Concord, NH – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) sent letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and to Kinder Morgan relaying concerns that she shares with her constituents regarding the proposed Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline. Kuster has fought for an open, transparent, and fair review process for the pipeline and recently toured a number of sites in southern New Hampshire that would be impacted by construction and operation of the pipeline. Kuster sent the letters as a result of her recent visits and other meetings and discussions held over the last several months.
“I am committed to supporting sensible energy policies that protect our environment and our local communities,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “In the last month, I have travelled to many of the towns impacted by the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline. I have taken the opportunity to meet with families, Select Board members, Conservation Commission members, town officials, and pipeline awareness groups, and in Mason, Temple, New Ipswich, Amherst, and Pelham. I share their concerns about many aspects of the proposal, including the environmental impact of construction and management of the pipeline and the potential safety implications that the current route raises for our rural communities. I am hopeful that these letters will ensure that the voices of my constituents are fully heard throughout this process.”
Please see these letters below.
Additionally, last month Congresswoman Kuster requested FERC delay the scheduling of the Cheshire County scoping meeting and extend the comment deadline. In response, FERC has agreed to delay the meeting and extend the comment period, though no firm dates have been set as of yet.
“I believe that this additional time for the scoping period is a vital step to ensure that my constituents have a chance to provide thoughtful input during FERC’s preliminary filing period,” said Kuster. “I am pleased that FERC has complied with our request by announcing the Cheshire County scoping meeting will be delayed and the comment period extended. I look forward to helping get word out to my constituents so that they can be a part of this process.”
September 2, 2015
Mr. Allen Fore, Director
3250 Lacey Road, Suite 700
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Dear Mr. Fore:
I am writing to you to convey some of the concerns that my constituents have regarding Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project. Since this project was first proposed, I have had the opportunity to listen to my constituents, community leaders and locally elected officials in towns affected by the pipeline route. Additionally, I have travelled to many of these towns in southern New Hampshire to survey the land where the pipeline route would lay and meet with families to discuss concerns surrounding the NED project. I am writing today to ensure that Kinder Morgan is informed of the practical concerns that my constituents and I share regarding the NED project.
One of the primary issues that has been brought forth by my constituents is the potential impact that the NED project will have on conservation lands and environmentally sensitive areas. New Hampshire has a rich tradition of protecting our land and preserving it for future generations to enjoy. The ecological vitality of Granite State conservation lands is critical to ensuring that wildlife species continue to live safely within their existing habitats. In particular, citizens of the town of Amherst have raised concerns about the pipeline’s potential effect on the Ponemah Bog and Scott Conservation land that are within close proximity of the pipeline route. Citizens of Amherst have highlighted that the biodiversity of these areas and their role as local wildlife sanctuaries could be negatively impacted by the NED project. I respectfully request that Kinder Morgan review these environmental factors and draft alternative routing proposals in the town of Amherst that do not interfere with the Ponemah Bog and Scott conservation land.
Citizens of the towns of Pelham and Mason have also expressed uncertainty about the NED project disrupting recreational areas. The Peabody Town Forest in Pelham is a highly valued parcel of land under the town’s jurisdiction that is frequented by hikers, nature observers and sportsmen throughout the year. The people of Pelham treasure their public-use lands and are worried that the NED project, which is routed through the Peabody Town Forest, will negatively affect their ability to enjoy this land. Similarly, the Fifield conservation land located in the town of Mason is designated as a habitat of high priority by the state of New Hampshire. Mason has established this conservancy area to preserve wildlife habitats, fisheries and other important natural resources, and citizens have expressed concerns that the NED project would impact the town’s ability to responsibly manage this conservation land.
I also share the concerns expressed by many towns including Mason, Pelham, and Temple that the route crosses over crucial aquifers that provide drinking water to thousands of residents along the route. These towns deserve thorough analysis about how the NED project would influence properties like the Peabody Town Forest, Fifield conservation land, and town aquifers.
Furthermore, the proposed location of the pipeline between the Amherst Middle School and Elementary School, and the location of a compressor station in New Ipswich near the local elementary school has raised questions about emergency preparedness and safety. The Temple Elementary School is located approximately 1,300 feet from the location of a compressor station and the pipeline route in Amherst crosses directly through two adjacent schools. Many local residents whose children attend the schools in both towns have questions about safety and disruption. The Compressor Station in particular raises concerns about noise pollution and the ability of volunteer emergency responders in surrounding rural communities to manage potential incidents. This is an issue of high concern for many small, rural towns along the route; I share my constituents’ concerns regarding the ability of volunteer emergency responders to properly manage any incidents that could occur along the pipeline or near the compressor station and ask that this issue be addressed before this project moves forward.
The Temple Elementary school also serves as the local community’s shelter in the event of an emergency. If an emergency were to occur with the pipeline or compressor station, there would not be a safe shelter for area residents. The safety and well-being of my constituents is a top priority of mine in Congress, and it is important that Kinder Morgan reviews all emergency preparedness plans and safety concerns while engaging with local communities. Small, rural towns have a narrow range of options for designating emergency shelters, and the placement of the NED project near the Temple Elementary school could require town planners to significantly alter emergency preparedness plans. In addition, I request that Kinder Morgan draft alternative locations for the compressor station that are not located within a close proximity to education facilities and buildings that are designated as emergency shelters.
New Hampshire is a quiet, rural state and thus there are considerations that must be taken into account in order for my constituents to maintain the peaceful quality of life that attracts them to the Granite State. I appreciate Kinder Morgan’s attention to the concerns that my constituents and I share, and understand the complicated process of siting a large energy proposal like the NED project. Many of my constituents have raised questions about the NED project’s impact on environmentally sensitive areas, public health and emergency preparedness plans, and I request that Kinder Morgan fully analyzes the specific concerns outlined in this letter during the decision making process. Thank you for your attention to these requests.
Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress