The Northeast Energy Direct pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan provides no benefit to New Hampshire yet it is proposed to cut through 17 communities across the southern tier of our state.
It is a 3-foot diameter pipeline that requires a 150-foot easement clearing a brand new utility corridor across private properties and conservation lands.
In Pelham, we are already home to a portion of the Concord Lateral transmission line from Dracut, Massachusetts up to Concord as well as Compressor Station 270B on the same pipeline system.
I mention this to allow readers to understand the word “NIMBY” does not apply to the Pelham community. We have allowed our backyard to be used for pipeline infrastructure un-regrettably for a number of years. We understand and contribute every day to the public good of the region, while Pelham itself does not enjoy the same benefits from natural gas that other municipalities do. Despite having two existing natural gas transmission pipelines and a compressor station here in town, Pelham does not have any distribution lines of natural gas for home heating, commercial use in our business district or for our school buildings and town offices.
To ask this community of hard-working citizens to give up their properties and conserved outdoor spaces for a third and much more excessive pipeline is unjust.
This project does not only affect the southern towns in our state. All of New Hampshire will suffer the consequences of this pipeline proposal without gaining from it. In making this deal with Kinder Morgan, the state of New Hampshire will set a precedent to allow the use of eminent domain for a private company.
Kinder Morgan wants us to believe that the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline will contribute to lower energy costs. The fact is, none of the gas Kinder Morgan is proposing to deliver has been contracted for by power plants. When study after study proves that our so-called “energy constraints” are limited to a few weeks in winter, there is no reason to spend $5 billion to build a new and massive pipeline that does not even connect to the power generators. Not all pipeline propositions are equal. The problem with the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline proposal is that it does nothing to reduce New England’s electricity prices. Additionally, rural New Hampshire towns beg the question if build-out of distribution for natural gas home heating is economically feasible.
This is a pipeline that will root us to and maximize the inefficiencies of New Hampshire’s high electricity costs. We need to look away from this proposal by Kinder Morgan if we seriously want to change the course and lessen our energy prices in the northeast. Currently, NH is a large contributor to the New England power grid, using only half of the electricity we generate and the rest is exported to the grid to benefit our neighboring states. Jobs can be created if NH starts establishing strong energy-efficiency programs. We must start taking a pro-active look to our energy future and working on a solution that keeps the energy flowing in state to benefit NH. The loss of land for the Northeast-Energy-Direct project that will export over 95% of the natural gas out of state is a step in the wrong direction.
I encourage that we all take a much closer look at this proposal to see that it is not a good deal for New Hampshire.
Rep. Eric P. Estevez (R-Pelham) is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He serves on the Judiciary Committee and represents the towns of Pelham and Hudson.