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Environmentalists Concerned About Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline in Conn.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of the energy company Kinder Morgan, filed a federal application Friday to build new natural gas pipelines in parts of the Northeast, including Connecticut.

Maps on the company’s website show proposed  pipelines running through the Northeast, from New Hampshire to New York. They would connect some existing pipelines around the region. One of them would be built in a 14-mile stretch in North Central Connecticut, from Farmington to East Granby.

Some environmental groups contend that’s cause for concern. That land contains reservoirs owned by the Metropolitan District Commission, a non-profit municipal corporation that manages the water supply for about 400,000 people in the greater Hartford area.

The Sierra Club has said the methane in natural gas can leak from  pipes and pollute land and water. Lou Burch, Connecticut Program Coordinator of the Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment, said that a pipeline introduces the possibility of spills or accidents.

“The pipeline is going to cross a number of headwater streams. The Farmington and Connecticut River watersheds," said Burch, "It increases the probability that something is going to happen in these vital water company lands.” 

A range of environmental groups  signed off on a joint statement Friday asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which handles the application, to conduct an environmental review and consider alternatives.

Kinder Morgan has said the pipeline would bring jobs and cheaper power to the state. In 2012, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy set a goal of bringing natural gas to 280,000 additional homes and businesses in Connecticut by 2020.

Last week, a study commissioned by the Attorney General of Massachusetts found the Northeast doesn’t need more pipelines to keep up its current energy flow for the next 15 years. A Kinder Morgan representative called that study seriously flawed. 

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.