A Maine natural gas company is withdrawing plans for a $90 million project announced earlier this year.
In announcing the withdrawal, Summit Natural Gas alluded to political opposition to the gas pipeline that would have expanded natural gas access in Waldo and Knox counties.
“Without regional alignment on the best ways to reduce emissions and promote cleaner energy usage, we will no longer pursue plans to bring natural gas to this part of Maine,” CEO Kurt Adams said Tuesday.
The pipeline project had attracted early support from leaders in Rockport and Belfast, but opposition was growing against the project, with groups like Sierra Club Maine campaigning against the “fracked gas line.”
Summit had pitched the pipeline as a move to limit climate change, coming at a time when Gov. Janet Mills has pledged to make Maine climate neutral by 2045. The company said the project would have reduced Maine’s carbon emissions by 263,000 metric tons over five years, which is equivalent to removing 56,000 cars from the road.
Natural gas is a “relatively clean burning” fossil fuel, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the use of natural gas results in lower rates of carbon dioxide emissions than oil or coal.
Summit said the pipeline would have created 100 jobs. It planned to break ground on the project in the fall, with service coming online in 2022 in Belfast, Camden, Rockport, Rockland and Thomaston and later expanding to Northport and Lincolnville.