Kinder Morgan pipeline is not the answer

Last modified: 2/19/2015 9:48:46 AM
Like many effective propaganda campaigns, the Kinder Morgan effort to “sell” its behemoth pipeline project planned for southern New Hampshire relies on lies that are repeated often enough to persuade people they must be true.

Lie No. 1: “The pipeline will be “co-located” with the existing PSNH power easement.” The implication is that the pipeline will not require the taking of much private land, since PSNH owns the high transmission lines right of way. The pipeline would be built not in the current row, but along side it. It will require at least 100 feet of additional land to be taken, all along its path, from private owners, conservation easements, towns and other public owners. It will leave a permanent scar across the state, on which no vegetation will be allowed to grow.

Lie No. 2: “The pipeline will bring natural gas to people’s homes.” Unless you already have the underground infrastructure in place in your neighborhood, no gas will be available for your home.

Lie No. 3: “Kinder Morgan will help us reduce property taxes by paying the town millions of dollars.” They are paying about $1 million total to all towns in a current 50-mile pipeline zone. They have promised local towns about $11 million more for about 70 miles of new pipe. After the first year, when depreciation formulas kick in, towns will be lucky to get one-tenth of what they’ve been promised.

Lie No. 4: “We need this pipeline to bring more natural gas to New Hampshire, so we have sufficient energy during our coldest winter days.” There are other ways — less costly, intrusive and dangerous ways — to beef up our supply of energy:

1.) The supply of liquid natural gas is becoming more abundant and available to New England through import and transport from within the U.S.

2.) Another gas pipeline being built right now will bring natural gas to New England by 2017.

3.) Oil prices have crashed, forcing other fossil fuel prices to drop as well.

4.) New Hampshire ratepayers made a huge financial investment in a scrubber for our coal-burning plant. This investment is sitting there, about to go down the drain, when it could be used to buy time as we continue our stated drive for non-fossil fuels. We could take any number of steps that would avoid the harrowing risks and dislocations this pipeline brings, while leaving the state in a more flexible position to take advantage of the volatility in the energy markets.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is huge. It will pipe so much more gas than we need in New Hampshire, and bring with it so many potential hazards. Most of this gas would be destined for high-profit export. High prices abroad may drive up the cost of natural gas at home, as we find ourselves competing with foreign countries for the gas we are taking all the risks to transport.

Lie No. 5: “Pipelines are safe.” In the last week of January alone there were five explosions of pipelines in the U.S. People were killed. Check Kinder Morgan’s safety record online. Then tell me how safe these pipelines are.

Susan Wessels lives in Rindge.


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