WAKEFIELD - Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's plan to construct a high-pressure gas pipeline through the Montrose section of Wakefield is apparently dead. The firm was seeking to bring the natural gas pipeline through sections of Saugus, Wakefield and Lynnfield, including part of the Reedy Meadow.But a letter from Tennessee Gas Pipeline to Conservation Commission Chairman Frank J. Luciani Jr. indicates that the project has been terminated. The letter, read at last night's ConCom meeting, blamed delays due to the protracted permitting process for making the project uneconomical. It is believed that state, not local, permitting was at issue.The complete letter, signed by H.W. McCracken on behalf of the company, reads as follows:“Tennessee Gas Pipeline regrets to inform you that its Essex-Middlesex Project is being terminated. Delays from the protracted permitting process have caused the project to become uneconomical to the extent that Tennessee and the project's customer, DistriGas of Massachusetts, have agreed to discontinue the project. Tennessee appreciates your efforts to assist with this project and looks forward to working with you in the future.”Town Administrator Thomas Butler confirmed by phone last night that he had spoken to a representative of the company and was expecting to receive a similar letter.Tennessee Gas Pipeline initially pitched its proposal to the Board of Selectmen on Sept. 12, 2005. Company representatives outlined their plan to construct a 7.6 mile, 24-inch wide natural gas pipeline through Saugus, Lynnfield and Wakefield. The company said that the pipeline would serve the growing demand for natural gas service in New England.The 2.4 miles of pipeline that the company wanted to put in Wakefield would have come out of Saugus near Breakheart Reservation, following the National Grid power line easement up the Saugus River valley northwesterly to Salem Street, near Montrose Avenue. From that point, the company proposed tunneling under Salem Street and Route 128 carrying the pipeline out to Audubon Road and into Reedy Meadow, still following the power line easement into Lynnfield.Tennessee had agreed to pay the town fair compensation for easements through town property. Contingent on their ability to secure all necessary permits, the firm had agreed to pay an additional $100,000 to the town in consideration for not requiring the firm to resort to eminent domain proceedings to take those easements.Wakefield gas customers were also expected to benefit from the project, due to Tennessee Gas Pipeline's assistance with negotiations between its customer, DistriGas, and the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department. DistriGas of Massachusetts is a major supplier of natural gas and owns capacity on Tennessee Gas Pipeline's distribution lines. Tennessee played a major role in facilitating negotiations between DistriGas and the Wakefield MGLD.Former MGLD Manager William Wallace estimated in 2006 that the deal could save the Department and its ratepayers more than $750,000 per year.
Ouch. If only they'd gotten through all that red tape.