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Lawmakers to Weigh More than a Dozen Anti-Pipeline Bills

A.F. Litt
Flickr Creative Commons

With pipeline developer Kinder Morgan submitting its paperwork to build a new natural gas pipeline across Southern New Hampshire this year, lawmakers from the affected towns are eager to intervene. More than a dozen bills seeking to make the project more difficult to develop will be debated in the legislature.

The proposals bills range widely, but include:

- requiring pipeline developers to bury below the frost line,

- a 12.5 percent tax on any natural gas shipped through New Hampshire on its way to export to another country,

- requiring pipeline compressor stations, which serve as the engine to push gas through the pipe, be powered by electricity instead of by burning gas,

- requiring developers take out bonds to insure against damages in the event of an accident,

- several bills changing the way pipeline developers can use eminent domain,

- and one that would prohibit charging New Hampshire electric ratepayers for new natural gas pipeline.

Jim McConnell, who represents the towns of Richmond and Swanzy, says that last bill is his priority. He believes without the support of electric ratepayers, it will be harder for Kinder Morgan to attract financing. “It’s my contention that if we can force them to pay for this pipeline than it will be very difficult to do that,” says McConnell.

If this sounds familiar, that's because we've been here before.

“Much of what's happening this year is the same policy considerations we had last year, but using a different strategy to try and get them on the Governor's desk,” says Republican Senator Andy Sanborn, who is cosponsoring several of the bills. He notes the New Hampshire Senate shot down most of last year's anti-pipeline bills. This year all action has shifted to the House, which Sanborn says will allow more room to maneuver if bills are not received well in the Senate.

McConnell believes his bill will make it harder for the Kinder Morgan to get financing for the pipeline.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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