Hartford, CT. – This week, a coalition of more than 90 climate and environmental justice groups released a letter to the governors of impacted states opposing Project Maple, a fracked-gas proposal that severely threatens decarbonization efforts across the Northeastern United States. 

The proposal seeks to expand an existing pipeline that runs through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. Although details are limited, documents released by Enbridge – the developer and pipeline owner – suggest the project will include expanding existing pipes, constructing a secondary pipeline along portions of the current route, adding LNG storage facilities, expanding compressor stations, and installing pipelines along new easements. 

Increased dependence on fracked gas for heat and electricity has repeatedly resulted in higher greenhouse gas emissions and consumer costs in the Northeast. Local groups in impacted communities have fiercely resisted three previous Enbridge gas expansion proposals since 2012, including the now complete AIM and Atlantic Bridge projects. 

In 2017, community organizing successfully resulted in the cancellation of the $3 billion Access Northeast Project, a plan that explicitly sought to export gas overseas from a proposed Canadian LNG terminal. From the information currently available, Project Maple is an attempted rebrand of the defeated Enbridge proposal. 

In response to Project Maple, 92 Northeastern climate and environmental justice groups released the following statement

There has never been a worse time to expand Northeast fracked-gas infrastructure. 

Decades of regional dependence on fracked-gas to power our homes and buildings has already impacted the health of our communities and proven expensive for our families. For this reason, state governments along the pipeline route have set ambitious clean energy and decarbonization goals. Enbridge’s Project Maple proposal threatens to sap critical momentum out of these planet-saving efforts. 

Fracked-gas hurts communities throughout its life cycle. In the shale fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, fracking poisons the air, land, and water. Along the pipeline route, nearby communities breathe in toxic emissions from compressor stations, constantly in fear of a devastating pipeline accident. Finally, inside our homes, fracked gas pollutes the air when we cook on stoves sold to us as harmless and efficient.  

Gas expansions’ health, safety, cost, and climate impacts are too consequential to ignore. Methane discharged from Project Maple would further warm the planet, exacerbating a climate crisis that has already brought increasingly severe storms and brutal cold snaps to the Northeast. Increased methane pollution would also worsen and increase the risk of respiratory conditions like asthma, leaving our elderly neighbors and children particularly vulnerable. Across the region, lives and homes have already been tragically lost to gas leaks, excavating mishaps, and over-pressurized gas mains. 

Environmental justice communities in our states are all too familiar with these dire consequences. More pipelines will exacerbate our existing Northeastern gas dependence, raise our energy bills, and harm our communities, all while ensuring big profits for faraway investors. We stand in solidarity with each other and will organize, mobilize, and take action to make sure that Project Maple is never built – and that Enbridge’s pipeline system in the Northeast is ultimately shut down once and for all.