Pipeline protesters flood session

Last modified: 7/30/2015 9:57:07 AM
When Doug Arotsky and his wife Karen Sullivan moved into their dream home in New Hampshire, they planned to settle down and never pack up again.

That was before they discovered their home would be in the blast radius of a natural gas pipeline cutting through Southern New Hampshire.

“I’m 70 years old, now. I’m old and tired, and this is my last move. It’s a dream place, but it’s turning into a nightmare,” said Arotsky.

Arotsky and Sullivan arrived at the Nashua Radisson early Wednesday night, prepared to wait an hour or more just to make sure that they were able to put their names down to speak during a scoping session hosted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, who will have the final say on the pipeline, held the session to accept oral testimony form elected officials and affected landowners.

one pipeline opposition group full of fresh-faced hopefuls.

Kidz of the Pipeline Resistance were one of the many groups and individuals putting down a name to reserve three minutes to air their concerns.

“We’re here to stop the pipeline,” declared 8-year-old Elijah Barthelmess of New Ipswich.

“We’re right across the street from the pipeline,” added his brother, Jeremiah Barthelmess, 10. “And we don’t want to move.”

Most of the children wore blindingly neon green shirts. Far from being just childish fashion, green seemed to be the color of the day. As people trickled in, it was easy to spot those who were arriving for the pipeline meeting — most wore green.

Gary Elsworth of Mason also hoped to be able to speak at the meeting. Powerlines, which the pipeline is anticipated to cross, are located only hundreds of feet from his house.

“I’m not happy,” said Elsworth. “I’ll have a clearcut of 250 feet that I can’t use but will be taxed on. I moved out here in ‘87 to get away from cities and to have peace and quiet and trees. If this pipeline goes through, there will be a lot less of that.”

Mason Select Board member Charlie Moser was one of the few members of a public board hoping to speak at Nashua as well as tonight’s scoping session in Milford. He planned to ask that the state and local regulations be respected in the process.

“If I get the chance I also want to talk about the unfairness of the whole scoping process,” said Moser. “I question why we need to get all these people stirred up and attending scoping sessions before we’ve even determined if there’s really a need for this pipeline.”

Moser added that he believed New Hampshire had been short-changed in terms of time to study filings from the pipeline developer, Tennessee Gas Pipeline, compared to other states. The route was changed to run through New Hampshire in November of 2014.

An additional scoping session will be held in Milford at 6:30 tonight at the Milford Town Hall.


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