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Rally against Kinder Morgan oil pipeline on Burnaby Mountain (These photos are from the rally against the proposed Kinder Morgan oil pipeline on Burnaby Mountain. Monday, November 17th, 2014 (IMage: Mark Klotz) Flickr'

Towns, residents push back on pipeline

To energy company Kinder Morgan, it’s called the Northeast Energy Direct Project. Some local residents refer to it differently.

The energy company is looking to bring natural gas into the region on a new pipeline mostly occupying current utility rights-of-way. However, several issues are keeping its construction from being a slam dunk.

A series of public meetings hosted by the company during the last 12 months brought large numbers of residents out to hear from the company and ask questions about the plan and process.

Kinder Morgan is hoping it will be able to stretch a gas pipeline from the Marcellus Shale fields in New York and Pennsylvania through southern New Hampshire and connect to existing lines along I-93.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC, which is a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, says it will bring gas to the region as demand increases, and bring jobs along with it. The NED pipeline website says the project “could save New England electricity customers over $3 billion annually,” create “1,000 jobs” and bring millions in tax revenue to the state.

According to reports published earlier, the Texas-based Kinder Morgan wants to bury the pipeline from Wright, N.Y., running east through 64 miles of Massachusetts and 71 miles in New Hampshire, before connecting with existing pipelines in Dracut, Mass.

An earlier route had the pipeline going through Beaver Brook property in Hollis. That plan has since been scrapped and a new route proposed.

Locally, the path for the 36-inch diameter pipe of pressurized gas passes through the Souhegan Valley, Merrimack, Litchfield, Pelham and Windham, tunneling underneath rivers including the Souhegan and Merrimack along the way.

It’s not a done deal, as there is vocal local opposition. Information sessions held by the company in several area towns have brought people out to hear from Kinder Morgan, and they in turn have heard from local residents in several affected towns.

A meeting in July brought scores of people to a ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua where over 70 people spoke, mostly against the pipeline’s construction. People expressed worry about safety and the negative effect a pipeline might have on property values, among other things.

“This project might set a record for the most amount of comments ever received,” said FERC project manager Eric Tomasi, noting that more than 3,000 comments had been emailed or mailed to FERC already.

Public officials in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have asked federal regulators for a “consolidated review” of five gas pipeline projects slated for New England, since pipeline critics belive there is no need to bring such a large amount of natural gas into the region.

The company filed plans on November 20 with the federal government seeking final approval of its plans. Next up is an environmental review.

In related news, Newly formed Lola Energy gets funding for Marcellus operations. 

(c)2015 The Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.)

This article was written by Don Himsel from The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.