Wendy Juchnevics-Freeman’s Comments Before FERC at Milford Scoping Meeting, July 30, 2015
Call up Wendy Freeman from New Ipswich.
MS. FREEMAN: My name is Wendy Juchnevics-Freeman. That is J-u-c-h-n-e-v-i-c-s hyphen F-r-e-e-m-a-n. You’re welcome.
So in New Ipswich I serve as the Chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. I’m an elected member of our budget committee and recently appointed Chairman of our Pipeline Task Force. Tonight I represent our Board of Selectmen from New Ipswich where we have a proposed over 6 miles of pipeline as well as a compressor station.
We have a series of concerns that we have been able to put together despite the TBD’s in those resource reports from Kinder Morgan. So I would like to outline those with you tonight and then look forward to the opportunity of expanding your knowledge or these and our
knowledge of these as we go through the process.
And I would ask that each of these concerns, even though we feel like they are incomplete, be included in your comments to Kinder Morgan around the 1st of September so that each of these will be addressed in their application.
So the first thing I would like to say is this has a tremendous impact on the town of New Ipswich, both the pipeline and the compressor station. As you may have heard already we have no public drinking water, we rely on wells. Some of those wells draw from stratified drift aquifers, others draw from bedrock aquifers.
We know through our analysis that this pipeline will segment 3 stratified drift aquifers. We do not know how many bedrock aquifers will be impacted by this pipeline. And our water table is typically only 10 to 20 feet below the surface so we believe that this pipeline and this compressor station will have a very significant impact.
Blasting without understanding the impact to those bedrock aquifers should be avoided so we would like for you to consider alternatives such as drilling or cutting as opposed to blasting. We need to identify the wells that are drawing from the impacted aquifers, whether they are stratified or bedrock. So in order to do that we know we need a high geological study to identify those bedrock aquifers in particular and then once we identify the wells and we have that well inventory we are looking for those wells to be tested, both before construction as well as after construction and then periodically after construction for contaminants, whether naturally occurring or the leaking from this pipeline.
And that is another reason why we think this is an area of high consequence and we want to look at the quality of the pipe that is actually being used through the town of New Ipswich. Ground water is our lifeblood in New Ipswich. What I didn’t realize when I started this work with the Pipeline Task Force was how many dug wells we had in New Ipswich. And it’s probably because our water table is so high and because of the stratified drift material making our water so clean.
So again with the compressor station and the emissions coming off of that compressor station, a significant amount of wetlands on the site of the compressor station leading directly to our neighboring towns primary drinking water supply, not to mention the Temple Elementary School.
We think that we have to do some serious work to figure out how to control these emissions, identify these dug wells, whether they are in close proximity of the pipeline or the compressor station or not, because these dug wells are too susceptible to influence by those emissions.
We also want to look at alteration of terrain best practices because we know that the construction will alter the flow of water also affecting and would like for you to agree that no herbicides will ever be used to keep this site clean.
From a health, public health and safety perspective we needed to share some information about New Ipswich. First of all our emergency management team is all-volunteer and does not have the expertise to address this pipeline.
We have yet to receive a single thing from Kinder Morgan concerning emergency management and our first question from these folks was well, what’s the emergency response plan — I have no idea. I need to know that.
We have an all-volunteer fire department. We rely on our neighboring towns, what we refer to as mutual aid. Because we do not have a public water supply we take in water to an incident. A wall of fire in the town of New Ipswich with our limited water source for firefighting is a huge problem. We have no way to even begin to tell you what we need in order to address that problem.
What is the compressor station design? Is it active or passive fire suppression? We don’t know, it’s not in the resource reports. What kind of training do we need? What kind of special equipment do we need? We don’t know.
We are starting to assess what our budgets need to be over the next several years because of the impacts to an all-volunteer fire department, how are we going to do this?
Our police department doesn’t have 24/7 coverage, probably not something the chief wanted me to announce tonight. Again, we rely on our neighboring communities and mutual aid.
So what are we going to do about compressor station security? How are we going to address it? How is Kinder Morgan going to address it?
