Columbia Gas Resistance Campaign Comment to FERC

January 7, 2019

Secretary Kimberly Bose

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 

888 First Street, NE 

Washington, DC 20426

Re:      TGP 261 Upgrade Projects, Docket No. CP19-7-000

Environmental Assessment – Scoping Comments

Dear Secretary Bose:

We, the undersigned concerned individuals and organizations in the affected communities of Agawam, Easthampton, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Northampton, Springfield, West Springfield and surrounding communities submit these initial comments regarding the scope of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“the Commission’s”) environmental review of the 261 Upgrade Projects (the “Projects”) proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC (“TGP” or the “Company”).  We concur with the comments filed by the Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast, and submit these additional comments to underscore our own concerns.

1.The September 13, 2018 explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley cast serious doubts on both the claimed need for and the safety of the TGP Projects, which are designed to ensure delivery of more gas to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (“Columbia”). Since the tragedy, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has imposed an indefinite moratorium on most Columbia work. Columbia is also under federal investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) and subject to a Congressional hearing and wrongful death suits. Its parent company, NiSource, is under federal investigation. It is not lost on us that Columbia was also the company responsible for the 2012 explosion in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.

We ask the Commission to consider carefully whether

  • questions of Columbia’s negligence in the Merrimack Valley tragedy pose increased threat of explosion and massive environmental damage to our region; and whether
  • the imposed suspension of pipeline construction will lead to the invalidation of the contract that TGP has with Columbia.

We believe that these developments – including ongoing state and federal investigations – should weigh heavily in the Commission’s analysis under its National Environmental Policy Act review.

2.The stated need for the project has been vastly overblown, with Columbia speculating unrealistic gas demand growth in the region to support its expansion proposal. Yet one of the affected service communities, Northampton, has adopted a 100% Renewable Energy plan and has resolved to oppose the Projects as unnecessary. Gas is increasingly being rejected as a method of home heating and cooking due to recognition that methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas in the short term than CO2.  Methane leaked and vented from natural gas during extraction, processing and transmission makes it use comparable to coal in its impact on climate change. Asthma risk in children is increased in homes burning gas for cooking. Many local communities are committed to reduced energy use and the conversion to locally-sourced renewable energy as recommended by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Less costly and more environmentally sustainable alternatives to the project  include more aggressive home energy efficiency interventions by Columbia and greater policy emphasis on and subsidy of efficient electric heat pumps and convection stoves. Berkshire Gas, another local distribution company who takes its gas from the Company off the Northampton Lateral, has recently abandoned expansion plans in lieu of alternative heating choices such as air-source heat pumps.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has already instituted incentives for conversion to air-source heat pumps and local programs such as Berkshire’s have been instituted to support this effort.

We ask that the exaggerated speculation regarding  increases in the demand for natural gas in this area be thoroughly analyzed and weighed against the known environmental risks of the Projects.

3. The Projects will contribute to the mounting threat of climate change affecting our region. A major reason for laws and policy efforts to reduce gas consumption is the existential threat of climate change. Due to emissions of carbon dioxide and methane (gas), temperatures have already risen 1 degree centigrade worldwide and are predicted to surpass 2 degrees if fossil fuel consumption continues at present rates. The Projects will facilitate increased gas-based emissions in our region by >25% in ten years, eviscerating goals to cut overall emissions by 45% as called for in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C. Increased emissions will also violate the Commonwealth’s Global Warming Solutions Act and contribute to fulfillment of the projections of a hotter, wetter and flooded Northeast as outlined in the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

We ask that climate impacts be fully investigated and weighed heavily in the Environmental Assessment.

4. The project will contribute to worsening air quality. Increasingly gas and its additives are being recognized as contributing to air pollution and respiratory disease. Gas stoves are associated with pediatric respiratory illness. Ninety (90) municipal Public Health Departments in Massachusetts, representing 3.1 million people or 47.0% of the population, have endorsed or sent letters to the governor requesting that environmental impact assessments be done on all new gas infrastructure.

