Sharp Divide on Pipeline Question - 306 responses

Dec 08, 2014

As winter chills set in, energy costs remain an area of concern for many Granite State residents. But would a proposed natural gas pipeline provide relief from rising bills, or exact a cost on New Hampshire's environmental resources? On December 8, Kinder Morgan announced it had moved the preferred route for a proposed pipeline to pass through roughly 80 miles of seventeen New Hampshire towns before returning to Massachusetts. In the wake of the move, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members to weigh in on whether state regulators should allow the pipeline.

Of those directly responding to the question, 54% expressed support for the proposal, while 46% stood opposed. Twenty-three percent of commenters chose to use the question as the basis for a broader debate on safety, energy and the environment. In all, the LFDA received 136 specific comments and 170 concurrences for a total of 306 citizen responses.

Supporters noted that a majority of the proposed route would place the pipe under transmission lines on existing PSNH rights-of-way. "What additional damage would it cause?" one commenter asked. Many also cited the need for increased energy capacity in New England. "More gas and electricity in the region will help NH," another respondent argued.  Others pointed out that the pipeline was likely to be safer than the alternative of continuing to move natural gas by truck or rail. "The gas will be moved one way or another," a poster noted.

Opponents expressed concern the risks of spills or fire. "Too dangerous," one respondent argued. Many felt that, as the pipeline's ultimate destination lay in Massachusetts, that New Hampshire should not shoulder the risk and environmental costs. "The pipeline will not increase supply in the state nor lower rates," one commenter said. Others worried about the impact the pipeline might have on the aesthetics of the region and the potential for environmental damage. "Why sell out our natural areas for any amount of money?" another poster asked.

Those electing to use the question as the basis for broader debate  discussed alternative energy sources such as wind power or the extension of the license for the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, and both positive and negative comparisons were made with the proposed Northern Pass.

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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