Natural Gas Pipeline Proposal

Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline

UPDATE: On April 20, 2016 Kinder Morgan announced that they would suspend all work on their proposed natural gas pipeline project. In May, 2016, I was notified that Kinder Morgan had officially withdrawn their application for the pipeline from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the project has been terminated.


The energy transportation company Kinder Morgan has filed a proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) for a new natural gas pipeline that would run approximately 250 miles through New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire also known as the Northeast Energy Direct project. The proposed route of the main line and laterals crosses through 30 towns in Massachusetts, including 5 communities in the Third District. Kinder Morgan hopes to receive all the necessary permit approvals by late 2016, and put the pipeline into service in late 2018.

As of December 2015, Kinder Morgan has completed a series of “Open Houses” in Massachusetts required by FERC. FERC has completed the first of their “scoping” meetings which allow the agency to obtain in-person public input to determine what topics should be examined in their Environmental Impact Statement. However, FERC is still accepting comments and wants to hear from the public via letters and e-comments. More information on how to file public comments can be found below.  Kinder Morgan has officially filed an application with FERC entering a lengthy review process of the application and initiating the draft of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which will require the project to follow all Federal environmental, safety, and conservation regulations.

My position

New England, like many areas around the country, faces energy challenges. We need careful and strategic long-term planning in order to lower energy prices and maintain reliability. Many residents and businesses are having difficulties absorbing the increasing costs of electricity in place for the winter months of 2015-2016.

Increasing access to reliable sources of natural gas could help address some of New England’s energy challenges, including energy prices which have historically been above the national average, however there is no guarantee. Like all large infrastructure projects with the potential for significant environmental degradation, proposals for new natural gas pipelines must be closely scrutinized.

I have heard from hundreds of Third District residents expressing their concerns with the proposed Kinder Morgan project.  Kinder Morgan has responded to the concerns of communities and natural resource organizations and reduced the impact of the pipeline on public and private conservation land by routing along an established utility corridor, which is a step in a positive direction. There are, however, a number of remaining concerns, including the effects of compressor and metering stations, how quarry blasting would affect the pipeline, as well as the proposed route passing through historic local farm land, Article 97 Conservation land, wildlife management areas, wetlands, and across drinking water supplies or wells. We have a long-standing history in the Commonwealth of preserving natural habitats and protecting open spaces for the public benefit. Kinder Morgan’s proposed route has the potential to greatly disrupt the quality of life for citizens and wildlife alike. 

In addition, Massachusetts’ environmental regulations and endangered species designations often go above and beyond Federal designations and requirements due to our desire to retain these precious species. These species include the blue-spotted salamander, wood turtle, Blanding's turtle, American bittern, and the brook floater. Environmental mitigation efforts during construction of the pipeline would not guarantee that wildlife is not negatively impacted.

For these reasons, I have written to both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Kinder Morgan expressing my continued concerns of the proposed route.

I have made a series of requests to FERC asking the agency to ensure that the public process be open and robust so that all concerns are appropriately studied, that FERC undertake a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and that FERC hold multiple hearings in the Third District. FERC responded to my letter stating that they will conduct a full and comprehensive EIS and are committed to fully engaging the public throughout the project review period, including via public hearings.  I have joined my colleague, Congressman McGovern, to request a delay in Kinder Morgan’s open houses so that our impacted constituents could have more time to review the proposed route before open house meetings begin.  Additionally, I have signed a letter with my Congressional colleagues from New England to FERC requesting that the agency conduct a regional review of the various natural gas projects in New England in order to ensure New England is not overbuilding our fossil fuel infrastructure.

Recently, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office conducted a study of the New England electric grid and determined that the electric grid will remain secure even under “stressed” conditions until 2024-2025. Changes in demand response and further investment in energy efficiency can help better secure our grid, improving reliability, and reducing the cost to the electric ratepayer. I have asked FERC to take into consideration the results of the Attorney General’s study.

I have been monitoring the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline matter closely. Members of my staff regularly attend community meetings and have engaged with local organizations and individuals about the proposed line. I will continue to keep a close eye on the role the federal government is playing to oversee the proposal.  And, I will continue to be a voice to FERC to ensure that their review process is comprehensive, open and transparent to the public and fully considers the concerns of the residents I represent.

What you can do

Kinder Morgan filed their formal application with FERC on November 20, 2015. FERC is the federal regulatory body that oversees pipelines and energy projects that have interstate impacts. The company has now entered into a review process and will be required to respond to concerns raised by the public and undergo environmental reviews through the Environmental Impact Statement, which will include consultations from Federal agencies such as the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regarding safety and environmental concerns. There will also be public comment periods after FERC publishes the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. During these comment periods, any individual or organization may submit comments and concerns.  These submissions are crucial to FERC’s environmental review process to identify the public’s concerns and document public feedback to the proposal. Project concerns can also be voiced at the second round of FERC’s scoping meetings which will be hosted after the release of the Draft EIS. Identifying specific concerns FERC can examine in the environmental review process is the best way to insure your concerns are heard by Federal regulators.  Additionally, FERC has published a Citizen's Guide to Pipelines as a source of information on the regulatory approval process and information for landowners to better understand their rights regarding proposed pipelines. This guide can be found online at: or a paper copy may be requested from FERC's Office of External Affairs at 202-502-8004. 

FERC has also set up an e-subscription service on its website. This e-subscription will automatically email all documents that are filed in relation to the project, including announcements of public comment periods and official FERC scoping meetings. In order to sign up, you must create a FERC online account at this website and request documents for Docket Number CP16-21. For those who do not have readily available Internet access, you can file comments on the project with FERC by addressing postal letters to:

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20426

Kinder Morgan will also have to work with a number of Massachusetts regulatory agencies including the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and various divisions within the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs throughout the siting and permitting process.  The Energy Facilities Siting Board is the nine-member review board responsible for licensing the construction of major energy infrastructure in Massachusetts, including pipelines, and represents Massachusetts throughout the FERC review process. Charged with ensuring a reliable energy supply for the Commonwealth, the Board attempts to minimize the impact on the environment at the lowest possible cost. All Siting Board meetings are open to the public and constituents are encouraged to attend. Additional information on the Energy Facilities Siting Board can be found in their online handbook: