What would 
Thoreau think?

Last modified: 3/18/2015 7:03:13 PM
To the editor:

Henry David Thoreau spent a lot of time observing the natural world and advocating for the conservation and preservation of natural resources because he knew it was important for the future of a healthy world. Currently, the residents and landscape of southern New Hampshire face an environmental threat to our health and safety from Kinder Morgan’s proposed natural gas pipeline. The environmental threats begin in the initial construction phase as the blasting moves through 80 miles that include 66 standing bodies of water, 76 wetlands and 42 major rivers. They continue as KM pours up to 10 chemicals on the right-of-way to control vegetation — poisonous chemicals that are not safe and do not limit themselves to the growth they are intended to curtail or kill. And then there is the release of methane gas, which is 86 times worse for the changing climate over 20 years than carbon release.

Recently, an alternative New Hampshire pipeline project has been proposed — one that would rebuild and enlarge an existing line in the east. If this pipeline is similar to the others in the Boston area, it certainly needs to be rebuilt. Harvard researchers say that 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas, worth $90 million, escapes from the region’s pipes every year. In the rebuilding of this pipeline, the industry has the opportunity to reduce the currently escaping 60 to 100 percent of regional methane emissions.

So, what would Thoreau think? I believe he would talk about a future not dependent on fossil fuels; he would speak about the power of the sun, wind, and water. And in the end, he would choose to use, wisely, what is already in place rather than break new ground for old ideas.

“Never look back, unless you are planning to go that way.” — Henry David Thoreau



Coni Porter

Fitzwilliam


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