Year in Review: Pipeline defeated 

  • Mark Mansfield of New Ipswich plays the sound of a compressor station blowdown at 98 decibels outside of the Town Office. Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Residents from Greenville and beyond gathered in front of the Town Office to protest the Kinder Morgan gas pipeline. FILE PHOTO BY Nicholas Handy

  • Residents from Greenville and beyond gathered in front of the Town Office to protest the Kinder Morgan gas pipeline. Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/29/2016 9:54:13 AM

When the news hit Southern New Hampshire in late 2014 that a proposed natural gas pipeline would be switching routes to cut through the Granite State, it rocked many of the small towns proposed to be affected – many of whom banded together in opposition to the proposal. Ultimately, citing a lack of contracted users for the gas it carried, pipeline developers withdrew their proposal this spring.

The Northeast Energy Direct line, proposed by Kinder Morgan, would have included New Ipswich, Mason, Rindge and Greenville along its route. New Ipswich was also proposed to be the site of a major compressor station to push gas through the pipe, sited on the New Ipswich and Temple town line, and less than a half mile from the Temple Elemand Mason was proposed to have a smaller lateral pipe dropping down from the main line to deliver gas to Massachusetts.

The towns did not take this news lightly, banding together in a coalition that included most of the affected towns, and pooling funds raised at Town Meeting or from their legal budgets to hire a lawyer to represent their interests and fight the proposal.

Even towns that were slated to see some benefit from the gas, such as Rindge, where there was a proposal to put a distribution line for the gas down Routes 202 and 119, had boards and townspeople alike speaking out against the proposition, and anti-pipeline articles or articles to raise funds specifically to fight the pipeline passed resoundingly at Town Meetings.

Temple unanimously passed an article officially citing the town as anti-pipeline, and agreed to pay for a baseline air quality test in March. Greenville agreed to raise $20,000 to put toward the pipeline fight. Rindge passed resolutions to ban pipeline surveyors from town land. Mason raised more than $80,000 to pay for pipeline opposition.

Ultimately, however, Kinder Morgan withdrew its plans this spring, only a month or so after Town Meetings set aside funds to continue the opposition, citing a lack of contracted use of the gas. In the middle of 2015, the company had announced a downsizing of the project, for the same reason, halving the size of its proposed compressor station and dropping the size of the pipe – and thus the amount of gas it would be transporting – from 36 inches to 30.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244.


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