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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Victory: Kinder Morgan Nixes New England Pipeline Plan

'This is a project that no one wanted, and this is a fitting end to the story'
Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has suspended its plans to build a fracked gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, citing poor demand for its gas in a statement (pdf) released late Wednesday. 

Pipeline opponents are cheering the decision.

The pipeline would have cost over $3 billion and spanned nearly 200 miles, according to the Boston Globe.

"I read the announcement from Kinder Morgan that they had suspended their process" for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, said Bob Hamilton, chairman of the board of selectmen in Rindge, N.H., which was on the pipeline's route. "I led the room in a happy dance."

"They said that we would welcome them with open arms, and it was the opposite," Elisa Benincaso of Rindge told New Hampshire's WMUR.

Kinder Morgan had threatened to seize private land by eminent domain to build the pipeline, as the Berkshire Eagle reported, and people living on the route had so opposed the project that they had barred company officials from their property, organized multiple protest marches, and even constructed a replica of Henry David Thoreau's Walden cabin to block the pipeline's path.

"In its decision to suspend further work on the NED pipeline, Kinder Morgan recognized what has been clear for some time, that the project was too big and too costly for Massachusetts ratepayers," said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to the Lowell Sun.

Healey released a report (pdf) last year that found Massachusetts residents did not need more pipelines to meet their energy needs, a study Kinder Morgan officials dismissed out of hand and called "seriously flawed," the Lowell Sun reports.

"This is a project that no one wanted, and this is a fitting end to the story," said Judith Breselor, a legislator representing New York's Rensselaer County, where Kinder Morgan had been planning to build a 41,000-horsepower compressor station.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren weighed in on Kinder Morgan's decision in a statement:
This announcement confirms what our citizens have been saying since the beginning—this project simply isn't necessary to meet our energy needs. The Kinder Morgan pipeline was the wrong project at the wrong time, but as Massachusetts works to modernize our energy system and ensure that prices remain affordable for families and businesses, it is urgent that we upgrade aging infrastructure and invest in clean technologies of the future.
"Today's victory proves once again that protecting our communities, our health, and our climate is not partisan issue and that people power can and will defeat corporate polluters," said director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign Lena Moffit.

"Projects like Northeast Energy Direct pipeline in New England or the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas terminal in Oregon are not needed, and only serve to perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels," Moffit argued. "Instead, we must leave dirty fuels in the ground and continue to invest in wind and solar to secure a clean energy future."