Letter: Don't buy Kinder Morgan's case
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
To try to make a case for building a high-pressure natural gas pipeline through Massachusetts, Kinder Morgan's website for Northeast Energy Direct says that energy prices last winter (2013-14) were "twice as high" as the previous winter (2012-13). According to Kinder Morgan, the demand for power is so high that we need an additional 2 billion cubic feet per day of pipeline capacity.
However, other sources suggest that Kinder Morgan is, to put it charitably, seriously mistaken. New England electricity growth is modest according to ISO-New England.
Power plants are being retired. The large 1,500 MW Brayton Point Power Station, a coal- fired plant in Rhode Island, will close in 2017. The Providence Journal ( October 8, 2013) said the plant will close because "the price of natural gas, coal's chief competitor these days, is historically low. Overall demand for power is weak. ..."
The U. S. Energy Information Administration at www.eia.gov has a Short-Term Energy Outlook reporting that U.S. natural gas consumption in the power sector is expected to increase from 22.1 Bcf/d in 2014 to 22.8 Bcf/d in 2015 due to lower natural gas prices and retirement of some coal plants. This is a whopping three percent increase (yes, 3 percent).
At the same time, the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline through Massachusetts is intended to move nearly 10 percent of the total U.S. demand for natural gas. Kinder Morgan plans to send a great deal of gas through New England - but not necessarily for New Englanders' use. Can we spell "natural gas exports" boys and girls? Also, Kinder Morgan intends for us to reimburse it for the cost of its pipeline out of the pockets of New England's electricity customers.
Opposition to this pipeline has grown from the grass-roots upward. State and federal officials are getting on board and asking Kinder Morgan for answers, but the company has shared few specifics beyond telling some homeowners that the proposed pipeline would run much too close to their houses. If you think this is someone else's fight because you are not near the proposed pipeline's route, guess again. Kinder Morgan charts show "laterals" branching off the pipeline. One is called the " North Adams lateral." Perhaps it would route that across "inconsequential" land such as the Ashuwillticook Trail.
Let your legislators know how you feel about fueling Kinder Morgan profits at our expense.
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