Town draws line in pipeline sand

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Last modified: 1/27/2016 6:09:00 PM
TEMPLE — Temple’s stance on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline is well-established — but not yet official.

This year, voters will have the opportunity to decide on the town’s stance on the pipeline during Town Meeting.

“Although so many petitions have been signed, we have never asked for a public vote on this matter,” said Select Board Chair Gail Cromwell, during a Select Board meeting Tuesday. “We feel that the town is 100 percent behind what we’re doing with the pipeline, but we thought we should put it to a vote.”

The Temple Select Board has publicly stated an oppositional stance on the pipeline, and appointed a advisory committee to follow pipeline news and make recommendations for how the town should proceed. Temple is one of the only towns not on the direct route of the pipeline to join a municipal committee of New Hampshire towns, which pools legal funds to fight the proposed line.

Though the pipe, which is proposed to run through southern New Hampshire on its way to deposit shale gas in Massachusetts, would not run through Temple, it is sited to go within a half mile of the town border, and has the possibility of impacting a town aquifer. One of the biggest concern for Temple, however, is related to a compressor station, designed to move gas through the pipe, proposed off of Temple Road, next to Temple’s border and within half a mile of the Temple Elementary School. Health effects from the emissions from the compressor are one of Temple’s overriding concerns with the project.

The proposed article asks the town to oppose the pipeline based on the impacts of drilling to install the pipe, emissions from a proposed compressor station close to Temple’s boarder, the proximity of the compressor station to the town’s school and the town’s lack of ability to respond to a pipeline emergency, and the effects on property values.

“The Northeast Energy Direct project threatens a healthy living atmosphere for both residents and wildlife and violates the Temple Master Plan to ‘protect the health safety, securing, and welfare of all inhabitants of Temple,’” the article reads.

In another non-monetary article, submitted by petition, asks the town to switch from a Town Meeting format to ballot voting for all warrant articles.

In a Town Meeting format, the town holds a public hearing of the budget and then holds a public meeting in March to vote on the budget and warrant articles. Amendments to the warrant articles or the budget can happen on the floor at Town Meeting. Voting on public positions, zoning amendments and some issues required by law is done during a poll vote.

An alternative is to allow all voting to be done at the polls, in a process often referred to as SB2, after the bill that created the option.

In SB2, town’s hold a budget hearing, and then a deliberative session in February. Voters who attend the deliberative session can amend the articles or budget there. Then, all articles are voted on at the polls in March.

The issue of SB2 will be voted on at the polls and requires a 2/3 majority.

The town will hold a public hearing on SB2 on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the town hall. Elections are March 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town hall. Town Meeting is March 12 at the Temple Elementary School.



Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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