Proposed pipeline could be something good

To the Editor:

I have been following with interest the debate about the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline that will pass through southern New Hampshire including Milford and Amherst. This proposal has spawned a vigorous opposition based on a number of assumptions, some of which are spurious at best. The concerns about an explosion of the pipeline are not based on the reality of similar new pipelines throughout the country. A recent study shows that absent human error (an excavator hitting the pipe) there is little to show that the pipeline would be a threat to the communities through which it passes. There is also the claim that the natural gas brought to this region would have little benefit to the residents of New Hampshire. If the issue is based on heating homes and business with natural gas, that argument may have some merit, but if you are interested in turning on your lights, firing up your computer and other appliances, then this additional natural gas supply will definitely have a positive impact on New Hampshire and its residents.

In a recent report commissioned by Gov. Duval Patrick, Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics www.synapse-energy.com found, “if all of the technologically and economically feasible alternative energy resources, including Canadian hydroelectric power are deployed, within the next five years, Massachusetts alone will be short 800 million cubic feet of natural gas on a typical winter day.” This translates into an even bigger problem for the all six New England states. First, we pay some of the highest electricity costs in the nation, and the current EPA‘s war on carbon will leave us vulnerable to even higher energy costs. Both potentially could diminish economic growth in the region and leave us a quaint backwater in what was once the home of the industrial revolution.

Here are some facts to consider: According to the US Energy Information Administration, all six New England states are in the top 10 for cost per kWh in the nation. Hawaii is number one followed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Alaska, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, California, Vermont, and finally Maine. This means the cost of electricity in the remaining 40 states is less than that paid in this region. If you don’t think it matters, remember the shoe and textile industries that bailed out of New England for the cheaper South and left us with millions and millions of square feet of empty mill buildings. (For additional information on energy generation and fuel mi in New England, go to www.iso-ne.com )

The Kinder Morgan pipeline would increase significantly the availability of natural gas throughout the region as it plans to deliver 2.2 billion cubic feet of this fuel per day. That would be a relief as we New Englanders pay, on average, 10 times more for natural gas than customers in the Mid-Atlantic States where it is more plentiful. Without this pipeline, we could become dependent on LNG purchased overseas at huge cost and we would all see our energy charges skyrocket.

This would have a negative impact on businesses looking to locate here or others based here who are looking to grow. We need to secure our economic future now, and this pipeline will go a long way in that effort.

There is no question there are tradeoffs to maintain economic vibrancy and for this region to continue to grow and prosper, but more solar and wind energy by themselves are not going to get the job done, whereas, the pipeline, with all its issues, will.

JIM COULL

Amherst