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 After two years of conflict, a Newington company got the green light today to bring propane by rail to the New Hampshire Seacoast.  

  On Friday, the state’s Site Evaluation Committee voted to allow the propane company SEA-3 to expand its facility without a year-long evaluation process.

The decision came after opponents agreed to drop objections in exchange for additional safety measures, paid for by SEA-3. The agreement limits railcar traffic and includes fire safety measures paid for by SEA-3. 

Emily Corwin

A Newington company that wants to transport propane by rail on the Seacoast has reached an unexpected deal with neighbors who have stood in opposition to the project for two years. 

The tentative agreement limits railcar traffic and includes fire safety measures paid for by SEA-3, which hopes to bring in American propane over tracks between Newfields and an expanded facility in Newington. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A multi-year conflict between a Newington propane company and its neighbors comes to a head this week as state regulators decide whether the company can expand immediately, or must undergo a year-long evaluation.

On the surface, Planning Board and court decisions have favored the propane company. But opponents say despite apparent setbacks, they have succeeded in stalling the project, and extracting concessions.

SEA-3 Wants To Bring Propane In By Rail

The city of Portsmouth is trying to overturn a neighboring town’s approval of a controversial propane rail project. On Tuesday, a Superior Court judge heard arguments from attorneys on both sides.

The controversial Sea-3 rail expansion project would ship propane from fracking sites in the American West to their expanded Newington facility.  And it would run through Portsmouth. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  After failing to appeal the Newington Planning Board's decision to approve the propane company Sea-3’s expansion through that city's Zoning Board of Adjustment, a Portsmouth  staff attorney says they will proceed to Superior Court.

In an unusual legal maneuver, the City of Portsmouth filed their appeal in the Superior Court in June.  That appeal was stayed as the city pursued an appeal via Newington's ZBA.

In July, New Hampshire’s congressional delegation requested federal government provide an environmental impacts study. That request was denied on Tuesday.

  Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte along with Congresswoman Carol-Shea Porter want to take a closer look at the potential environmental impacts of propane rail traffic through the Great Bay Estuary. 

Emily Corwin

  After six months of deliberation, the Newington planning board has approved a controversial proposal to bring up to 12 railcars of propane through the Seacoast each night. 

The company, called SEA-3, wants to transport domestic propane from oil wells in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to the Seacoast, for export by ship.

But neighborhood groups in Portsmouth, Stratham and Greenland have opposed the rail expansion, voicing concerns about moving explosive materials over aging railroad tracks.