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2016 News

Connecticut policymakers are scrambling to develop a new energy strategy to replace Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s failed energy policy that was based on building new natural gas infrastructure at the ratepayers’ expense, according to a recent article in the Hartford Courant.


Natural gas supplies could remain severely restricted in New England after another pipeline developer has indicated an unwillingness to add supply without a “pipeline tax” on New England customers.


New York regulators were expected to vote this week on whether to let National Grid dump the cost of the Gowanus Canal toxic waste cleanup on its customers, a move that advocates and elected officials say puts an unfair burden on ratepayers, according to a recent article on DNAinfo.com.


Natural-gas prices pushed a three-week rally to a new high earlier this week as cooler forecasts continue raising expectations for demand, according to a recent article by Market Watch.


The U.S. has become a net exporter of natural gas, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.


In the wake of the recent fatal natural gas pipeline explosion in Illinois, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) has called on the Federal Energy & Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the permitting process and construction for proposed Spectra pipelines in West Roxbury and Weymouth, Mass., according to a recent Patch.com article.


Like other cities before it, Pittsburgh is now mapping the natural gas leaks under its streets, according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


The global glut of natural gas still hasn’t reached New England, according to a recent article by Bloomberg News. The heating fuel may surge to three times the current price in New England this winter, making it the highest priced natural gas in the world, as pipeline bottlenecks limit supplies during frigid weather. That is what traders including Consolidated Edison Inc.’s ConEdison Energy told Bloomberg.


Global oil markets are flooded with cheap crude that is keeping prices low, and two large new oil fields have been discovered in United States, according to a recent New York Times article.


The Connecticut Supreme Court is considering whether Connecticut’s environmental protection agency and state regulators were wrong for not studying the potential environmental impact of a major natural gas expansion plan before they approved it in 2013, according to a recent article in the Middletown Press.


U.S. natural gas prices have surged to the highest level for more than 18 months as stocks continue to build more slowly than normal despite the warm weather, according to a recent article by Reuters.


In the latest setback for attempts to bring more natural gas into the region, New Hampshire regulators have rejected Eversource’s idea to cover the cost of buying natural gas with money paid by electricity users, according to a recent article in the Concord Monitor.


In light of yesterday’s reported natural gas explosion in Patterson, NJ, that destroyed two homes and damaged 13 others, the Christian Science Monitor published a report exploring recent large explosions and fires involving natural gas lines.


Strong demand has driven natural gas prices to their highest point in 20 months, and traders are finding encouragement to bet on higher prices ahead, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.


Residents, environmentalists and public officials are working to halt plans to expand natural gas pipelines and related facilities in Connecticut, according to a recent article in Connecticut Magazine.


Reports of robust supplies and low prices have attracted a lot of homeowners and businesses to natural gas, but supplies are about to get tight and drive prices higher, according to a recent article by petroleum geologist Arthur E. Berman on OilPrice.com.


Increasing demand in the utility and manufacturing sectors is bringing balance to the U.S. natural gas market and putting an end to the glut that has caused gas prices to remain low, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. “The question isn’t merely if or even when the [natural gas] surfeit eases but how sharp the impact might be on prices,” The Journal reported.


Following a decision by Massachusetts’ highest court that forbade utilities from charging customers for the cost of building natural gas pipelines, four Massachusetts utilities have withdrawn petitions to buy gas from the Access Northeast pipeline, according to a MassLive.com article.


A rapid gas leak into a basement utility room caused an explosion that killed seven people in Silver Spring, MD, and reduced four floors of apartments to rubble, according to an article in the Washington Post.


Weeks before an explosion that killed seven people, someone called 911 to report the smell of gas outside a Silver Spring, MD, apartment complex where the blast occurred, according to a report by CBS News.


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday struck down the "pipeline tax," a mechanism where electrical ratepayers would foot the bill for natural gas pipeline expansion, according to an article by MassLIve.com.


A federal court jury has convicted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of obstructing a federal probe into a 2010 natural gas explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno, California, according to a recent article on SFGate.com.