We request that the contributions of the Projects to worsening air quality and public health be thoroughly analyzed and weighed by the Commission.

5.The Projects will have lasting local impact on wetlands, stream and riverfront areas and endangered and threatened species. The Projects will have permanent and “temporary” impacts to a large number of wetland resource areas as proposed. Within those wetland resource areas and surrounding uplands, we are aware of endangered species, including the Eastern Box Turtle, and several species of “greatest conservation need,” including multiple species of our native trout, that will be affected by the Projects. 

We ask that the Commission scope the impacts on all wetland resource areas, that they be thoroughly inventoried and evaluated for avoidance. The same attention and protection should be given to all wildlife species potentially impacted.

6Soils and agriculture will be damaged by the Projects. The looping project will cross, convert and compact prime Connecticut River Valley agricultural land. At least one farm’s acreage is likely to be taken by eminent domain.

We request that a full accounting be made of all farmland and agricultural soils affected by the Projects. The impacts to the agricultural and business economy should also be scoped.

Respectfully submitted,

Columbia Gas Resistance Campaign

Massachusetts Senator Joanne Comerford (Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester)

Massachusetts Representative Natalie Blais (1st Franklin)

Massachusetts Representative Mindy Domb (3rd Hampshire)

Massachusetts Representative Lindsay N. Sabadosa (1st Hampshire)

Northampton City Councilor Alisa Klein

Arise for Social Justice

Ashfield Affinities Group

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

Boston Clean Energy Coalition

Boston Climate Action Network

Cambridge Mothers Out Front

Central Square Health and Wellness

Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS)

Climate Action Now

Easthampton Climate Response

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)

Extinction Rebellion

Grassroots Capital Management, PBC

Hilltowns Eco-Action Committee

Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group

Mothers Out Front Massachusetts

Mothers Out Front Worcester

No Fracked Gas in Mass

No Sharon Gas Pipeline | Clean Energy Now

Northampton High School Environmental Club

Peace & Justice Team of First Churches, Northampton

Pioneer Valley Chapter Green Rainbow Party

Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America

Progressive Democrats of Mass (PDM)

Red Leaves Affinity Group

Resist the Pipeline

Rise Up Western Mass Indivisible

Rising Together

Sheffield Saves

Solar Store of Greenfield


Sugar Shack Alliance

T Stephen Jones Public Health Consulting

The Enviro Show

The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice

UUSGS Green Team (Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield)

