Jul 17, 2015 12:35 PM
Smaller gas pipeline unlikely to mollify opponents in southern NH
Kinder Morgan is proposing to narrow the size of a controversial natural gas pipeline through southern N.H. - a move that would also reduce the size of a proposed compressor station in New Ipswich.
The company announced on Thursday that its board of directors had approved a $3.3 billion investment based on the smaller pipe diameter of 30 inches rather than 36 inches.
“We have always said we won’t overbuild. We want to build to serve the natural gas needs of the region. At this point we are comfortable with a 30-inch pipeline as satisfying the customers we have secured and the customers we are looking to secure,” Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan vice president for public affairs, told the Union Leader.
But at least one opponent said the changes will not alter community opposition.
“This would cause the same amount of environmental upheaval and disruption to landowners during construction as a larger pipeline would,” said Kathryn Eiseman, president of the Pipe Line Awareness Network for the Northeast.
The company had said previously that the pipeline could be 30 or 36 inches but had pre-filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the larger diameter.
The project is designed to transport low-cost natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania, through upstate New York, northern Massachusetts, and into the Granite State in Winchester. It then stretches across the southern tier of the state through 17 communities, including Milford, Merrimack, Londonderry, Litchfield and Pelham, before re-entering Massachusetts and terminating at Dracut.
Supporters of the pipeline say it is desperately needed to increase the flow of natural gas into the region to reduce home-heating and electricity costs. Opponents say the project is much larger than what is needed, and solutions on a smaller scale are already in the works.