Our Opinion: Air taken out of pipeline plan

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The weak case for the proposed Kinder-Morgan pipeline through the state grew considerably weaker on Wednesday.

An independent study released by the office of state Attorney General Maura Healey concluded that new natural gas pipelines are not needed to meet the state and region's energy needs, including peak winter electricity demand. The absence of clear need, combined with the environmental dangers posed by pipelines and by the extraction and burning of fracked gas, leaves little in the way of an argument for the proposed pipeline through the Berkshires to Dracut in eastern Massachusetts.

Kinder-Morgan's indignant response to the independent report has no credibility because its sole motive in building a pipeline is its profit margin. As the AG noted in Thursday's Eagle, it is electricity ratepayers who would foot the bill for this massive project.

Natural gas "shortages" cited by the energy giant are always questionable because of the ease in which they can be manufactured. However, should the state and region be confronted by a shortfall at some point, a pipeline expansion project following the Atlantic Coast north to New England that has been proposed by a Kinder-Morgan rival would, its own negatives aside, be less environmentally destructive than the plan to be carried out through Massachusetts by Tennessee Gas, a Kinder-Morgan subsidiary.

Increased energy efficiency and expanded green energy are clearly better options that a needless doubling down on destructive fossil fuel technology. Ms. Healey has sent the independent report along to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will make the decision to approve or reject the Kinder-Morgan plan, and we urge FERC to take the report seriously, along with the genuine concerns of Berkshire residents, in particular those in the project's path.


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