Monday, November 30, 2015

Reasons to reject pipeline are many

This weekend I shopped in Athol and Orange, Mass., buying items that could have just as easily been purchased in Keene or surrounding towns. Why would I pay more to shop in Massachusetts? Last summer Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey commissioned a study on whether there was a legitimate need for Kinder Morgan’s NED pipeline. That report was released recently. It concluded that the project was unnecessary and that there were other, less environmentally devastating ways to provide energy needs at peak demand times.
Wow, imagine that. A government official actually looking out for the best interests of the people. Paying 6.25 percent extra on my purchases seemed like a small way to say “thank you” to the Commonwealth. If the pipeline isn’t allowed to be built there, it won’t be built here in New Hampshire.
With our governor willing to give away a 70-mile strip of land belonging to my family, friends, and fellow Granite Staters, our hope that this project will be stopped has to come from our neighbors to the south.
Gov. Maggie Hassan’s idea of protecting the people’s interests is to fire the one person on the Public Utilities Commission who had questions concerning the project. Maybe she thinks it is those “corporations are people too” people that she represents. Word must have gotten around Concord that if you want to keep your appointed job, you better fall in step behind the governor on this issue.
A Canadian lynx has been seen in the vicinity of the proposed route in four different towns since the first of the year. Someone who had seen the lynx on several occasions said that a New Hampshire Fish & Game officer informally confirmed that there was a lynx living in the area. Prior to the close of FERC’s public comment period in a letter to the Fish & Game Commissioner, I asked that they submit this information to FERC, being that Canadian lynx are considered a threatened species protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act.
Less than a week later, Fish and Game announced a proposal to reinstate a bobcat hunting season. Perhaps a coincidence, but it looked for all the world like a state-sponsored “shoot, shovel and shut up” solution to the presence of an animal that could hinder the pipeline from being built. Speaking to Evan Mulholland at Fish and Game in Concord did little to reassure me with these answers to my concerns. None of their officers had reported seeing a lynx. No, hunters wouldn’t mistake a bobcat for a lynx. If they did accidently shoot it, of course they’d report it. And if the lynx were dead, at least we’d know that there had been one there.
The presence of a protected species is only one of the many reasons why not one blade of grass should be disturbed, nor even one tree cut down, nor one square inch of land stolen from private citizens to build this environmental nightmare. The majority of the product to be transmitted through this pipeline is for export. Construction costs will be paid by us through a surcharge on our electric bills.
Gov. Hassan, it is time you considered the interests of the people who have Homo sapiens DNA, not a corporation “people” with fat wallets loaded with campaign contributions.

Jennie L. Hill


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