Markey cited solar and wind power as future drivers of the economy and he questioned why the Trump administration did not see it as a source of jobs for unemployed workers, especially the blue-collar workers Trump purports to represent.
Following nearly four years of struggle against a powerful company (Kinder Morgan and its subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline) backed by laws and a Federal commission, it seems that now is an appropriate point to judge performances of the various participants and agencies that could have made more of a difference to avoid this calamity.
“In the face of ongoing climate change, it is crystal clear that [our] responsibility [to protect the earth] requires us to reject all fossil fuel infrastructure construction, no matter how small or large the project may be.”
— Irvine Sobleman of Northampton, a member of the Sugar Shack Alliance
Congressman Richard Neal has demanded that decisions made by FERC regarding the Connecticut Expansion Project be deferred until a quorum of FERC commissioners is reached and all vacant FERC commissioner seats are filled: “It is my belief that the rehearing [on the permit] should occur before a single tree is cleared and construction on this project commences.”
Depressed consumer demand for natural gas in Connecticut, could yet save beleaguered Article 97 of the Massachusetts’ Constitution. Reduced demand for gas in Connecticut could allow Massachusetts to continue to protect pristine, specially designated Commonwealth terrain.
Superior Court Judge John Agostini had ruled that federal law trumps state law in such cases and applied eminent domain, allowing Tennessee Gas to have the easement in Otis State Forest, despite Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, that protects old-growth forests from development.
“Trump doesn’t like to lose. If he doesn’t make renewables a priority, he will lose to the countries that are working to be clean energy leaders.” — Maya van Rossum, head of Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Suspension of the NED project will not, it appears, have any effect on Tennessee Gas’ Connecticut Expansion Project, a pipeline storage loop that requires a slice of Massachusetts-owned and protected land in Sandisfield, Massachusetts.
If Kinder Morgan had taken a close look at the Commonwealth before launching NED, the company would have seen that Massachusetts has cut energy demand so dramatically that it has little need for more natural gas.
The situation in Sandisfield is fast becoming a precedent-setting testing ground for the power and teeth of Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution that preserves state-protected land. That’s why the Attorney General is now involved.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is now requiring, among other things, clarification “that Tennessee would not fell trees in areas where it has not obtained an easement or purchase of property…including lands protected under Article 97 of the Massachusetts State Constitution.”
“This is very exciting news. While very few people see the need for this gas line, all that we have ever asked of Kinder Morgan and FERC is to follow the process, be open and be fair to this beautiful community of 800 residents.” — State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli
“The purchase of this spectacular property [Otis State Forest] ensures its lasting protection and is an example of our prudent investment in the Commonwealth’s rare and irreplaceable natural resources.”
— Gov. Deval Patrick, in 2007
“We’ve been FERC’ed!”
— Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, upon learning that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had approved a Tennessee Gas Pipeline route through the protected lands of Otis State Forest in March of 2016
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has extended the deadline for commenting and for intervening as a party to the proceedings to January 15 at 5 p.m. Intervener status allows full participation in hearings on Northeast Direct (NED), including cross-examination and the submission of briefs.
The clean energy think-tank, Acadia Center, released a three-part report in June concluding that New England is not facing an energy crisis. And the Maine PUC is investigating whether a publicly-funded interstate pipeline, such as the Kinder Morgan pipeline, is legal.
The general public has not been included in the development of energy projects, and in the words of the Conservation Law Foundation, “formulation of and negotiations around [energy] proposals have been conducted almost completely behind closed doors.”
The proposed pipeline route travels through an estimated 20 state-protected wildlife management areas and state forests, municipal watershed protection areas, the reservations and sanctuaries of The Trustees and Mass Audubon, and the Appalachian Trail.