Mass Audubon’s Pipeline Project Engagement - Connecticut Expansion Project
The Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is also proposing a four-mile expansion of existing pipelines in southwestern Massachusetts, with the gas dedicated to serving CT customers. This project would cross lands that Mass Audubon assisted the Department of Conservation and Recreation in protecting in 2007 at Otis State Forest in Sandisfield.
- We submitted comments on the project to FERC
- Comments on NED and CT Expansion Impact Statement Notice of Intent
- Comments on CT Expansion Environmental Assessment
- Submitted comments to the Baker administration on the Final Environmental Impact Report.
- Testified in opposition to legislation that would remove protections on state-owned parklands within the proposed project site, and requested that the legislation be withdrawn.
- Submitted an amicus brief in support of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office for their defense against the project, due to its attempt to remove protections on state land designated for permanent conservation.
When the trial court ruled against the AG’s office, we encouraged them to appeal, but unfortunately the chances of a successful appeal under the federal Natural Gas Act were low. If the appeal had failed, the state would only have been compensated for a fraction of the project’s mitigation costs.
For this reason, the AG’s office settled out of court, negotiating a settlement of $640,000 for compensation to the state for conservation land taken by eminent domain during the construction of the pipeline (see TGPC v. Commonwealth Joint Motion).
The company will also have to identify and acquire additional conservation land “that provides ecological functions equivalent to the land impacted by the pipeline” such as the nearly two miles of pipeline through pristine Otis State Forest. Although we were not involved in any stages of the negotiations, Mass Audubon was ultimately satisfied with the final outcome and will monitor its implementation.