The Enbridge gas utility has put a halt to its proposed Access Northeast natural gas pipeline plan, Mass Live reports. The $3.2 billion project called for upgrades to the Algonquin Gas Transmission system in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Enbridge had originally partnered with Eversource Energy and National Grid to advance the project throughout New England, but the three companies ran into trouble when policymakers and concerned residents mounted resistance against utility-backed proposals to hike electricity rates and build new compressor stations. Both Eversource and National Grid pulled out of the project in 2016.
Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine previously approved electricity ratepayer financing for natural gas pipelines. However, Massachusetts and New Hampshire both issued rulings protecting electricity ratepayers from being charged for the construction or expansion of such pipelines. According to a lawyer representing Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, due to the inconsistency of these policies, the project was “no longer of interest to stakeholders.”
In other words, because Massachusetts taxpayers wouldn’t foot the bill, the gas utilities hit the brakes.
The announcement was well received by residents and officials in Weymouth and Rehoboth, two Massachusetts neighborhoods where Algonquin had proposed building new compressor stations. However, pipeline opponents agree that their work is not yet complete. Noting that the utilities will likely be back with another pipeline project, a spokesman for Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station told The Sun Chronicle, “we’re going to be ready to fight.”