Two views of Pipeline query

We have two thoughts about Amherst’s decision to ask the pipeline company Kinder Morgan to find an alternative to its proposed route through that town:

1. Why not ask? Nothing is ever lost by asking.

2. The fact that the town feels the need to ask for a different route could be an acknowledgement that the pipeline is coming whether folks like it or not.

It could also be, of course, that the town is merely hedging its bet, hoping that the pipeline doesn’t come through Amherst but, just in case the regulatory powers that be give it the go-ahead, moving to block the apparent worst case scenarios, including the line bisecting Ponemah Bog, an important environmental area.

According to John D’Angelo, the selectmen’s representative to the town’s Pipeline Task Force, the group is not proposing a specific route but is telling the company what parts of town to avoid. There are, of course, people in Amherst (and Milford and many other New Hampshire communities) who would like Kinder Morgan to avoid their town entirely.

As you might recall, we have a certain amount of skepticism about Amherst’s ability to keep the line out – as we do about Milford’s – because of our lack of confidence in state and federal regulatory commissions. Too often they give public utilities what they want, although most public utilities know to ask for far more than they expect to get and hope to get a little more than what they really need.

Still, it’s good to see Amherst taking a proactive step even if that step makes one wonder about officials’ belief that they might have a chance to keep the pipeline out.