Written on: February 17, 2017

Consumer, Environmental Groups Say Natural Gas Pipeline Plan Has Less Demand, Higher Costs

A proposed pipeline project to bring more natural gas into Connecticut and New England will cost double what its developers claim and may be needed far less than energy officials believe, according to a new anti-pipeline study reported recently in the Hartford Courant.

The report, commissioned by environmental and consumer groups in Connecticut and Massachusetts, estimated the long-term cost of a proposed Access Northeast pipeline at $6.6 billion, twice what the backers of the project estimate, according to the article.

Demand for natural gas to produce electricity at New England’s generating plants is expected to drop 27 percent over the next six years, the study’s authors found, “leaving the proposed pipelines underused and unneeded.”

“This report tears apart every argument that the pipeline proponents have made,” said Martha Klein, chairwoman of the Sierra Club of Connecticut. “The people of Connecticut deserve real solutions that look to the future, not more unneeded fracked gas pipelines that contribute to global warming and harm our environment,” Klein said.

The Access Northeast project has been stalled since last year because of major funding issues, the article states. A court ruling in Massachusetts and an administrative decision in New Hampshire rejected a plan to charge electricity ratepayers in those states for significant portions of the costs of such projects.

“Without financing from ratepayers in other states, Connecticut energy officials dropped their plans to support the project to dramatically expand the existing Algonquin pipeline running through Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut,” the Courant wrote.