February 8, 2016
FERC: Hold Your Horses!

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Kinder Morgan filed this letter with FERC’s docket for the Connecticut Expansion pipeline project (Docket #CP14-529).  They’re asking for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to be approved by February 29, 2016, so that they can complete tree-cutting by the March 31 deadline required by the Federal Endangered Species Act to protect bats.

COMMENT on FERC Docket #CP14-529 TODAY to tell FERC to hold their horses and not rush to meet Kinder Morgan’s unrealistic demands.

There are several reasons why FERC should ignore this request for an expedited decision on the pipeline project:

The required Water Quality 404 certificate from the Army Corp of Engineers has not been approved.

The required Water Quality 401 certificate has not been approved by Massachusetts. According to FERC’s recent decisions on the Constitution pipeline, tree-cutting in NY could not be allowed until that project’s 401 WQC was passed in that state. Not only same rule should apply for this pipeline project, but FERC should be pressed to go one better and not allow tree cutting ANYWHERE on the project, not just in states where the WQC has not been approved.

Article 97-protected lands have not been disposed for development. The CT Expansion project would cut directly through Otis State Forest in Massachusetts. This is land protected by Article 97 of the MA State Constitution. Releasing this land from its conservation restriction would require a 2/3 vote of BOTH houses of the MA Legislature, a vote that has stalled in committee with no vote in sight. FERC should make disposition of Article 97 lands provisional to approval of ANY pipeline in Massachusetts.

The question of whether or not the project is actually needed has not been determined. The Connecticut local distribution companies (LDCs) are downgrading their need projections. They have not converted nearly as many customers to natural gas heating as they have projected (which is what the need is based upon) and with the price of oil dropping, they are very unlikely to do so.

The question of whether the CT Expansion and Northeast Energy Direct projects are truly separate projects has not been addressed.

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