A plan to have utility ratepayers pay 75 percent of the $6 billion to $8 billion cost of building Kinder Morgan’s proposed natural gas pipeline into New England is “rife with risk and downside,” according to two executives of the Conservation Law Foundation.
CLF Vice Presidents Greg Cunningham and Rafael Mares wrote recently in CommonWealth magazine that, “Kinder Morgan and its gas industry compatriot, Spectra Energy, are insisting that the electric consumers of Massachusetts and the rest of New England pay for 75 percent of the bill. This kind of forced consumer investment in highly volatile gas markets is unprecedented, and for good reason.”
“The massive pipeline proposed would contribute nothing (literally, nothing) to our energy grid for over 300 days a year,” they wrote. “As currently managed, our existing infrastructure provides more than enough capacity year-round except for a few dozen peak days each year, and those peak days can be addressed with improved management that includes fixing leaks to our current pipelines, better utilizing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage we already have available, and building out our renewable power alternatives. A CLF study by gas consultant Skipping Stone concludes that this approach will meet our gas needs through 2030 and save consumers $340 million a year and $4.4 billion over 20 years.
“So why does Kinder Morgan, which in 2014 already had one-third of the natural gas that moved in the United States pass through its assets, really want this pipeline?” the writers asked. “Transporting this much gas through a region where it won’t be needed sets up Kinder Morgan to use this pipeline to export gas to Europe, further padding the company’s pockets on the backs of Massachusetts residents.”
The writers noted that Pennsylvania and New York have already seen an “enormous proliferation of gas and pipelines,” yet last winter energy prices in both areas surpassed those in New England. “It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now,” they added.
“A growing body of evidence—topped by a November 2015 report done on behalf of the Massachusetts Attorney General—demonstrates undeniably that more natural gas capacity is not needed and any claims to the contrary are more fallacy and delusion than sound economics.”
On top of the countless economic arguments against further build-out of gas pipelines, the environmental impacts of Kinder Morgan’s proposal would be equally disastrous, the article states. “Spending billions of dollars on pipeline expansion will beget more gas plants, more gas leaks, and more carbon dioxide spewing into our atmosphere for generations to come,” the CLF executives stated.
To read the CommonWealth article, click here.
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