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Liberty Proposes Gas Pipeline To Run From N.H. Seacoast To Manchester

Liberty Utilities wants to build a new natural gas pipeline between the Seacoast and Manchester, in an effort to expand the state's strained capacity for the fuel at the lowest cost to ratepayers.

The 16-inch-wide pipeline, which Liberty is calling Granite Bridge, would run underground for 27 miles along Route 101. It would be completely buried in a state right-of-way.

"So there'll be very little impact to private property,” said Liberty spokesman John Shore. “There won't be anything like eminent domain or anything like that."

The $340-million proposal also includes a gas storage center in Epping, which Shore said would be significantly larger than Liberty's existing storage facilities.

Shore says Granite Bridge would increase customers' monthly gas bills by about $2 dollars a month, compared to an increase of about $12 a month if Liberty paid to upgrade existing infrastructure.

Shore says if they do nothing, bills will increase as Liberty runs out of room to grow. 

Granite Bridge would be the first pipeline the company builds, owns and operates itself. It would connect two other pipelines that run roughly north through Manchester and Exeter. Those are owned by out-of-state companies.

Liberty had also hoped to get natural gas from a pipeline Texas-based Kinder Morgan first proposed building in New Hampshire in 2014. The company withdrew its controversial application in 2016, citing a lack of prospective business.

Shore said Liberty needs more gas capacity, no matter where it comes from.

“The [Kinder Morgan] project was a way to get it here, so that didn’t materialize,” he said. “So [Granite Bridge] is another option that we think is a very good option for customers in New Hampshire.”

The company will face a lengthy state approval process before it can break ground.

Note: This story has been changed to reflect a clarification from Shore about the projected savings of the project.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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