Kuster Sends Letter to FERC Calling for Review of All Energy Projects in Region
Concord, NH – On Tuesday, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) presented a letter to the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling for FERC to consider assessing energy projects across the region in tandem with its review of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline. The letter was read at the final scoping meeting before FERC’s preliminary scoping period ends and Kinder Morgan officially files with FERC initiating the Environmental Impact Study process. Congresswoman Kuster has fought for a respectful, comprehensive, and transparent public review process for the pipeline. Moreover, Kuster has made a point to tour key sites in southern New Hampshire that would be impacted by construction and operation of the pipeline.
“Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have advocated for smart energy policies that preserve our environment, protect the public, and lower electricity costs for Granite Staters,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “New Hampshire and the greater New England region are currently faced with a number of energy projects designed to meet the electricity needs of the regional energy market. As the preliminary scoping process comes to an end, I urge FERC to assess all of the region’s proposed projects together to determine a course of action that is in the best interest of the public. FERC must consider all options and alternatives in this process. I will continue listening to town officials and residents from impacted communities and ensuring their concerns are addressed by FERC. I share many of these same concerns and am confident that New Hampshire can find a way to satisfy its energy needs without endangering the people, natural beauty, or the character of our state.”
This letter comes in the wake of previous letters that Congresswoman wrote to FERC and Kinder Morgan highlighting her concerns with the project. Additionally, the Congresswoman has previously joined with the other members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation to call for more public meetings in communities that could be affected by the proposed pipeline, in calling for a review of FERC’s process for determining public need, and expressing concerns about the ability of impacted residents to contribute to the federal review process of Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) natural gas pipeline.
The letter presented at Tuesday evening’s scoping meeting can be read in its entirety below:
September 29, 2015
The Honorable Norman Bay
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426
Dear Chairman Norman Bay,
Thank you for hosting this scoping meeting in my district today. I am grateful for all the efforts that you and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have made over the course of the Preliminary Filing for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) Pipeline.
The siting for the current preferred route of the NED Pipeline has been a complicated process and the project has raised a number of concerns among the impacted communities here in New Hampshire. I am an advocate for smart energy policies that protect the public, preserve our environment, and lower electricity costs. I have made it a point to visit a number of the sites associated with the route and to speak with town officials and impacted residents. It is with these experiences in mind that I write to you.
As the only agency with direct oversight over the siting of natural gas pipelines, FERC has a critical process ahead of it. I have appreciated the opportunity to give greater voice to the thoughts of my constituents. As FERC’s preliminary filing period continues and the official filing begins, I would ask that you respond to the concerns that many of my constituents have raised.
It is the natural beauty and pristine character of our state that provides us with the New Hampshire advantage. It is important that any project being proposed in our state protect that character. I share the concerns of my constituents about the environmental impact that this project may have on existing conservation lands, high priority habitats, and drinking water aquifers. I ask that you take particular care in studying the impact of wetland and river crossings, private wells and aquifers, and habitats of high concern. It is my goal to ensure that the public interest is upheld in this process.
It is with the public in mind that I request that you consider the impacts that this project could have on public safety, both because of its proximity to schools—particularity Temple Elementary school’s proximity to the compressor station, and because of the very limited ability of these small, volunteer run, rural communities to handle any potential events relating to the pipeline. I ask that this reality be addressed openly and transparently.
My goal, similar to yours, is to ensure that we encourage smart energy policies that protect our environment, preserve our way of life, and lower electricity prices. I am acutely aware of the regional need for electricity and the plethora of energy projects that are being proposed to meet that need. Given the regional nature of our electric market and the complicated changes that are underway across the region, both with new projects being proposed and with older power sources leaving the grid, I believe that FERC can only properly preform its duties by assessing these projects as a whole, instead of in silos. All options and alternatives must be considered as we look at these proposals and fit them to the needs of our region. Whereas New England is on a regional grid, it stands to reason that we should site projects that impact the grid as a region.
Given the magnitude of this project and all the projects being proposed in the northeast, I can appreciate the task that your agency has ahead of it. Please know that the record number of comments that this project is receiving is a direct reflection of the time, energy, and thoughtfulness that my constituents have put into this process. I am certain that you will take the same time, energy, and thoughtfulness as you review and incorporate these concerns into your work moving forward. It is imperative that this process be as respectful to the public as possible, and I will continue efforts to ensure that happens.
I look forward to your responses and continuing this dialogue as I seek to advocate on behalf of my constituents. Thank you for your time.
Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress