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Spektra Energy's Fracked Gas “Bridge to Nowhere”, USA


Spectra Energy currently operates a natural gas compressor station in Burrillville, Rhode Island that draws fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale through 1,127 miles of pipeline in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

In anticipation of increasing global demand for natural gas, Spectra Energy have announced plans to build several hundred miles of additional pipeline, increase output, and make Burrillville a major hub of gas exportation on the East Coast.

Environmental justice organization such as Fossil Free Rhode Island and FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas) have rallied support across Rhode Island to protest expansion of the pipeline, which they have declared a "bridge to nowhere". Their efforts have resounded especially with residents of Burrillville, who are expressing growing fears over chemical exposure, noise pollution, and the risk of explosions.

To date, 27 organizations from NY, CT, RI and MA have signed on to a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has the power to approve the project. Most recently, FANG activists completed a 28 mile march from the compressor station in Burrillville to downtown Providence. Earlier in the year, four FANG members were arrested in the office of Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Senator who positions himself as environmentally progressive, yet has actively supported construction of the pipeline.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Spektra Energy's Fracked Gas “Bridge to Nowhere”, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:Rhode Island
Location of conflict:Burrillville
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other
Shale gas fracking
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Current Pipeline Length: 1,127 miles

Current Capacity: 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d)

Ownership: Spectra Energy Partners, LP, a subsidiary of Duke Energy

Operator: Spectra Energy

Project area:6733
Level of Investment for the conflictive project5,000,000.00 Dollars
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Spectra Energy Corp from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas)
350 Conneticut
Fossil Free Rhode Island
Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Boycotts of companies-products


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Global warming, Soil contamination
Potential: Fires
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:To date, 27 organizations from NY, CT, RI and MA have signed on to a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has the power to approve the project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Expansion of the Algonquin pipeline was approved by the United States FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) on March 3rd, 2015. Spectra Energy plans to begin in April 2015.

Sources & Materials

FANG, Northeast Campaign

The Providence Journal: Burrillville residents, supporters on the march against pipeline plan.

Oil and Gas Journal: Construction Begins at Cove Point

Waging Nonviolence: "Week of action marks turning point in campaign against Spectra Energy"

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video of a laugh riot action against Rhode Island "Bridge to Nowhere"

Meta information

Contributor:Eleanor Finley, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1813



FANG Occupies the Office of US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse


The March to Burrillville

FANG activists conducted a 28 mile march in the snow from the compressor station in Burrillville to the capitol building in Providence.