Epping seeks to become intervenor in natural gas pipeline projectBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
April 10. 2018 10:21PM
EPPING — Selectmen voted unanimously Monday to seek approval to become an intervenor as Liberty Utilities moves ahead with its proposal to install a natural gas pipeline from Stratham to Manchester and build a large storage tank in Epping.
The request comes amid questions about how the Granite Bridge project could impact the town, which sits on the pipeline’s path along Route 101 and would be home to the utility company’s 170-foot high tank to hold up to 2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas.
Town Administrator Gregory Dodge said that becoming an intervenor would keep the town in the loop as the project goes through the state approval process.
“It gives us a voice at the table if we want to go up there and object to anything or consider anything,” he said.
The town will apply for intervenor status through the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission.
As an intervenor, the town would have representation at hearings before the PUC, Dodge said, and it would mean the town would get updated on any decisions made on the project.
While the town missed the deadline to become an intervenor, Dodge said the PUC allows late intervenors.
Liberty Utilities has expressed support for the town’s intervenor request.
The company filed with the PUC on Dec. 22 for the review of the project.
In a letter sent to the town last month, the company said the PUC will consider whether the proposed project is the lowest-cost option to provide the needed supply of natural gas, and what the potential impact on natural gas rates would be for Liberty’s New Hampshire customers.
“We understand that there are many questions in Epping about this project that we need to answer. Our goal is to provide information about the project to the town and the public. We hope that after a thorough examination of the project, we will earn the support of the community,” Chico DaFonte, the utility’s vice president of Regulated Infrastructure Development, wrote in the letter.
The PUC review is separate from the one that will be done by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee.
The company expects to seek SEC approval near the end of the year.
“As we have said to Epping town officials and citizens at earlier public presentations, Liberty Utilities will also fully support the town’s participation in the Granite Bridge NHSEC proceeding when it commences,” DaFonte wrote.