Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines
Two interstate natural gas pipelines were proposed in Berkshire County in winter, 2014. These are major construction projects which impact multiple communities, are highly controversial, and are permitted through a complex legal process at the Federal level through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. BRPC assisted our municipalities in participating in the process in a meaningful and useful manner.
Connecticut Expansion Project
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company has proposed the construction of 3.8 miles of new 36-inch within or adjacent to the existing Tennessee Gas right-of-way in Sandisfield. The proposed project will also construct appurtenant facilities to be located within the existing ROW, including facilities for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline such as mainline valves, blowdown valves, pig launchers, pig receivers and other valves and piping. The proposed project would require withdrawal of more than one million gallons of water from Lower Spectacle Pond in Sandisfield for a hydrostatic test of the assembled pipeline. Construction of the pipeline loops is expected to last for three to four months. The new pipeline in Sandisfield will create a pipeline loop (the "Massachusetts Loop") along the existing Tennessee Gas 200 Line. The purpose of a loop is to increase the volume of gas that can be transported along an existing section of pipeline. BRPC is participating in the review of the permitting process.
Northeast Energy Direct Project
Kinder Morgan had proposed the construction of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Energy Direct Project to cross through some cities, towns and watershed land in Berkshire County. The pipeline had the potential to create both short and long term impacts to municipalities and districts in those communities where it would be finally located. Short term impacts could have included such items as impacts to roads from heavy equipment or impacts to environmental resources, such as drinking water supply wells if blasting was required. Longer term, communities and districts would need to be able to adequately respond to emergencies, should an emergency related to the pipeline occur. There may have been other impacts as well.
BRPC wanted to ensure that communities were prepared to minimize or address the potential short and long term impacts from the proposed pipeline to protect the communities’ interests should the pipeline be built. BRPC monitored the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) licensing process, provided educational services, and provided legal and other technical assistance to municipalities.
On May 23, 2016, Kinder Morgan withdrew their application to FERC for the Northeast Energy Direct Project, as a result of inadequate capacity commitments from prospective customers and a determination that the project is uneconomic.
The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission provided legal and technical assistance to municipalities related to the project Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Direct Project.
Helpful Links Regarding Gas Pipelines:
Information regarding both pipeline projects proposed within Berkshire County can be found through the eLibrary at www.ferc.gov.
Connecticut Expansion Project
Docket No. CP14-529-000
Northeast Energy Direct
Docket No. PF14-22-000
Handbooks for states, local government units, non-governmental organizations and landowners on how the FERC pipeline certification process works:
“Knowing and Protecting Your Rights When an Interstate Gas Pipeline Comes to Your Community”
Prepared by Carolyn Elefant,
Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, Washington D.C.
“An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?”
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Pipeline Safety Trust:
The Pipeline Safety Trust is a nonprofit public charity promoting pipeline safety through education and advocacy by increasing access to information, and by building partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government, and industry, that result in safer communities and a healthier environment.
Pipeline Safety Trust website: http://pstrust.org/