Wildside Cottage & Gardens

350 Central Mass


Abigail Ferla, Ashfield

Adele Franks, Northampton

Ahna Knudsen, Worcester


A. Kelley,Newton

Al blake, Becket

Al Mckusick, Northampton 

Alice Briggs, Amherst

Alice Trexler, Arlington 

Alicia G. Bowman, Newton Center

Alicia Russell, Arlington 

Alisa Pearson, Pelham 

Alison Conant, Newtonville, 

Allen Young, Royalston 

Allison Gramolini, Northampton

Alyssa Foos, Northampton

Amanda Nash, Shelburne Falls

Ann Boland, Arlington

Amy Landau, Easthampton

Amy Light, Boston

Amy Mertl, Somerville

Amy Schneider, Newton

Amy Tai,Newton

Anamaria Camargo, Boston

Andee Rubin, Arlington

Andra Rose, Amherst

Andrea Chasen, Longmeadow

Andrea Winslow, Arlington

Andrew Milroy,West Springfield

Ann Abrams, Brookline

Ann Darling, Easthampton

Anna Brewer, Northampton

Anna K Wilkins, Weston

Anne Goodwin, Arlington

Anne Jaskot, Northampton

Anne S Wright, Arlington 

Annika, Northampton

Anupama Seshan Raman, Somerville

Ashley Casello, Amherst

Ashwin Ravikumar, Amherst

Avivah Goldman, Arlington

Barry De Jasu, Montague

Becky Carroll, Pelham

Benjamin Martin, Wallingford

Berl Hartman, Cambridge

Beverly C. Baggetta, Agawam

Birgitta McAlevey, Sharon

B. Laiosa, Arlington

Bonner McAllester, Monterey

Bonni Widdoes, Edgartown

Bridget Spann, Williamstown

Brittany Baldwin, Roslindale

Bruce Colton, Longmeadow

Bruce Palmer, Worcester

Carina Campobasso, Winthrop

Carla and Robert, Pittsfield

Carol, Winthrop

Carol Lewis, Amherst

Carol Lubkowski, Newton

Carol Saunders Chamberlain, Arlington 

carole enright, Acton

Carole Horowitz, Amherst

Carolyn Lattin, Newton

Carter Bruce Tallman, Jr, Longmeadow

Cate Woolner, Northfield

Catherine, Agawam

Cathy Kristofferson, Ashby

Cathy Loula, Brookline  

Cecelia Lang, Northampton

Celine Nader, Greenfield

Cheryl D Rose, Dalton

Cheryl Sreiberg, Worthington

Chris Stockman, Plainfield

Christopher Sabo, Easthampton

Claire Chang, Greenfield

Claire Galkowski, Westwood

Claire Miller, Boston

Claire Miraglia, Buckland

Clare Pearson, Charlemont

Clifford Phillips, Northfield

Colin Murphy, Amherst

Constance Dawson, Easthampton

Corey, Turners Falls

Corey Beauvais, Newton

Corinne M. Wingard, Agawam

Cynthia Campbell, Longmeadow

Cynthia Lawton-Singer, conway

Cynthia Mapes, Newton 

Cynthia Pill, Newton

Cynthia Poirier, Plainfield

Cynthia Sommer, Longmeadow

D Dina Friedman, Hadley

Daniel Miller

Danielle Descoteaux, Arlington

Daphne Stevens, Northampton

David Backer, Newton

David Grodsky, Amherst

David J. Lafond, Holyoke

David Koester, Warwick

David Morse, Longmeadow

David Ross, Weymouth

Deb Friedman, Easthampton

Deb Schmill, Needham

Debbie Slotpole, Weston

Deborah A New, Cambridge

Deborah J Levy, Longmeadow

Deborah Shea, Springfield 

Delia Marshall, Somerville 

Delta Carney, Ashfield 

Denise Conboy, Longmeadow

Dennis DiTullio, Grafton

Derek Petrus, N Weymouth

Devorah Levy, Northampton

Diana Chaplin, Williamsburg

Diana Lee, Concord

Diane Nassif, Petersham

Diane Sibley, Ashfield

Diane Becker, Newton

Don Ogden, Florence 

Donna Jago, Agawam

Dorin, Northampton

Doris Duafala, Longmeadow 

Doris Margolis, Longmeadow

Dorothy Baker, Northampton

Dorothy Ficken, West Newton 

Douglas Barnshaw, MD, Springfield 

Downing Cless, Arlington

