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Natural Gas Pipeline Congestion is Squeezing Energy Managers

New England winter natural gas prices are highly dependent on supply coming into the region. Several planned pipeline extensions, which would bring much needed extra supply to New England are in danger of being shut down.

If opponents of Kinder Morgan’s $3.3 billion pipeline project have their way, federal regulators will throw out its application to build the 412-mile line. A group called PLAN-NE is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny the line that would run through Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Corporate energy managers have a stake in this debate. Their job in part is to find access to fuels that burn cleaner and that are less expensive than the alternatives. The natural gas infrastructure in the Northeast is congested and the additional capacity would make room for an expected future supply. Getting it built, though, is problematic — as it is for all kinds of energy projects.

The argument, generally, is that the lines cross sensitive environmental areas and disrupt the lives of ordinary citizens. They furthermore want more wind and solar projects that they say is cleaner and more affordable.

Those are the arguments that PLAN-NE is making, which wants the federal energy monitor to deny the project and to never again revisit it. That’s not likely, given the regulators propensity to Okay infrastructure that it deems to be in the interest of communities and businesses.

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