Abutting two substantial energy projects that will significantly impact their property, Pat and Cynthia Wang are attending open houses and informational sessions in the community in hopes the big utility companies proposing the construction will hear their concerns and help to address inevitable impacts.
“Are you talking to Eversource, so you won’t hinder something they may be able to do to benefit us?” Cynthia Wang asked Public Relations Officer Lucas Meyers at the Kinder Morgan question and answer session on June 18 at the high school.
Meyers affirmed the companies are working together and told Wang that Kinder Morgan is in the midst of an information gathering stage of the project.
The preferred route for the Tennessee Gas pipeline includes an approximately two-and-a-half-mile portion that runs through Londonderry, for which engineering is ongoing, according to Meyers.
“We’re still working on the route and reaching out to communities – we’ve had 63 presentations for the project so far,” he said, noting Kinder Morgan is meeting with trail groups, conservation commissions and environmental groups to learn more about the land in which their pipeline would be installed and potential environmental impacts.
The Wangs said shifting the location of the pipeline to the opposite side of the utility easement behind their home could help prevent additional impacts – a request Meyers said the company will consider.
“There may be homes that go right up to the easement,” Easement Manager Mike Lennon said.
Cherie Fuller of 42 Elwood Road lives in one of those homes – the edge of the utility easement is 60 feet from her front yard.
“If you put the pipeline to the left of that easement, is it in my front yard?” she asked Meyers. “We need the answer to that.”
According to Meyers, Kinder Morgan will have more definite answers about the location of the route when it files in November. He said the company will take her concerns into consideration as it moves forward with completing engineering for the route.
“We will take all the survey data, desktop analysis, feedback from property owners, and shared designs from Eversource and National Grid. Then we will know if there’s room to do work outside the easement. We may have to switch sides, we may have to go through or between power lines,” he said.
Once Kinder Morgan completes the pre-filing process, the company will file with the (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commission will begin holding meetings in New Hampshire to document residents’ concerns with the project.
In addition to questions about how the project could affect individual property owners, Londonderry residents who attended the meeting expressed concern with the overall safety of the gas line, which representatives said would fulfill a shortage of natural gas in the region, create jobs and contribute approximately $280,000 annually to the Town’s tax base.
Several residents asked about the pipeline’s “incineration zone,” noting the proximity of the study corridor for the project to the Town’s West Road fields and residential neighborhoods.
Lennon said “incineration zone” is not an industry term; but Councilor John Farrell, who attended the meeting to assist with keeping a record of residents’ concerns, said he will look into finding an answer to the question of what the radius of impact would be, should the pipeline fail.
Cherylann Pierce of 23 Mayflower Drive asked what the Town can do in regard to taking a position on the project.
Farrell said he has spoken to the Town Attorney about what a potential challenge to the pipeline would require, and that he will work to bring an estimate of the associated costs to share at the Town Council’s July meeting.
State Senator Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry who attended the meeting along with State Rep. Doug Thomas, R-Londonderry reminded residents the State’s eminent domain law is one of the strongest in the country, and that the legislature has proposed a bill that will put in place further protections for property owners.
Carson and Thomas said they remain available to residents with concerns and encourage anyone with questions to contact them.
Residents who attended the informational session said they liked the format of the meeting better than the Open House event Kinder Morgan hosted in February.
Meyers said he remains available to address residents’ concerns as the survey process moves forward, and encourages those with questions to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meyers and Lennon also recommended residents visit FERC online to track Kinder Morgan’s filings for the project using the project’s FERC docket number: PF14-22-000.