Commission has different opinion

Well, you certainly have to hand it to the Amherst Conservation Commission: Its members sure did not take into consideration the current climate of anti-natural gas pipeline fervor that dominates this region and, of course, Amherst.

Instead, the commission issued a 36-page report, commissioned by the Board of Selectmen, saying, in essence:

“Pipeline? Meh. What’s the big deal?”

To be more specific, and less flippant, what the commission said about the plans of the Texas firm Kinder Morgan and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline company to run a pipeline through parts of southern New Hampshire, including Amherst’s iconic Ponemah Bog, was this:

“Based on current knowledge, the installation of the natural gas pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan appears to have limited long-term impact on the natural systems temporarily impacted by the pipeline construction.”

Well, that certainly shook up the local dynamic. After all, the vast, vast majority of folks who have been involved in pipeline discussions, including the Amherst selectmen, have come out strongly against it, concerned about many issues, including its effect upon conservation areas.

But the Conservation Commission did, we think, a real service to the discussion by forming its own opinion and not heeding outside opinions. It took courage, we think, because there’s a probability that some of the friends and neighbors of commission members are opposed to the pipeline and will not be happy with the report, thus, will not be happy with the commission.

Now that is not to say we agree with the report’s findings, but we find it hard to disagree, as much as we might like to. We are not environmental savants and are perfectly willing to acknowledge the Conservation Commission’s much greater expertise in this area. Still, how could it not affect something like Ponemah Bog?

Well, someday we might find out. If the pipeline is approved and goes through the Bog, one day we’ll know if the commission got it right for sure.

Until that day, however, if it ever comes, we must acknowledge their knowledge and good intentions and applaud them for doing a job, and issuing an opinion, that probably won’t result in a lot of local praise.