Dr. Jodi Rodar, Pelham

Dr. Russ Vernon-Jones, Amherst

E, Northampton

E Broadbent, Harvard

Ed Stockman, Plainfield

Edward Armstrong, Holyoke

Eileen Kelley, Amherst

Eileen McGowan, Chesterfield

Elaine, Holyoke

Elaine Landes, Newton

Eleanor Lash, Northampton

Elizabeth Bowdan, South Hadley

Elizabeth Cooper, Newton 

Elizabeth Gaberman, Longmeadow

Elizabeth Gifford, Watertown

Elizabeth Hayes, Watertown

Elizabeth Loughran, Belchertown

Elizabeth Port, Longmeadow

Elizabeth Steel, Weston

ellen bernstein, holyoke

Ellen Lohman, Longmeadow

Ellen M. Graves, West Springfield

Ellen Parker, Newton

Ellie Goldberg, Newton

Emily Koester, Northfield

Emily Norton, Newton

Emily Serafy-Cox, Northampton

Emma Landsman, Northampton

Erin Freed, Longmeadow

Errica Saunders, Worcester

Etel, Worcester

Eva Hudlicka, Amherst

Evan Eisentrager, Easthampton

Felicia Mednick, Amherst

Fran  Fortino, W. Whately

Frances R. Cress, Longmeadow

Francia Wisnewski, Montague

Freeman Stein, Northampton

Gabriela Romanow, Cambridge

Gary Farner, Wellesley

Gary Schaefer, Hatfield 

Gay Roberts, Wendell

Gerda Brown, Arlington 

Ginger Ryan, Cambridge

Ginger Watts, Harvard

Grace Gustaferro, Amherst

Grace Hall, Somerville

Gretchen Saveson, Northampton

Guy O’Donnell, Holyoke

Hannah Mahoney, Cambridge 

Hans Leo, Amherst

Helen Harrison, Northampton

Henry Rose, Dalton

Hope Gobron, Holyoke

Howard Faerstein, Florence

Ilia Cornier-Rivera, Northampton

Inge Damm-Luhr, Brookline  

Isa, Pelham

Isabella Leo, Northampton

Jackie Ballance, Florence

Jacob Knowles, Belmont

Jacqueline Neiman, Longmeadow

James O. Michel, Hyde Park

James Perkins, Leverett 

Jane Crosby, Cummington

Jane S Sillman, Cambridge

Jane Winn, Pittsfield 

Janelle Matrow, Westhampton

Janet Coleman, Cambridge 

Janet Winston, Amherst 

Janice Hill, West Springfield

Jean Erlbaum, Greenfield

Jeanne Krieger, Lexington

Jeff Korff, Northampton

Jeff Napolitano, Northampton

Jenna Wang, Newton

Jennifer Forest, Belchertown

Jennifer Grochowski, Westfield

Jennifer Hartman, Lexington

Jennifer Le Hegaret, Arlington

Jennifer Markens, Ashfield

Jennifer Wenz, Northampton

Jeremy Master, Longmeadow

Jesse Ladner, Leeds

Jessica Ficken, Cambridge

Jewanne Cahill, Northboro

Joan Lesser, Longmeadow

Jill Solomon Marland, Shutesbury

Joan Levy, Pelham

Joanna Brown, Boston

Joanne Hirsch, East Longmeadow

Jodi Rodar, Pelham

Joe Graveline, Northfield 

Joel Rosen, Florence

Johanna Ruth, Northampton

John A Lippitt, Reading

john cohen, northampton

John Lochhead, Conway

Jon Weissman, Granby 

Jonah H Meyer, Shutesbury

Jonna Gaberman, Longmeadow 

Joseph Pessolano, Wilbraham

Josh, New York

Josh Strassman, Amherst

Joyce Greif, Lexington

Joyce Rosenfed, Florence  

Judd Greenstein, Gill

Judith A. Bednarz, Brookline

Judith fonsh, Leverett

Judith Hikes, Cambridge

Judith Norsigian, Newton

Judith Wagner, Northfield

Judy Gitelson, Pittsfield

Judy Hyde, Northampton

Judy Kolligian, Jamaica Plain

Judy Yaffe, Longmeadow

Julia Wallerce, Winthrop

Juliana Belding, Westwood 

Julie HawkOwl, Sunderland

Julie Hudson, Northampton

Julie Lieberman, Worthington

Katie McDonald, Granby

Karen Sargent, Westminster

Karen Tallman, Longmeadow

Karin Baker, Florence

Karyn Wergland, Brookline

Kate O’Connor, Westhampton

