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FERC accepts application for controversial natural gas pipeline

A federal commission will begin looking in earnest at a plan for a natural gas pipeline that’s drawn controversy in southern New Hampshire, after officials ruled that the application is complete.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the notice Monday formally accepting a Nov. 20 application for the Northeast Energy Direct project, which it must do for a project to continue in the review process.

FERC is the sole federal commission responsible for approving or rejecting the project based on factors including need. The review process is expected to take about a year.

Anyone wishing to become an intervenor in FERC’s review of the project has until Jan. 6 to file a request with FERC, according to the notice.

Being an intervenor gives a person or group a legal status to be recognized as a party in the proceedings, the notice said.

People may also participate without party status by filing comments on the project with FERC on its website, ferc.gov and referring to docket number CP16-21-000, according to the notice.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, has proposed building the high-pressure transmission pipeline to carry fracked natural gas from shale gas fields in Pennsylvania through upstate New York, parts of northern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire before going to a distribution hub in eastern Massachusetts. The route would cross towns including Fitzwilliam, Richmond, Rindge, Troy and Winchester.

The project had been in the pre-filing stages with FERC for the past year, and continues to meet strong resistance from residents and local officials in the southwestern New Hampshire towns slated to be in its path. Their concerns range from the potential environmental and health effects that a high-pressure transmission pipeline could cause to concerns about the federal government taking property by eminent domain for the project.

Proponents of the project, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline officials, disagree.

They described the pipeline as “transformative” in the project’s application, saying the influx of natural gas into the Northeast, specifically New England, would drive down high winter energy costs, and help prevent an energy shortage in the region.

The more than 21,000-page application details Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s plan to build the pipeline, how its staff plans to minimize land and environmental impacts during and after construction, building techniques, the need for the pipeline and its exact route.

In related news, Northeast Energy Direct pipeline in the hands of FERC.

(c)2015 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

This article was written by Meghan Foley from The Keene Sentinel, N.H. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.