National Grid faces strong opposition over its plan to boost natural gas delivery rates, according to a recent article by CBS New York.


The United States could miss its emission-reduction targets under the Paris climate agreement if 19 pending natural gas pipelines are built across eastern states, according to a recent article by Reuters.


With Massachusetts lawmakers developing major energy legislation that could require utility companies to repair more natural gas leaks, writer Michele Wick wrote a commentary on the issue for New England Public Radio relating to a personal experience with a natural gas leak.


Natural gas might enjoy a reputation as “the cleaner-burning fossil fuel,” but unburned natural gas is actually a huge problem for the environment, according to a recent article in the New York Times.


Lawmakers in Massachusetts recently moved to prevent utilities from charging ratepayers a fee to build new natural gas pipelines, according to an article on MassLive.com


Vermont Gas announced recently that its 41-mile natural gas pipeline extension will cost 7.8 percent more than the most recent projections, marking the latest in a series of cost overruns for the project, whose costs are borne largely by ratepayers, according to an article by Vermont Digger.


California regulators and utility executives are staring down a natural-gas shortage in the Los Angeles area that could trigger up to two weeks of electrical blackouts this summer, according to a recent article on MarketWatch.com.


Protestors recently gathered in Holyoke, Mass., to speak out against a proposed surcharge on ratepayers’ utility bills that would finance a new natural gas pipeline, according to a recent article on MassLive.com.


A New York City Council Member was joined by environmentalists during a recent rally in support of a proposed new heating oil standard that would increase the blending of renewable biodiesel with clean, ultra low sulfur heating oil, according to a recent article in the Queens Gazette.


With the official news this week that Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project is dead, opponents are now challenging the State of New Hampshire’s proposal to allow electric companies to charge customers for construction of a different natural gas pipeline, according a recent Keene Sentinel article.


Hundreds of natural gas lines are leaking throughout western Massachusetts, according to a recent report by WWLP 22News.


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is expected to rule on the controversial issue of whether utilities can charge ratepayers a surcharge to underwrite the construction of privately owned new natural gas pipelines, according to a recent article in the Boston Herald.


A natural gas pipeline explosion east of Pittsburgh injured a man, damaged two homes, melted a road and caused natural gas prices to spike, according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Kinder Morgan’s recent decision not to build a $3.3 billion natural gas pipeline across Massachusetts and adjacent states has shed light on two important questions, according to an article in the Eagle Tribune: Who should pay for new natural gas pipelines? And are they even needed? “We don’t want to see ratepayers hit with the costs of building gas pipelines,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones, one of dozens of lawmakers pushing back against proposals to raise money for new projects by charging tariffs on consumers. Kinder Morgan cited a changing energy market and scarcity of demand from potential customers for the project’s demise, the article states. Environmentalists and other opponents suggested the company simply wasn’t able to pay for it. The pipeline issue remains on the table, because another investment group – including Texas-based Spectra Energy, Eversource Energy and National Grid – wants to upgrade and expand parts of an existing gas pipeline through Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. “The $3 billion project, tying into the existing Algonquin and Maritimes and Northeast pipelines through the North Shore, would be built in part with tariffs charged to electricity customers,” the Eagle Tribune wrote. “While the project is subject to approval by federal regulators, the companies have asked the state Department of Public Utilities to allow the tariffs. How much the tariffs might cost electricity consumers hasn’t been determined.” Many lawmakers are fighting the tariff proposal, arguing that it forces consumers to pay for projects that were traditionally funded by energy companies, the article states. They are calling on House Speaker Robert DeLeo not to recommend tariffs in the new energy bill. “Why should the ratepayer shoulder the risk when private industry is unwilling to?” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to DeLeo.” Attorney General Maura Healey released a report last year suggesting the demand for more natural gas is overstated. To read the Eagle Tribune article, click here.


