Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winchester School Board takes stance against proposed natural gas pipeline

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff

WINCHESTER — The school board has taken a stance against Kinder Morgan’s proposed natural gas pipeline, saying the project would put the safety of the town’s students at risk.
School board members explained their opposition to the project in a Feb. 7 letter to residents and members of town boards, saying they “feel this project is a safety concern to our children and our citizens as it has the possibility of contaminating our drinking water.
“In addition, our school buses will be crossing the pipeline several times throughout the day. We feel this puts our children at an unnecessary risk,” they said.
The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a Kinder Morgan company, is proposing construction of a 36-inch-wide pipeline to carry natural gas from shale gas fields in Pennsylvania through upstate New York, part of northern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire before going to a distribution hub in eastern Massachusetts.
Monadnock Region communities in the path of the proposed pipeline are Fitzwilliam, Richmond, Rindge, Troy and Winchester.
The letter, which was signed by all five members of the Winchester School Board, said the pipeline is proposed to pass about a mile from Winchester School, which is also an emergency shelter for the town.
“Due to the fact we are also a shelter for our community, we do not feel we are prepared for a possible disaster that can and has occurred with similar pipeline projects,” the letter says.
School board members are also concerned about the pipeline’s proposed path through the town’s largest aquifer, according to the letter.
Besides Winchester, other area districts with schools within 5 miles of the path of the pipeline include Monadnock Regional, with Emerson Elementary School in Fitzwilliam and Troy Elementary School, and Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative, with Rindge Memorial School.
F. Barrett Faulkner of Swanzey, chairman of the Monadnock school board, said Friday his board hasn’t taken a position on the project, and board members have declined in the past to weigh in on issues that aren’t directly related to providing education.
However, he doesn’t know what the board will do, if anything, about the proposed pipeline, he said.
The Jaffrey-Rindge board hasn’t taken a position on the project, according to board meeting minutes.
The proposed pipeline is expected to travel through 17 towns in New Hampshire.
Outside of the Monadnock Region, other public schools near the proposed pipeline path include Amherst Middle School, Litchfield Middle School and Souhegan High School in Amherst, according to mapping expert and Greenville resident Jim Giddings.
Giddings, who is with the anti-pipeline activist group NH Pipeline Awareness, said Friday Souhegan High School is partially within the 900-foot “incineration zone” around the pipeline if it were to detonate.
The Winchester letter ends with school board members asking other town boards to join them in keeping the town safe.
School board Chairman Rick Horton said Thursday that when board members heard about the proposed pipeline, they began seeking information about it.
As elected officials responsible for the roughly 700 students enrolled in the school district, board members believe they need to be informed on this matter, he said.
“The priority of the school board is not only to educate local children, but also make sure they’re safe,” he said.


Mike Towne said...

While I agree that this proposed pipeline through our town and over our aquifer is a bad idea and that it could become a potentially hazardous situation. I have to ask where the School Board and in particular Mr. Horton was, in seeking information and protecting the children in my area and those of the Westport Village area of Swanzey in regards to the carcinogenic fumes and particulates that spew from the allowed asphalt plant that sits but mere yards from the town's aquifer. I don't remember them writing any letters, or coming to any meetings to voice their concerns over the safety of these children subjected to this harm, though it is very well documented. Guess it's all a different story when it's proposed for your backyard and not someone else's.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the way it always is Mr. Towne? No one ever cares about the things that affect other people until something happens to affect them. Too bad you didn't have any support from the people in town, woe is us if something happens out there that effects the water we all drink. I can't fathom how the people in Swanzey must feel especially those with kids that our town officials and members of our boards didn't consider the consequences their actions would have on the lives of others.

Anonymous said...

Oh boo hoo all you complainers live up in that area we can't hear the noise or smell that plant don't like it move out! don't need your kind here anyways you're a troublemaker and now your paying for it along with that loud mouth Davis as for Swanzey kids who cares this is Winchester

Anonymous said...

When the school board is done with the pipe line issue, maybe they can meet with the Hinsdale board and find out how they cut over 300K from the school budget.

Anonymous said...

Subtraction isn't taught in Winchester, only addition, haven't you been paying attention all these years?

Anonymous said...

To the Boo Hoo-er. First they came for the socialist and I did not speak out...Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade union and I did not speak out...I was
Not a trade union.

Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out.... I was not a Jew

Then they came for me and there was no one to speak out.

Anonymous said...

Do you realy expect anyone educated in Winchester to understand that quote. Do you?

Most have there head up their arss!

Elucidator said...

Then for those educated in Winchester - or other locales where this wasn't taught: the quote is from Pastor Martin Niemoller who lived in Germany during the World War II era and was in reference to the Nazi policy of rounding up and carting away all the "undesireables". He wrote several versions of his poem over the years. All had the same theme - if you don't speak up when injustice is done to others, nobody will be left to speak up when injustice is done to you.