EPPING — More than 100 residents have signed a proposed resolution aimed at giving voters more of a voice on whether they want a proposed natural gas storage facility to be built in town.
A citizen-petitioned warrant article has been submitted to the town to be placed on the March ballot in response to Liberty Utilities’ “Granite Bridge” natural gas pipeline project.
The article proposes a non-binding resolution asking that a storage facility for liquefied natural gas not be allowed in town without approval by two-thirds of voters.
Resident Barbara Perry, who worked on the proposed resolution, said it would be a barometer to measure the feelings of residents when it comes to the Granite Bridge project.
“We wanted to be able to give this information as to the pulse of Epping, as to how people are feeling about the right to decide,” said Perry, who is also one of about 40 people who are part of a group called Citizens for Local Control, which formed in response to the pipeline and storage facility proposal.
The project calls for the construction of 27 miles of pipeline along Route 101 from Stratham to Manchester with a storage facility located in an abandoned quarry adjacent to the busy highway near Exit 6.
The facility would include a tank 170 feet high and 200 feet in diameter, which would hold up to 2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas.
In its liquid state, which occurs when natural gas is cooled to -260 degrees, Liberty Utilities officials said, liquefied natural gas isn’t flammable or explosive.
The project needs approval from several state and federal agencies.
According to Liberty Utilities’ construction timeline, the storage facility wouldn’t be finished until 2022.
Despite concerns from some opponents, Liberty Utilities officials have maintained that the storage facility will be safe.
They’ve described the tank system as a “free standing inner tank surrounded by a second free standing tank designed to hold the entire liquid capacity of the inner tank.” Officials said that this adds a layer of complete containment if a natural gas release were to occur.
Perry doesn’t live near the site of the proposed storage facility, but said it’s something that impacts the entire town.
“We have found that many people in town are just not aware of the project and furthermore don’t even know what the project is about. To us that was concerning,” she said.