By William Opalka
Kinder Morgan has scaled back a natural gas pipeline proposed for New England, but the changes will have little effect on the overall project to supply power plants and home-heating utilities.
Kinder Morgan filed an updated plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 2 for its Northeast Energy Direct project, saying it was eliminating local laterals and related facilities due to the inability to sign up utilities to support those spurs. “We just don’t have the customers,” Allen Fore, vice president of government affairs at Kinder Morgan, told The Boston Globe.
The pipeline is planned to run from New York through northern Massachusetts, cut into New Hampshire and return to Massachusetts, where it will terminate in Dracut.
Kinder Morgan, the parent of project developer Tennessee Gas Pipeline, said it is eliminating a nearly 15-mile spur through seven Massachusetts towns and a 1-mile spur in Connecticut, along with a new meter station and modifications at three existing stations.
Remaining in the project are 37 miles of laterals running off the main line, which will mostly follow existing rights-of-way.
“This revised scope, which will be reflected in Tennessee’s next draft environmental report filing, will allow Tennessee to meet the needs for all the shippers that have executed binding precedent agreements for the project,” the company wrote (PF14-22).
The pipelines are controversial because they would import fracked shale gas from Pennsylvania and be funded by utility ratepayers. (See New England Governors Revise Energy Strategy.)
Kinder Morgan said the pipeline could bring more than 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day into the region. It plans to file a second draft of its environmental report next month and a final pipeline application with FERC in October.