Mass. Utilities Put $3.2 Billion Natural Gas Pipeline On Hold

Two of Massachusetts' largest utility companies have halted a $3.2 billion natural gas pipeline project, citing funding uncertainty.

Pipeline operator Enbridge Inc., a partner in the Access Northeast project along with Eversource and National Grid, informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of their decision to withdraw the project application Thursday.

The 125-mile project would have replaced natural gas pipes with larger ones in Massachusetts and Connecticut. However, the plan to have electricity ratepayers shoulder the cost was shot down by the state Supreme Judicial Court last year.

Both Eversource and National Grid say the pipeline could reduce electric bills by nearly $1 billion across New England, more than covering the cost of the tariff.

Critics say less expensive and more environmentally friendly solutions are available.

"We are on track to do just fine without a giant new pipeline with a 20-year contract and a huge price tag," said Claire Miller, with the environmental group Toxics Action Center.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom



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