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June 24. 2014 7:57PM

Citizens protest Hollis pipeline as town awaits project details

HOLLIS — A group of 50 Hollis residents concerned about a proposed gas pipeline will be allowed to hold its meetings in the town-owned Lawrence Barn.

“I see no problem with this, as long as there’s a distinction that there is no outside group speaking for the town,” Selectman Peter Band said at Monday night’s meeting.

Kathy McGhee, spokeswoman for N.H. Pipeline Awareness, said the group came together earlier this spring after several public forums about the pipeline.

Representatives from Kinder Morgan, the parent company of Tennessee Gas Pipeline, have said the 187-mile-long natural gas distribution pipeline would run across northern Massachusetts into Dracut, Mass., with a 12-inch pipeline running north from Pepperell, Mass., toward Nashua.

Opponents have said a large portion of the pipeline poses a threat to conservation lands owned by the Beaver Brook Association.

McGhee, who summarized N.H. Pipeline Awareness as “a diverse group of people trying to prevent the pipeline,” said several members are raising families in areas that would be directly affected.

“These people have really impressed me with their quick, efficient research,” she said. “And that’s our mission: communicating with residents and providing them with the most current information.”

McGhee said the group plans to present a suggested strategy for combating the pipeline at some point this fall.

“I think an important part of the process is having our citizens augment some of the goals the town’s attorney has outlined,” McGhee said.

Selectmen have vowed to work with the town’s attorney and legislators to voice their dismay over the project.

A letter dated June 9 from Kinder Morgan informed Town Administrator Troy Brown that a list of parcels affected by the pipeline project wouldn’t be made available until the company makes its official request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this September.

“We’ve responded to this and informed them that this is unsatisfactory,” Selectmen Chairman Mark LeDoux said this week. “But at this point in time, we haven’t received any feedback.”

The topic will be further addressed during a Hollis Planning Board meeting next month.

Timothy Drew, public information officer for the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee, said from a legislative standpoint, the town would need to take its concerns to the state committee.

Drew said the appeals process generally takes about nine months. He said that even if the state committee decides in the town’s favor, FERC has the final say in the matter.

AGuilmet@newstote.com


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