Please help us, and our friends at PLAN-NE, get out the word that FERC is not the only game in town.
As you may know, the recently formed Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast, Inc. (PLAN-NE) is engaging in state regulatory proceedings to challenge Kinder Morgan’s contracts with local gas distribution companies such as National Grid, Liberty Utilities, Berkshire Gas, and Columbia Gas. These sort of contracts are what FERC would look at to determine whether Kinder Morgan has established a “need” (market demand) for the pipeline. If Kinder Morgan does not receive state approval for each of these contracts, we believe it will be very difficult for them to proceed with the project. So far, technical review suggests that “need” is seriously overstated.
In order to strengthen the position of PLAN-NE as an intervenor in these proceedings, we want as many members as possible. We will not need to disclose your identity, but it is important that we be able to attest to the fact that we have ratepayers and affected landowners among our membership. While there is not a minimum financial contribution required to become a member, we do need funding to proceed. (MassPLAN is helping to fund this effort, so if you have previously given to the MassPLAN Legal Fund, your contribution is helping to pay for these legal costs.)
***Please become a member of PLAN-NE today by filling out this form!
***We also would like to collaborate with municipalities that are interested in intervening, and we can schedule a meeting with our attorney, Richard Kanoff, if this is something your municipal leaders would like to discuss.
***What else you can do:
– File your own comments by May 5th per the official notice in the Columbia Gas and National Grid DPU proceedings.
– Email your comments to:
- the hearing officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assistant Attorney General email@example.com
- the DPU Chair, Angie O’Connor, firstname.lastname@example.org
- DPU commissioner email@example.com
- DPU commissioner firstname.lastname@example.org
- and your legislators.
– Participate in the hearing in Boston on May 7th.
The Docket Numbers to reference pertaining to these NED contracts (called “precedent agreements”) are DPU Docket No. 15-39 (Columbia Gas), 15-34 (National Grid), and 15-48 (Berkshire Gas – comments due May 22nd for this one; hearing May 26th).
Basic talking points:
– If you are a gas ratepayer with any of these companies, specify which one
– If you are an affected landowner, specify
– Ask that hearings also be held in the service areas for these companies
– Express your array of concerns regarding this oversized “solution” — environmental, economic, etc.
– A targeted solution to reduce winter demand peaks would allow the utilities to expand their customer bases. The only capacity constraints we have heard about are during winter peak demand times (a few hours per day, a dozen or so days per year). These solutions include seriously addressing leaks in the distribution systems and helping with insulation and weatherization, as well as increased storage of alternative fuels for peak demand.
– Request a stay of these precedent agreement proceedings until DPU Docket No. 15-37 has resolved the regulatory and legal framework relating to possible longterm contracts by electrical distribution companies. The outcome of this investigation could be a game changer in terms of the viability of Kinder Morgan’s proposal. Docket No. 15-37 is an investigation “into the means by which new natural gas delivery capacity may be added to the New England market, including actions to be taken by the electric distribution companies.” In other words, a major question on the table is how to get electric ratepayers to pay for new gas infrastructure (in addition to funding by gas ratepayers in conjunction with the precedent agreements currently under review).
And please share this message with your local network.