Natural Gas | WAMC

Natural Gas

A white woman with glasses a flower shirt and a blazer smiles into the camera
Berkshire Gas

Berkshire Gas is a Pittsfield, Massachusetts energy company with more than 40,000 customers across 20 communities in Western Massachusetts. In January, industry veteran Sue Kristjansson took over as company president from Frank Reynolds. Kristjansson spoke with WAMC.


For seven years, journalist and New Yorker writer Eliza Griswold reported and wrote the story of how fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale forever altered the lives of Stacey Haney, her daughter, Paige and her son, Harley. Griswold’s book, “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America,” just received the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Becky Meier points out the proposed E37 pipeline route.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

National Grid's proposed natural gas pipeline that would run from Bethlehem to North Greenbush was the subject of a public forum Wednesday night.

The utility company involved in last month's explosions and fires in Massachusetts says it has replaced nearly 36 miles of main pipeline in the area.

Morning Headlines With Jim Kevlin Of Hometown Oneonta

Aug 23, 2018
XNG.com

WAMC's David Guistina speaks with Jim Kevlin, Editor and Publisher of Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman's Journal and AllOtsego.com, about Boston-based company XNG's virtual pipeline.

The 13th Annual Berkshire International Film Festival will showcase 80 of the latest independent feature, documentary, short and family films from 28 countries from May 31 to June 3 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and from June 1 to 3 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The festival features screenings and various special events including three “Tea Talks”. One of this year’s Tea Talks features Berkshire based Academy Award winning filmmaker, Cynthia Wade, and a screening of her new documentary, “Grit.”

"Grit" is co-directed and co-produced by Wade and Sasha Friedlander and follows the lives of Indonesian citizens in East Jakarta displaced from their villages when an underground mudflow, struck by a natural gas drill, bubbles up and buries their homes and everything they own beneath 60 feet of mud.

Cynthia Wade joins us.

Home Energy Efficiency Team

Environmental activists, often at odds with companies involved in the natural gas business, are praising a public utility in western Massachusetts for adopting a new strategy when it comes to fixing leaking pipes.  

Natural gas pipeline
Ryan Delaney/WAMC

Two years ago, the state banned hydrofracking of natural gas within New York state’s borders. But a group of Cornell scientists who study the effects of climate change say New Yorkers are using more natural gas than ever.

  Over the past decade a new and controversial energy extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has rocketed to the forefront of U.S. energy production. With fracking, millions of gallons of water, dangerous chemicals, and sand are injected under high pressure deep into the earth, fracturing hard rock to release oil and gas.

Wenonah Hauter, one of the nation’s leading public interest advocates, argues that the rush to fracking is dangerous to the environment and treacherous to human health. Frackopoly describes how the fracking industry began; the technologies that make it possible; and the destruction and poisoning of clean water sources and the release of harmful radiation from deep inside shale deposits, creating what the author calls “sacrifice zones” across the American landscape.

Protesters at Vermont Commissioner Recchia's property
People’s Department of Environmental Justice

A group of protesters opposed to a natural gas pipeline being built in Vermont took their dispute to the home of Vermont’s top utility regulator this week.

crews work to repair a hole in a street
WAMC

In the wake of a water main break that caused a large sinkhole in downtown Springfield earlier this month, city councilors have called for a series of meetings to discuss the status of the city’s underground infrastructure.

CPV protestor and actor James Cromwell
MidHudsonNews.com

Six people were arrested by New York State Police for disorderly conduct Friday morning when they blocked the construction entrance site to the Competitive Power Ventures in Orange County.

Governor Cuomo says he won’t allow a natural gas transfer station to be built off of the coast of Long Island, saying  there are too many concerns, including damage form future hurricanes, and potential terrorism. 

The Port Ambrose transfer station was to be built off of  the beaches of Long Island, and would have allowed tanker ships to load up with liquefied natural gas, then distribute the gas into pipelines on the main land.

Cuomo made the announcement to an enthusiastic crowd of Long Island officials and activists.

David Chanatry

  Early this morning a group of protesters blocked access to a work site on Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes. It was the latest in a series of protests that have been taking place every few weeks since last fall. The protesters want to stop plans to store natural gas as well as propane and butane in the emptied-out salt caverns alongside the lake. David Chanatry from the New York Reporting Project at Utica College spent a day at the site.

Vermont Gas logo
Vermont Gas

The Vermont Public Service Board is reconsidering a natural gas pipeline project after cost overruns altered project plans.

