Natural Gas Pipeline developer Kinder Morgan held the first of three public information sessions last night in Windham. An information session in each of the counties affected by an energy project is required before it can submit its application to state regulators.
The Northeast Energy Direct has already submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC, but Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan's Vice president of Public Affairs, says just because the federal application was submitted first does not mean New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee might not carry out its review more quickly. "One is not necessarily dependent on the other. In other words the FERC determination could come first, the SEC determination could come first." While the state is planning on conducting a full review of the project, federal regulators have the ultimate authority over whether interstate gas pipelines can be built. Despite all of the heat the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline has generated over the past year, fewer than fifty people turned out to the first meeting. Bob Runco, who lives along the proposed route in Hudson, says was surprised by the small crowd. "I'd like to see it stopped, I just don't have high hopes it will be. Too much money already spent. This cart's way down the road."
Opposition to the pipeline has been stronger in the Western part of the state, and hearings in Cheshire and Hillsborough counties are tonight and Thursday.