Our Opinion: Better Kinder-Morgan plan also generates skepticism

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The decision of the Kinder-Morgan board of directors to downsize its pipeline project is good news for the Berkshires, at least on the surface. It also reinforces skepticism that the project is needed at all.

The parent company of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline subsidiary would reduce the size of the pipeline from 36 to 30 inches as it makes its way from upstate New York to Dracut, north of Lowell (Eagle, July 18). The lower volume of gas would mean that the compressor station proposed for Windsor would be reduced in size by roughly half. Kinder-Morgan reserves the option to expand in the future, which would require the filing and approval of amended plans.

The new plan anticipates a capacity of 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, compared to as much as 2.2 billion cubic feet projected earlier in the process. It is apparent Kinder-Morgan is not getting the customer demand it expected, which is not surprising. There are other regional pipeline projects that could serve real needs without disrupting the state, and power demands are declining throughout New England.

The Kinder-Morgan plan has improved as it has evolved, first by following existing power lines and now by becoming smaller in scope. It would still be disruptive, however, could become more disruptive, and The Eagle continues to doubt its necessity.

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