Kathleen Daly, Northampton

Kathryn Argetsinger, Holyoke

Kathryn Barnes Leary, Longmeadow  

Kathy Mullins, Longmeadow

Katy Pyle, Springfield

Kay Seligson, Arlington

kelly schatz, Northampton

Kelsey Wirth, Cambridge 

Kenneth Lederman, Conway

Kevin Young, Northampton

Kim Gerould, Northampton

Kris Nelson, Greenfield

Kristen Sykes, Northampton

Kristen Wilmer, Florence

Kristin Dicioccio, Agawam

Kristine Jelstrup, Cambridge

Krystil, Springfield

Kyra Norsigian, Newton

Laila Tomsovic, Haydenville

Laura Clampitt, Holyoke

Laura Friedland-Kays, Northampton 

Laura Hummel, Hatfield

laura moynagh, Maynard

Laurel Facey, Wendell

Laurel Turk, Sunderland

Lauren Palmer, Waltham

Laurie  Boosahda, South Deerfield

Laurie Robinson, Longmeadow

Lawrence Hott, Florence

Lena Entin, Northampton

Lena Fletcher, Florence

Lenore Bryck, Amherst

Leslie Gray, Ashfield

Leslie Luchonok, Shutesbury

Leslie Scott, Amherst

Letitia Upton, Newton

libby Arny, Northampton

Linda J. Baker, Northampton

Linda Spink, Pelham

Lisa Barondes, Florence

Lisa Enzer, Montague

Lisa Hall, Florence

lisa shea, Pelham

Liza Neal, Northampton

Loie Hayes, Boston

Louise Grosslein, Amherst

Ludmilla Pavlova, Amherst

Lundy Bancroft, Florence

Lupu, Amherst

Lynette Cassel, Arlington

Lynn Waldron, Greenfield

Lynne Donaldson, Northampton

Madeline Liebling, Shelburne Falls

Malcolm K McNee, Northampton

Mandeliene Smith, Lexington

Marci Linker, Florence

Margaret B. Anderson, Easthampton 

Margaret Bellafiore, Weymouth

Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Northampton

Margaret Carsley, Northampton

Margaret Miller, Northampton

Margery Hamlen, Boston

Margie Berg, East Longmeadow

Margot, Holyoke

Maria Costantini, Westwood

Maria Truslow, Newtonville 

Marietta Hitzemann, Arlington

Marjorie Laule, Florence

Marjorie M. Pessolano, Wilbraham

Marjorie Weiselberg, Agawam 

Mark Dunn, Hadley

Mark Roblee, Shutesbury

Marsha Harbison, Longmeadow

Marsha Odabashian, Dedham

Martha A. Nathan, Northampton

Martha Cohen, Northampton

Martha Werman, Greenfield

Martin L. Manchester, Chesterfield 

Martin Urbel, Northampton

Mary Fago, Northampton

Mary Jane Else, South Hadley

Mary Johnson, Northfield

Mary Link, Ashfield

Mary Lou Conca, Shutesbury

Mary McCarthy, Amherst

Mary Whitaker, Haydenville

Mary Wyse, Amherst

Mary-Beth Carney, Easthampton

Mary Swedlund, South Deerfield

Matt Wagers, Cambridge

Matthew Berube, Amherst

Maura Donahue, Granby

Maureen Elise Quinn, Longmeadow

Maureen Flannery, Northampton

Maureen Richichi, Bedford

Meg Wickwire, Concord

Megan M. Wolf, Northampton

Melanie Renaud, Chestnut Hill

Meliss Ulen, Cambridge

Merrylees Turner,Amherst

Michael Kurland, Goshen

Michele Marantz,Longmeadow

Michele Martin,Boston

Michele Wick, Northampton

Michelle Joffroy, Northampton

Michelle Mirti, Longmeadow

Michelle Parrish, Amherst

Miranda Edison, Worthington

Miriam Kurland, Williamsburg

Montserrat Archbald, Whately

Nancy Clark, Brookline

Nancy Felton, Northampton

Nancy Grossman, Leverett

Nancy Kummer, Dedham

Nancy L. Rich, Chesterfield

Nancy Tame, Spencer

Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor, Leominster

Nate Krinsky, Medford

Nathalie Bridegam, Amherst

Nicholas Warren, Northampton

Nili Pearlmutter, Arlington

