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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hollis to hold special town meeting about natural gas pipeline plan

HOLLIS – Residents will get a formal chance to express their opinion about a proposed natural gas pipeline through Hollis at a special town meeting, next month.

The time and location have not been set, and depend on having space available at Hollis-Brookline High School, since large crowds are likely. ...

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HOLLIS – Residents will get a formal chance to express their opinion about a proposed natural gas pipeline through Hollis at a special town meeting, next month.

The time and location have not been set, and depend on having space available at Hollis-Brookline High School, since large crowds are likely.

The meeting will consider some 15 articles sponsored by the selectmen concerning details about the plan by Kinder Morgan, the parent company of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., which plans to add a natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The warrant is still being drawn up. The selectmen are slated to sign it in two weeks, when school availability is known.

The decisions made at the public hearing will not have much or any legal authority, regardless of the result of the meeting, because gas pipelines are the purview of federal officials and, to a lesser extent, the state site-evaluation committee. The meeting is designed to convey the town’s opinions in a formal manner.

“We hope they will develop compelling arguments that can be used at site evaluation hearings,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Mark LeDoux.

Kinder Morgan is expected to make an initial filing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September, which will kick off a long process of regulatory oversight at the state and federal level.

The company wants to build a large trunk line across northern Massachusetts, carrying natural gas from “fracked” fields in New York state to a distribution center in Dracut, Mass., as well as a buried transmission line north from Pepperell, Mass., to a Liberty Utilities site on Route 101A.

The plan has drawn opposition from groups throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

However, all six New England governors as well as many business leaders support the idea of bringing more natural gas into the region, which is served by just two trunk lines. The growth of natural gas as a fuel for providing electricity has led to conflicts with its wintertime use as a heating fuel.

– DAVID BROOKS