The NED Pipeline is Good for New England

Anti-gas activists continue their campaign to halt construction of the
much needed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline intended to bring natural
gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania into Massachusetts and
neighboring states. Despite the fact that residents of New England pay
some of the highest prices for natural gas and electricity in the
country, pipeline opponents claim that the new infrastructure is not

These pipeline opponents argue that wind and solar are the only
sources of energy we should be investing in. They claim that pipelines
are dangerous, natural gas is polluting, contributes to climate
change, and that the gas will really just be exported anyway leaving
residents of New England to carry all the burden of risk without
seeing any benefits. They’re wildly off base.

The market realities are well documented, pipeline constraints leave
the residents of New England and particularly those in major cities
like Boston paying the highest prices in the country for natural gas
even though gas supplies are robust in nearby Pennsylvania. These high
energy prices not only hurt individual citizens but make it more
difficult for the region to attract industry. And despite the fear
mongering of activists, gas pipelines have an excellent safety record
overall and construction is heavily regulated to minimize impacts on
the land and communities.

Wind and solar are growing industries that should be encouraged, but
it is not accurate that wind and solar replace the need for natural
gas, in fact the opposite is true. Growth of wind and solar, which are
intermittent sources of electricity, increases the demand for natural
gas because gas is the ideal complement that can fill in the gaps in
power production when the sun is not shining and the wind is not
blowing. And natural gas is used for far more than just electricity,
it is a primary heating source, is increasingly being used in heavy
trucking, and is a core industrial feedstock used for the production
of chemicals, plastics, fertilizers and more.

The use of natural gas to replace coal in power production and fuel
oil for heating is making major contributions to reducing greenhouse
gasses, improving air quality, reducing pollution, and saving lives.
Switching to natural gas alone will not resolve climate change issues
but it is certainly an important step in the right direction. Since
natural gas is primarily methane and a potent greenhouse gas, leakage
throughout the system must be contained.  Fortunately, solutions for
reducing leaks are readily available and gas companies are
incentivized to reduce leakage because that gives them more product to

Claims that pipeline improvements will merely lead to more gas being
exported leaving no benefits to residents do not withstand scrutiny.
Yes, some gas is being exported to Canada and beyond as LNG – and this
is a sign of strength for the US gas industry – but exports will have
a negligible impact on domestic prices. US gas is just another
competitor in international markets. It’s neither the cheapest nor the
most abundant and if exports rise to the point that they impact prices
here that will make the gas uncompetitive overseas. The markets are
self-correcting this way. Furthermore, there’s not an LNG export
facility under construction or even under consideration in New

Kinder Morgan plans to spend $1.3 billion on labor, capital goods and
materials in MA for the construction of the NED pipeline. This money
spent will be immediately positive in terms of construction employment
and local economic gains, but more importantly this new infrastructure
will lower heat and power bills for residents and industry enabling a
virtuous cycle of economic growth and an improved environment.