More than a decade ago, when the AES (Granite Ridge) gas plant was proposed in Londonderry, it had a polarizing effect on residents. Many were opposed, but the plant was built anyway, and remains a positive member of the community.
Now plans are being made for Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline to come through Londonderry, en route from Pennsylvania to Dracut, Mass. And while activists are plenty vocal in many of the towns where the pipeline would travel – some residents of Massachusetts were vocal enough to get the project to change the route and avoid their town – there’s not much more than a few local voices in the wilderness in opposition to the project.
For those puzzled by the various names of those involved, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, based in Houston, Texas, is a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan. Tennessee Gas says the project is being developed to meet increased demand in the Northeast for transportation capacity of natural gas.
Does the silence mean everyone thinks it’s just grand to have a pipeline running through town? Or perhaps people have decided that what big business wants, big business gets, and there are more personal issues to focus on. After all, the developers have already donated $1,000 to Old Home Day and $300,000 to Londonderry Trailways.
How many residents have studied the available documents, visited the pipeline developer’s website, and checked out the pipeline opponents’ website? How many have chosen to comment?
A 30-inch natural gas pipeline running through town should not be taken lightly. It may be a good thing, and it may benefit the community financially, but it may not. Meanwhile, the list of Londonderry abutters to the project has yet to be released after almost a year.
Maybe everyone is just resigned and has neither the interest nor the time to fight. But the Keystone XL pipeline opponents stayed focused and persuaded the federal government to side with them.
The Londonderry Town Council in July took a position against the pipeline, voting unanimously to approve a resolution opposing its construction in Londonderry, and saying the pipeline would have no direct benefit to Londonderry residents. The resolution states “the disruption to the residents of Londonderry caused by the construction of the new pipeline may outweigh the benefits to the Town and its residents.”
Yet the Council has not joined the coalition of communities contributing to a legal fund to fight the project.
There’s still time to comment for or against the project. We know it takes commitment and fortitude to stake out a position and stand by it. And we think the project is important enough for residents to do so.