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September 22nd, 2016:

As Connecticut Pushes Forward on Natural Gas Expansion, Some Push Back

American Energy Coalition - September 22nd, 2016

Residents, environmentalists and public officials are working to halt plans to expand natural gas pipelines and related facilities in Connecticut, according to a recent article in Connecticut Magazine.

The article highlights a plan to build a “natural gas infusion station” in Andover, CT, which would have 16 truck bays where gas transport trucks would inject compressed natural gas into the pipeline. The station is “in some ways just one battleground in a fight taking place all over Connecticut, the region and the country,” the article states. “Connecticut is one of several states in New England pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to increase capacity for the transport, storage and burning of natural gas. … A keystone of this strategy is a project, known as Atlantic Bridge, to expand the capacity of the existing Algonquin natural gas pipeline.” The Algonquin pipeline, which cuts a diagonal path under towns across Connecticut from Danbury to the northeast corner, is owned and operated by North American energy giant Spectra Energy. Amid the growing movement toward increasing natural gas capacity, there is also increasing opposition from homeowners, environmentalists and some politicians, including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.”

Andover resident Barbara Hallisey told Connecticut Magazine her main concern with the infusion station project is safety. “She is worried about gas leaks, and the traffic of the trucks along Route 6, a single-lane highway with a 50-mph speed limit known for fatal accidents,” the article states.

The pipeline expansion project is also facing criticism over an alleged conflict of interest. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates gas pipeline projects, hired a contractor, Natural Resource Group (NRG), to conduct an environmental assessment of the pipeline proposal. Published reports indicate that NRG has undisclosed previous financial relationship with Spectra Energy, the company behind the Atlantic Bridge project.

Following the revelations, Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey wrote a letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay asking for a new environmental impact statement using a contractor “free from any ties to the industry that could … call its objectivity into question.” New York State’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have also called on FERC to delay the expansion of the Algonquin system in New York State. “I have serious concerns with the Algonquin gas pipeline project because it poses a threat to the quality of life, environmental, health and safety of residents across the Hudson Valley and New York state,” Schumer wrote in the letter.

To read the Connecticut Magazine article, click here.

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