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June 3, 2015

Gas pipeline changes to spare 6 Central Mass. communities


Planned revisions to the proposed Kinder Morgan gas project mean the proposed pipeline will no longer affect several communities north and east of Worcester.

Rep. Hank Naughton, D-Clinton, who co-chairs the Legislature's Public Safety Committee, said in a statement Tuesday night that project representatives he spoke with advised him that Berlin, Boylston and Northborough will no longer be affected due to project revisions.

Meanwhile, a project spokesman said Wednesday morning that Bolton, West Boylston, Shrewsbury and a portion of Worcester are also no longer affected based on project changes.

In an email obtained by the News Service Wednesday, Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan's vice president of public affairs, said Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. has informed federal regulators and others of changes in the scope of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Project.

In an upcoming report it plans to file, the gas company plans to make modifications at three existing meter stations and to remove two pipeline "laterals" from the project's scope. Tennessee Gas, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, then plans in October to file a "certificate application" for the project.

About 15.6 miles of the planned North Worcester Lateral pipeline and the Stamford Loop in Connecticut will be removed from the project scope. A new North Worcester meter station and proposed modifications at three meter stations in Connecticut are also scheduled to be removed.

The revised project scope "will allow Tennessee to meet the needs for all the shippers that have executed binding precedent agreements for the project," Fore said.

Naughton said the pipeline, as formerly proposed, would have "jeopardized the environmental integrity of conservation lands, private lands, homes and businesses" in Berlin, Boylston and Northborough.

"I want to thank the residents of these areas for your input throughout this process. Without your help, this victory for our conservation lands and local environment would not have been possible," Naughton said.

Kinder Morgan had planned a briefing late Wednesday morning on the changes.

Kinder Morgan has originall proposed a new pipeline to carry gas from New York across Western Massachusetts and through several communities in North Central Massachusetts. But after protests from that area, the company revised its plans, skirting North Central Massachusetts in favor of a route through Southern New Hampshire. An extension south from New Hampshire to Fitchburg appears to remain part of the plans.

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