Nina Keller, Wendell

Norma Nunez-Vazquez, Longmeadow

Pamela Berger, Cambridge

Pamela Glaven, S. Deerfield

Pat Burdick, Newton

Pat Cantor, Cambridge

Patrice B. Ficken, Brookline

Patricia Benjamin, New Braintree

Patricia Davidson,Gloucester

Patricia O’Hagan, Lincoln

Paul DiLeo, Plainfield

Paul Newlin, West Whately

Paul Popinchalk, Worcester

Paula Rayman, Watertown

Paula Tredeau, Longmeadow

Peggy Kocoras, Granby

Peggy Lynch, Cambridge 

Peter Jeswald, Conway

Peter Whelan, Amherst

Peter Wildermuth, Ashfield

Phil Thayer, Belmont

Phoebe Beierle, Weston

Phyllis Ewen, Cambridge

Polly Ryan, Plainfield

Priscilla A. Robbins,Amherst

Priscilla Lynch, Conway

Rachel Greenwood, Haydenville

Rachel Stevens, Northampton

Rayellen Kishbach, Amherst

Rebecca Himlin, Greenfield

Rebecca Lane, Arlington

Reed Schimmelfing, Northampton

Remke van Zadelhoff, Weston

Renata Selig, Newton

Rene Theberge, Northampton

Renu Bostwick, Bedford

Rev. Kelly Gallagher, Northampton

Reverend Georganne Greene, Pelham

Richard P. Purcell, Holyoke

Richard Prée, Ashfield

Richard Tredeau, Longmeadow

Rina Miller, Longmeadow 

R. Kasinsky, Cambridge 

Rob Cyr, Springfield

Robert Gardner, Florence

Roberta Issler, Northampton

Rose Wool, Lynn

Rosemary Wessel, Cummington

Roslyn Feldberg, Brookline

Ruth Ever, Leeds

Ruth R. Comstock, Newton

Sandra Sobek, Conway

Sara Berliner, Hampden 

Sara Cummings, Greenfield

Sara Draper, Northampton

Sara Oaklander, Somerville

Sara T. Krohn, Holyoke

Sarah Conn, Arlington

Sarah Matthews, Amherst

Sarah McKee, Amherst

Sarah Meyers, Newton

Sarah Pick, Montague

Sarita Hudson, Northampton

Seth, Holyoke

Seth Wilpan, Northampton

Shannon Silva, Amherst

Sharon DeMatteo, Agawam

Sharon M Moulton, Northampton

Sharon McDonald, Amherst

Shaun Bartone, Worcester

Shauna, Feeding Hills

Sheila Delson, Northampton

Sheila Gilmour, Greenfield

Shirley Nelson, Amherst

Shirley S Winer, Huntington 

Shoshana Marchand, Northampton

Sophie, Newton

Stellan Vinthagen, Amherst 

Stephanie Blumenthal, Sheffield

Stephen Kurkoski, Warwick

Steve Rice, Shutesbury

Steve Swingle, New Braintree

Steven Botkin, Pelham

Steven C. Jones, Belchertown

Steven M. Adler-Golden, Newtonville

Steven Marantz, Longmeadow 

Steven Morgan, Leverett

Sue Bridge, Conway

Susan F. Tornheim, Newton

Susan Grossberg, Agawam

Susan Haff, South Deerfield

Susan Lees, Arlington

Susan Theberge, Northampton

Suzanne Theberge, Northampton

Susan Voss, Northampton

Susanne Moser, Hadley

Suzanne G Sharp, Sturbridge

Suzanne R. Carlson, Greenfield

Sylvain Beloin, North Granby

Sylvia Staub, Springfield

T Stephen Jones, MD, Northampton

Talya Wintman, Longmeadow

Tammy Ryan, Belchertown

Tamsen Merrill, Ashfield 

Tamsin, Amherst

Terry Wise, Stockbridge

Thomas Desellier, Granby

Tim, Amherst

Timothy N. Van Egmond, Montague

Todd Bearson, Arlington

Tom Neel, Belmont

Tracy R. Manzella, Rehoboth

Valerie C. Wisniewski, Orange

Vera, Belmont

Verne McArthur, Springfield

Vicki Van Zee, Northampton

Victoria Bok, Jamaica Plain

Vincent Frano, Pelham

Vivienne Simon, Northampton

Walter Wright, Worthington 

Wendi Weinberg, Pelham

Willa Sippel, Florence

William Clark, Feeding Hills

William Jastromb, Northampton 

William MacGillivray Jr, Shutesbury

Willis Bridegam, Amherst