Nashua Telegraph: Kuster Hopes Bill Gives Residents a Voice
MILFORD - The federal agency in charge of reviewing energy projects came under withering criticism Tuesday from U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster as she announced her sponsorship of a bill to give people more say in the approval process.
Talking to a gathering in Milford's Emerson Park, Kuster said her bill would provide a strong framework to help towns and their residents deal with energy projects like Kinder Morgan's abandoned Northeast Direct pipeline.
She was backed up by town officials and local anti-pipeline activists.
"FERC holds the cards, and the deck is stacked against us," said Tad Putney, Brookline town manager and president of the New Hampshire Municipal Pipeline Association.
Kinder Morgan's project was officially canceled last month, but opponents say there is no guarantee it could not be resurrected someday.
Kuster's "Energy Consumer Advocacy Act" would provide funding to establish an Office of Public Participation within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The office would give towns and their residents a stronger voice in the federal review of proposed energy projects.
The bill would require the agency to include community members in the review process and to take public opinion into consideration.
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