New England Governors and the New England States Committee on Electricity suggest that adding these significant volumes to Northeast markets should provide sufficient incremental supply to lower the price of gas in New England energy markets and enhance reliability of gas and electricity grids. In addition to its unique access to the abundant new regional supplies, Tennessee offers unparalleled supply diversity across its thousands of miles of pipeline from South Texas to New England.

Additional (Anti) Pipeline Information Sources

  1. The Nashoba Conservation Trust and several other groups have adopted varying levels of opposition to the pipeline or questions about it. Some information is available on the trust’s website.
  2. The Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network’s (MassPLAN) website is dedicated to the project.
  3. Berkshires-based No Fracked Gas in Massachusetts handed out fliers at Groton polling places last week, and has dedicated its website to pipeline opposition.