Note from Chapter President David Glater: our Chapter meeting on October 27, 2014, featured a presentation on "NED" - the proposed New England Direct gas transmission pipeline that would run across northern Massachusetts from the New York State border to Dracut, MA. The presentation focused on the anticipated environmental impacts of pipeline construction and operation, especially its effects on cold water fisheries. GBTU Chapter member Parker Llywellyn took notes on this presentation, and is making them available to Chapter members who were unable to attend the meeting.
Greater Boston Trout Unlimited Chapter Meeting
October 27, 2014
Program notes re NED - the proposed natural gas transmission pipeline running from west to east across Northern Massachusetts.
The meeting featured a presentation by Jim Cutler and Mark Burton on the environmental implications of the proposed New England Direct (NED) gas transmission pipeline that will transit Massachusetts from Richmond to Dracut. Jim is a resident of Ashfield, MA and a founding member of the Hilltown Community Rights Coalition which opposes the pipeline. Mark also lives in Ashfield and is a member of the TU Deerfield Chapter. The slides used in their presentation are attached.
This pipeline will be built and managed by limited partnerships owned by Kinder Morgan, Inc. (Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P.). Initial plans are to complete the pipeline by November 2018. It will transmit between 800 million and 2.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily from the Marcellus Shale fields to New England, Atlantic Canada and for export as LNG. It will be made of 36”-42” Class 1 pipe – single wall construction with simple welded joints and coated. This type of pipe is the least complex and expensive and used in rural areas.
Jim and Mark began their presentation by showing that this pipeline will transect the Northwest portion of the state where there is a dense concentration of first order streams. These are the small streams that originate the important fishing rivers in the state such as the Deerfield and the Westfield.
They distributed a report by Michael Cole of ABR, Inc. Environmental Research & Services that had been prepared for the Deerfield River Watershed Association and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust entitled ASSESSMENT OF BIODIVERSITY IN DEERFIELD RIVER WATERSHED FORESTED HEADWATER STREAMS . This report identified the macroinvertebrates, in these streams that support aquatic life.
From their presentation, it is clear that the environmental dangers from this pipeline that are especially relevant to TU are the following:
- Pipeline leaks could allow contaminated condensates in the pipe to seep into the ground water.
- Leaks of methane gas can cause fires which would denude the surrounding area and lead to possible soil erosion which would harm aquatic life.
- While these are serious dangers, there have been no natural gas leaks in transmission pipelines in Massachusetts to date. Of course the incidence of leaks increases as the pipe ages and this pipeline has no sunset provision.
- The cleared 50 ft. wide right of way above the pipeline could lead to soil erosion, affecting streams.
- Finally, this right of way will be cleared regularly to allow access by maintenance crews. Clearing will be by mowing the grass or by using herbicides. Since this portion of the state is very hilly, it is expected that herbicides will be used primarily and this could harm aquatic life.
For more information on this proposed pipeline, contact the following: