Selectmen to revisit stance on pipeline

WILTON – Selectmen have received a request to revisit the town’s position on the expansion or construction of a natural gas pipeline in the town. In 2016, town meeting passed a resolution in response to a proposal from Kinder-Morgan to construct a pipeline through the area.

On Monday, Nov. 20, resident Chris Balch said the language of that resolution was specific to Kinder-Morgan and now there are other companies looking at natural gas, and would like to see the language broadened.

“Our concern is Liberty Utilities,” he said, which is constructing an installation in Keene. “It is only a matter of time before Kinder-Morgan gets interested again.” He also mentioned New England Direct Pipeline.

Chairman Bill Condra asked if there was an effort to bring one through now.

Balch said, “in a round-about” fashion. “There is a campaign to bring natural gas to New Hampshire.” The installation in Keene, he said, “could handle a 36-inch pipeline.”

He said the only reason Kinder-Morgan did not pursue its pipeline project was a lack of customers. With enough customers, “they will come back.”

Asked where the gas would come from, Balch said, “the shale fields in Pennsylvania.”

Selectman Kermit Williams suggested the group collect the required 25 signatures for a petition article on the Town Meeting warrant. He noted the town does not have the authority to tell people who they can sell their land to, but such companies “tend to avoid towns that oppose them.”

Condra said voters supported the earlier petition and probably would again, but he, personally, was a proponent of natural gas since he has always used propane. He advised Balch to get the petition to the town office “quickly,” so it could be included.

In other business, selectmen were asked if the town had a noise ordinance, which is does not.

The request was from a resident who was protesting “construction noise” late in the evening.

Williams said most such regulations limit hours of operation.

Asked if the regulation would include target shooting, Williams said it usually referred to construction, but could be expanded.

Town Administrator Scott Butcher was asked to do some research, find out what other towns do, and prepare a draft ordinance.