Sunday, October 11, 2015

Winchester selectmen vote to join pipeline coaltion

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff

WINCHESTER — What has been a mostly easy decision for officials in 14 towns along the proposed path of a controversial natural gas pipeline, has been a struggle for selectmen here.
To join, or not to join the N.H. Municipal Pipeline Coalition? The question has surfaced during several Winchester selectmen meetings since southern New Hampshire communities started banning together in January against the planned Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.
Late last month, the majority of Winchester selectmen finally answered in the affirmative, joining Amherst, Brookline, Fitzwilliam, Greenville, Litchfield, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, New Ipswich, Pelham, Richmond, Rindge, Temple and Troy.
Together, representatives from the communities meet regularly about the proposed pipeline. The only cost is for legal services.
Brookline Town Administrator Tad Putney, who represents that town on the coalition, said last week being part of the group is a way for towns to share information, and have greater strength in effectively opposing the pipeline as a group instead of individually.
Twelve of the 14 towns have signed on to be involved in legal matters with the coalition, which is represented by a lawyer, he said. He expects Winchester will become the 13th community to be part of that group, he said.
Meanwhile, two other towns that aren’t on the pipeline route, but nearby, have expressed interest in joining the coalition, he said. He declined to name the communities.
Winchester residents and non-residents, particularly those associated with the Winchester Pipeline Awareness group — and officials from neighboring towns — had pushed Winchester selectmen for months to take a stand and at least join the coalition. But board members wouldn’t vote, saying they needed more information about costs the town could face if it joined the coalition, and more information about the pipeline project.
That was until Sept. 30, when Winchester selectmen voted 4-1 to join the coalition and donate $500 toward its legal fees. Selectman Theresa G. Sepe was the dissenting vote.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC, a Kinder Morgan company, is proposing the transmission pipeline, which would carry natural gas from shale gas fields in Pennsylvania through upstate New York, parts of northern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire before going to a distribution hub in eastern Massachusetts.
The pipeline’s proposed route has it crossing about 70 miles of southern New Hampshire, including the Cheshire County towns of Fitzwilliam, Richmond, Rindge, Troy and Winchester, and carrying up to 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas — an amount equivalent to providing electricity for 1.5 million households.
Kinder Morgan officials say the influx of natural gas into New Hampshire will drive down high winter energy costs, and help prevent an energy shortage in the region.
Members of the pipeline awareness groups in the region question those claims, and say the pipeline will do more harm than good to the communities it passes through.
The vote last month came as a surprise, albeit a welcome one, for Susan L. Durling, a founding member of Winchester Pipeline Awareness, who attended the meeting.
Durling said she had no idea Selectmen Chairwoman Roberta A. Fraser was going to start the meeting talking about the pipeline and in such strong terms that it would be of no benefit to the community, and therefore the town should join the coalition.
A message left for Fraser wasn’t returned by press time Saturday.
“We are very glad the town finally made this decision,” Durling said. “We hope this means a change in the tide, and town officials are going to step up and help their citizens understand what is going on with the pipeline, and reach out to them to education them.”
She said resident Christopher Steadman will be the town’s representative to the N.H. Municipal Pipeline Coalition.


Linder said...

What gives the selectmen the right to join any coalition and vote to raise tax dollars out of the budget without the voice of the registered voters?

Anonymous said...

Cant believe Chan didn't vote in lock step with his buddy, must be he plans to run for selectmen again. Sorry Chan, too late.

Johnny Appleseed said...

@ Linder

We did, we the voters said no pipeline. We the voters elected these people to stand up for us and do whatever it takes to keep this greedy company from ruining our homes and lands and destroying our way of life. Evidently not only don't you vote, you don't read the ballot if and when you do. Go back under your rock and stay there.

won't get my vote again said...

Teresa needs to find something else to do too. If she can't abide but what the people want or see that this taking of other people's property to enrich the coffers of a company who's safety record is terrible, she needs to be voted out of office come March. There is no viable excuse for her behavior.

Concerned said...

Totally agree with what "Johnny Appleseed", and "won't get my vote again", said.

Linder said...

Johnny Appleseed or is that your name of is it "Johnny Banana Head"! Who stated with his 3 grade grammar, "the voters elected these people to stand up for us and do whatever it takes to keep this greedy company from ruining our homes and lands and destroying our way of life". One thing is {You used to many ands} WTF Johnny, what articles from 2015 could I find where that is stated, we gave the selectmen the permission to spend our tax dollars or join any coalition.
Where does it states we voted for no pipeline.

Article 23... Deny Kinder Morgan access to town won property.

Article 24..of the We voted to oppose approval of the NH Energy Facility Site Evaluation construction and installation of a natural gas pipeline.

Article 25..and nothing there.

Do you ever use spell-check? Your sentence, evidently not only don't {didn't} you vote, you don't {didn't} read the ballot if and when you do. {Do what?}. Go back under your rock and stay there. I like your brainiac quote from the past. "Do you know any other cute quotes that are original that maybe I could use on some expecting individual at the tea club to make me seem smarter.

Johnny Appleseed said...

@ Linder

^ idiot.
Every town has them, we just seem to have more than our fair share. You still don't get it. Let me see if I can explain it to you in terms you will understand.

point #1. The townspeople voted to deny Kinder Morgan access to town property to survey for this proposed pipeline, right?

point #2. The townspeople voted to oppose construction of this pipeline in Winchester, right?

point #3. The townspeople voted to abolish the Budget Committee, thus putting all of the power and responsibility for spending our tax dollars in the hands of the Select Board; which by the way was voted into office by the townspeople, right?

Therefore my demented friend, thy can spend tax dollars on anything they feel is best for the townspeople of Winchester. Get it?

Linder said...

All can say is WOW! Stupidity strikes two out of every five>

Johnny Appleseed said...

Exactly, how did it feel when it hit you head on? I have to ask why them spending $500. is such a big deal to you when they blow money like water on things this town does not need or gives outrageous bonuses and cost of living raises to people who don't deserve them Where's your outrage then, Linder?
Why don't you go read the latest Selectman's meeting minutes and then come back and post a constructive comment about their spending ?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of outrage, we already have one department that is a family business, are we headed toward another?

Anonymous said...

Joining the Coalition will offer legal support if needed. This is no bunch of rabble rousers. It is made up of town officals and their representatives. There are two lawyers involved and the money for it I believe came out of the town's legal fund. Also.....Hats off to the BOS and the Conservation Commission for working to keep the pipeline out of Southern New Hampshire. That and the dedicated folks of the Pipeline Awareness group. At least there are some who heard the vote of the town and are working hard plus staying informed to keep the pipeline out of our town.