NG Advantage

After cost increases scuttled plans for a natural gas pipeline beneath Lake Champlain, International Paper's Ticonderoga mill has signed a contract with Colchester, Vermont based NG Advantage to deliver compressed natural gas by truck.

The end is near for the last coal-fired power plant in western Massachusetts.

Mount Tom Station in Holyoke, which had generated electricity only sporadically in recent years, is to shut down for good this month.  Alicia Barton, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center said her agency is funding a $100,000 study to look at possible reuses for the plant site.

" This is really going to be a community-led  process. What we hope to do is bring a set of additional expertise and information to that conversation."

WAMC/Pat Bradley

NYSEG, the New York State Energy and Gas Corporation, announced Wednesday that it will expand natural gas service in the town of Plattsburgh to at least a thousand new customers.

The debate over a proposed natural gas pipeline extension from Vermont to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, New York, continued Wednesday night as the Vermont Public Service Board held a public hearing on the issue.

Addison County Regional Planning Commission

Regulatory agencies in Vermont are reviewing a plan by Vermont Gas to bring natural gas to the International Paper plant in Ticonderoga Mill in New York.  Officials in Ticonderoga are asking the regional planning commission to consider their interests as that entity reviews the project.

Some residents in Vermont say they are being threatened with eminent domain because they are concerned about a gas pipeline that would run through their property.  The utility building the project says while such notices have been sent, eminent domain is a last resort.

wikipedia.org

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — New England governors have announced a plan to expand the region's pipeline capacity to deliver more natural gas and cut energy costs.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he and the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont have asked the region's grid operator to help as the states seek proposals for transmission equipment and public works to deliver enough electricity to serve 1.2 million to 3.6 million homes.

Ryan Delaney/WAMC

A Westchester County legislator says he has strong concerns about a natural gas line project that could run through portions of his county. He also wants Westchester to have a seat at the table.

Democrat Peter Harckham is the majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. He has written to the secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, requesting a comment period extension for the proposed Algonquin Incremental Market Project and expressing his concerns about how the project will impact public safety and the environment.

Anti-fracking signs
WAMC News

VESTAL, N.Y. (AP) — Big energy companies have been trying for five years to tap the riches of the Marcellus Shale in southern New York. They promise thousands of jobs, economic salvation and an abundant, clean-burning source of fuel.

But for all its political and financial clout, the industry hasn't been able to get its foot in the door. One reason: Folks like Sue Rapp and Vera Scroggins are in the way.

Gas Storage Adds To Fracking Controversy In Upstate

Jul 3, 2013
David Chanatry

It’s something few people think about, but all that natural gas and other fossil fuels being produced by hydrofracking has to be stored somewhere before it gets to the consumer. Often used for the job: underground salt caverns like the ones near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. Now an out of state company wants to expand storage there, a plan some local residents call risky.

Representatives from grassroots groups across several states will be in Washington, D.C. Thursday to attend a public meeting of a federal commission. They will also be there to protest what they call the agency’s rubber-stamping of natural-gas infrastructure projects.

The Day of Action comes under the banner of “We the People Matter ”, a new organization, and web site, that connects several grassroots groups that Asha Canalos says are fighting similar battles – the agency’s track record of approving natural-gas infrastructure projects despite citizen opposition.

A recently released report shows that due to an aging infrastructure in Massachusetts, tens of millions of dollars worth of natural gas escapes into the atmosphere before consumers can use it to heat their homes. More from WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard…

Last month the Conservation Law Foundation released a report that said leaky pipes in Massachusetts contribute to a loss of $38.8 million dollars worth of natural gas each year. The losses they say are a public safety hazard, contribute to global warming, and force the customers to pick up the bill.

Courtesy NG Advantage

A new company has broken ground on the first facility in Vermont that will truck natural gas to businesses across Vermont that are unable to tap into pipelines carrying the fuel.

Joe Mahoney - The Oneonta Daily Star

Aug 23, 2012

A company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline through parts of four New York counties could be facing growing public opposition. Constitution Pipeline wants to run the line from Susquehanna County Pennsylvania through parts of Deleware, Schoharie, Chenango and Broome counties, but more landowners in those counties will not grant permission for the company to conduct land surveys for the project. Joe Mahoney is a reporter with the Oneonta Daily Star newspaper, and has been following the story. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

In a recently published interview, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation chairman Joe Martens says that the state’s review of the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas – known as ‘fracking’ – remains a work in progress, despite the department having already produced about 4,000 pages on the subject.

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