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Jul 3, 2015 1:20 PM

New Ipswich proposed pipeline compressor station has one family ready to pack up and leave


NEW IPSWICH - 14 years ago Rebecca and Sebastian Barthelmess picked a plot of land in New Ipswich to build their dream home. They grew their family in that home and expected to stay for 50 years or more.

Now, Rebecca Barthelmess says, if a proposed pipeline compressor station goes in, they are moving out.

Barthelmess says the risk of contamination, fires and explosions is just too great.

But Kinder Morgan spokesperson, Tiffany Eddy, says there is a lot of misinformation being presented and they look forward to clearing the air. They say several public meetings and open houses are planned for this summer to address the community's concerns.

Kinder Morgan says they have been operating a compressor station in Pelham without incident since 1951. Pelham is a smaller station that the proposed New Ipswich station, but Eddy says, the regulations are the same.

"The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sets a noise limit at 55 decibels. That applies to the Pelham station and will also apply to this proposed New Ipswich station," Eddy explains. "And just to give you an idea of what 55 decibels sounds like: It would be about the same as standing 100 feet away from an air conditioning unit."

And the rumor the proposed pipeline is to ship gas overseas? Not true, says Kinder Morgan.

Eddy says, "there is a energy crisis in this state and region and this pipeline will address many of those energy needs." According to the US Energy Information Administration in the winter of 2013-14 the Northeast paid an average of 4 times more for natural gas than the rest of the country. A number that could dramatically change with this proposed pipeline.

NH1 asked Eddy, would she be open to a pipeline proposed next to her home. "Absolutely," she says. "Kinder Morgan is a good neighbor and has been a good steward to the community and the environment."

But as for Barthelmess, she says it's just not worth it.

"I'm not sacrificing my children," Barthelmess says. "We can't. We'll walk away"

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding public scoping meetings later this month. One is planned for Wednesday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Nashua Radisson, 11 Tara Boulevard. A second meeting is planned for July 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Milford Town Hall, One Union Square. A third meeting is planned in Winchester the week of July 27 but the venue and the specific date have not been set yet.

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