Just two days after Kinder Morgan announced it was suspending work on its Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation rejected the application for another major natural gas project that would have delivered gas into the Northeast, according to an article on MassLive.com. The New York DEC rejected a Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Constitution pipeline, effectively shelving the 124-mile interstate natural gas project, according to MassLive.com. The Constitution pipeline would have largely paralleled the supply path of Northeast Energy Direct. The Constitution would have impacted around 250 streams “including trout spawning streams, old-growth forest, and undisturbed springs,” wrote John Ferguson, chief permit administrator with DEC’s Division of Environmental Permits and Pollution Prevention in explaining the decision The DEC said it had repeatedly asked Constitution for site-specific analysis of pipeline burial depth for all impacted streams, but the company refused, providing only limited analysis. “Pipes can become exposed in stream beds if not buried deeply enough, and corrective action can further damage the stream and impact water quality,” the department said. The project would have crossed New York State through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Schoharie counties before meeting other pipelines in the town of Wright, near Albany. Constitution had won a certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 2, 2015, but could not move forward without the Section 401 certification.


Kinder Morgan has canceled its controversial Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline that would have brought more gas into the region and potentially made New England a throughway for natural gas bound for overseas export, according to an article on MassLIve.com


A bipartisan group of more than 90 lawmakers from across the state is seeking to save utility ratepayers from paying for natural gas pipelines, according to a recent article on MassLIve.com.


A coalition of New York-based groups is challenging a federal agency’s approval of the proposed Algonquin natural gas pipeline, according to an article on LoHud.com.


Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey intends to defend the state against a lawsuit by a gas pipeline developer who seeks to tear up a state forest and override a protection afforded by the state’s Constitution, according to an article on MassLive.com.


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to expand the use of hydroelectric power could sidetrack two proposed multi-billion-dollar natural gas pipelines in the state, according to a recent report on MassLive.com.


A Kinder Morgan subsidiary has sued a Massachusetts state agency for the right to build a natural gas pipeline through a state forest to serve customers in Connecticut, according to a recent article by MassLive.com.


New York's two U.S. senators came out last week against the proposed Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline and urged federal regulators to reject it, according to an article in the Albany Times Union.


From the Berkshires to Boston, activists are mobilizing against the construction of a pipeline that would bring fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale fields of Pennsylvania to New England, according to a recent report by WBUR.


The U.S. Department of Energy recently approved a natural gas exportation plan that casts a new light on the proposed natural gas pipelines that have been proposed for the New England region, according to a recent story by WBUR radio.


Fallout from a natural gas outage on the coldest day of the year continues to plague some buildings in town, including a local church and the public library, according to a recent article by The New Britain Herald. The outage came in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, as temperatures dropped below zero.


December 2015 was unusually warm on New York’s Long Island, so a local natural gas utility is imposing a surcharge on customers to help make up for a revenue shortfall caused by reduced energy sales, according to a News 12 Long Island article.


U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) recently lashed out at the U.S. Department of Energy for approving the export of domestic natural gas via pipeline to a Canadian shipping port, according to a recent article on MassLive.com. He said the move “would be a disaster for our consumers and our region” because it would link New England energy prices to international markets.


A plan to have utility ratepayers pay 75 percent of the $6 billion to $8 billion cost of building Kinder Morgan’s proposed natural gas pipeline into New England is “rife with risk and downside,” according to two executives of the Conservation Law Foundation.


As a massive natural gas leak in California’s Aliso Canyon continues to pump methane into the air above Los Angeles, environmental activists are warning about a bigger and more widespread crisis: leaks throughout the nation’s natural gas supply chain, according to a recent article by NBC in Los Angeles.


Massachusetts environmental groups are among 165 nationwide calling for a federal investigation into the agency that oversees the approval of interstate natural gas pipelines, according to a recent article on MassLive.com.


CommonWealth magazine recently took an in-depth look at the influence of Eversource, National Grid and other utilities in Massachusetts government and found the utilities using their insider status to gain favorable treatment that doesn’t always serve the best interests of ratepayers.


The latest round of Middle East conflict is not expected to drive up oil prices. In fact, world oil prices are continuing to fall even as tensions rise between Saudi Arabia and Iran, according to a recent report by Reuters.