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Gov. Hassan urges feds to seek alternative route for gas pipeline

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to fully investigate alternative routes for the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline, and require developers to “comprehensively address” the questions and concerns of New Hampshire residents.

Kinder Morgan is hoping for FERC approval to build a new natural gas transmission line through Southern New Hampshire. The company recently announced another series of open house meetings for New Hampshire residents for the project, which would also have to be approved by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee.

In a letter to FERC Chairman Norman C. Bay, the governor requests that FERC require the gas pipeline company to respond to a series of questions related to water and air quality, noise, safety issues and how the company will work with rural communities to enhance emergency response capabilities.

Hassan also raised concerns that the project is not needed in New Hampshire, and that any regional benefits will not outweigh the impact on the 17 communities along the proposed route, including Milford, Merrimack, Londonderry, Litchfield and Pelham.

“I ask that FERC staff looks closely at the proposed route and consider all potential viable alternatives,” Hassan wrote. “The siting of energy transmission projects must strike a balance between potential benefits in reduced energy costs and potential negative impacts. We must work to ensure that the potential negative impacts of the proposed project do not disproportionately outweigh the benefits, particularly for the residents and communities that would bear the burden of hosting the project.”

Opponents of the pipeline have been pressuring elected officials to take a tougher stand against the project, after opposition from Massachusetts politicians forced the company to reroute its proposal through Southern New Hampshire last year.

In December, 2013, Hassan joined the five other New England governors in issuing a statement titled, “New England Governors’ Commitment to Regional Cooperation on Energy Infrastructure Issues.” It called for a regional initiative to build new energy projects to offset soaring electricity prices.

“To ensure a reliable, affordable and diverse energy system, we need investments in additional energy efficiency, renewable generation, natural gas pipelines and electric transmission,” the statement read.

In related news, 2 New UGI pipelines will call Pennsylvania home.

This article was written by Dave Solomon from The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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