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Monday, June 16, 2014

Pipeline firm tells Hollis: No detailed map before September

Detailed information about the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline through Hollis won’t be available until at least September.

A June 9 letter from an attorney representing Tennessee Gas Pipeline says the firm “will not be able to provide the town of Hollis with parcel-level maps or a list of specific parcels impacted by the pipeline.” ...

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Detailed information about the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline through Hollis won’t be available until at least September.

A June 9 letter from an attorney representing Tennessee Gas Pipeline says the firm “will not be able to provide the town of Hollis with parcel-level maps or a list of specific parcels impacted by the pipeline.”

Even “town-level map(s)” will have to wait until after it makes an initial request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September, after which “the route will be more definitive than it is now.”

Town administrator Troy Brown had requested the detailed route information on behalf of the board of selectmen. He said the town’s attorney in the matter, Robert Ciandella, “plans to send another follow-up letter, probably more aggressively worded” seeking details.

Kinder-Morgan, parent company of Tennessee Gas Pipeline, is proposing to run a 187-mile-long, 3-foot-diameter natural gas distribution pipeline across northern Massachusetts from a depot in New York State to a distribution site in Dracut, Mass. The
company says the pipeline would help relieve a natural gas crunch in New England, caused largely by a shortage of pipelines carrying supplies from shale fields in new York and Pennsylvania.

The fuel has become important not only for winter heating but to create electricity; more than half of New England’s power plants run on natural gas.

As part of the plan, a 12-inch pipeline would be run north from Pepperell, Mass., to a Liberty Utilities distribution facility on Route 101A in the western corner of Nashua.

The company has released one preliminary map showing a possible route through Hollis but, Brown said, “The detail’s not there. ... You can’t understand which parcels are impacted, and when it crosses town property, we can’t tell where it actually goes.”

The company has also sent letters to a large number of property owners seeking permission to survey their land as part of preparations.

Kinder-Morgan representatives have said that it’s difficult to give details about a route without such surveys, since on-the-ground study is necessary to know the best route.

The Hollis pipeline has drawn widespread opposition in the town, partly because it could run through a many protected lands owned by Beaver Brook Association.

Residents attending public hearings have expressed frustration about a lack of detail, which Kinder-Morgan officials have attributed to the preliminary nature of the process.

Natural gas pipelines must be OK’d by a variety of local, state and federal regulators, starting with FERC. The state’s Site Evaluation Commission will also weigh in.

The entire project was formerly known as Northeast Expansion Project, but is now called the now called the Northeast Energy Direct Project.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).