Many reasons to oppose the pipeline

To the Editor:

Thank you for your recent editorial regarding the proposed pipeline through the 18 communities in southern NH. As the Cabinet correctly point out, the pipeline could tie us in to continuing rate hikes over which we as a community could exert very little control. That is one of the many reasons why this pipeline is bad for New Hampshire. Here are some others:

First, the pipeline will probably raise, not lower, energy costs. The price of natural gas is determined by the world market and the addition of a transmission (not distribution!) line through our state will not affect that price. However, Kinder Morgan will be passing the costs of building the pipeline (well over 2 billion dollars) onto the rate payers, so while the cost of energy might go up, it’s certainly unlikely to go down.

Second, NH does not have an energy shortage and does not need this pipeline to meet its energy needs. The only scenario under which the pipeline would generate an economic benefit to NH is that the demand for electricity would have to continue to rise and no other measures, such as alternative energy sourcing or conservation would be employed. Black & Veatch, an independent agency hired by NESCOE (New England States Committee on Electricity) as well as NESCOE themselves both acknowledge that investments in energy efficiency and other measures could eliminate the economic case for the pipeline and that the research has not been done to evaluate these alternatives. At a minimum, this research would need to be conducted before the NED proposal can meet its burden of proof that the pipeline is a necessary component of the region’s energy needs.

Third, the building of the pipeline would de-incentivize the most promising alternative to the pipeline: solar power. A significant investment in solar energy would make New Hampshire far more self reliant and would provide more and better long term jobs. Germany, a country with an industrial economy has a more northerly location than New Hampshire, but currently generates 31% of its energy from solar power. The prospect of unlimited, free and healthy energy for the foreseeable future should at least be carefully analyzed. If Germany can do it, why can’t we?

In this letter, I have focused only on the economic issues. The damage to our neighbor’s homes and properties, the threats posed to our aquifers, the long term risks of leaks and explosions that the pipeline carries with it, the pipeline’s contribution to global climate change (methane, a tremendously powerful greenhouse gas, is released in great quantities during the process of fracking which is how the natural gas is obtained), the issues posed by eminent domain — are all in themselves powerful arguments against the pipeline. And what line of reasoning supports this unwanted intrusion into our communities? That given a particular and unlikely set of circumstances, the pipeline may save us money? Under scrutiny, that argument melts faster than the snow off of a brand new solar panel.

Michael Conley