I read something on a website, that got taken down pretty quickly by Kinder Morgan but it said, “who lives in New Hampshire anyway” if I could paraphrase. These folks do. (pointing to the audience) We do.
Continuing on with public health and safety, our roads are not suitable for the type of equipment and heavy truck traffic that will be coming in to our area during the construction.
One of the things that we are concerned about is that we know there is a process with FERC that bonds need to be placed but this needs to be a condition of the permit not something that we have to negotiate later because we are reading from community after community where this never happens.
One of the issues with New Ipswich and the other southern New Hampshire communities that you are looking to bring this through is we do not have straight roads. We wind around mountain hills, okay. We have a very diverse terrain and in the wintertime it makes it hard to get from point A to point B.
We need you to look at automatic shut-off valves on this pipeline because the time response to an incident, heaven forbid, is too risky so we need to look at that.
And I don’t know how we do this but I understand that we are going to have a little trouble with this co-location because of corrosion of pipes. The electrical interference with the gas pipeline is going to require Kinder Morgan to clean those pipes. Well I understand that the pigs that are used for cleaning those pipes can’t go up steep slopes.
Well Hardy invited you to New Ipswich and somebody yesterday mentioned you should bring your hiking boots, I agree with that we
have got some sleep slopes we need to avoid those because you need to be able to clean this pipe. Our lives matter and public safety is our number 1 concern.
Let’s talk a little bit more about that compressor station. New Ipswich is a quiet little community. Currently our noise level in New Ipswich is very low, 30 decibels during the day 20 at night. We believe this gives us the right to a reduction in the FERC standard
of 55 decibels during the day to 45. We would like for that to be evaluated.
We do have a rural sky, a truly dark sky and we understand this compressor station is going to light it all up. We got to figure out how to build this compressor station so that we contain that light and we don’t pollute our night sky.
And then air pollution I can’t even begin to think about all the impacts of the air pollution but we do need to control the emissions, we would like for you to consider the NAAQS standards as a maximum and we want you to test for emissions. We understand this is something that is not necessarily done today.
Again we need to test those dug wells for contamination and you might as well go ahead and sign us up for a health monitoring program because I think we are going to need it.
From a socio-economic perspective let’s talk about New Ipswich, we are very economically diverse, we have very few businesses, 91% of our town is residential and we are a veteran community.
Our tourism is limited and you are going to go right through two very important tourism aspects of our community.
We are going to see reduced property values, we are expecting those property owners to come in for abatements on their taxes, we need to study and identify these impacts because we have no way of assessing what they really are.
And because New Ipswich is very economically diverse we are concerned that there is going to be a disproportionate impact on the low income within our community. A greater property tax in the town of New Ipswich will change our socio-economic character.
When I talk about tourism I mentioned that there were two very important things to New Ipswich that were being impacted by this
pipeline. The Wind Blown Cross Country Ski Area is losing a
considerable amount of its easy trails. I know Al Jenks is here to talk tonight but I don’t know how a cross country ski area sustains itself without easy trails. And he doesn’t have the terrain because we are mountainous to rebuild those trails.
You are going to cross the Wapack Trail 3 times. Our land is already, a lot of this land is already in conservation easement so we are already protecting it. We talk about mitigation, well we
have already mitigated the impacts of building in our community by preserving this land.
We can’t clear cut that land, we can’t build on that land, but yet we can put a pipeline on it? It’s not logical.
These impacts need to be avoided. We have Native American and religious sites that need to be avoided, we can get some more detail into that and we need the impact of deforestation studied in the town of New Ipswich. I already told you, you are killing our tourism but what is it going to do to our aesthetics when someone goes and hikes up a mountain and all they see is a — because this is the taking of green space.
We do have threatened and endangered species, I won’t go over those but those do need to be studied, monitored and protected.
And finally, we just learned of Kinder Morgan’s intention to come into New Ipswich in December (2014). We have over 21,000 TBD’s in March from the Kinder Morgan resource reports. We found out at the
beginning of June that we were getting a compressor station.
You announced that you were having these scoping meeting with less than 2 months to go in the pre-filing phase. We just got new resource reports on Friday and no one has had time to count the TBD’s, but I can tell you that I have scanned them and they are no more complete than the March ones.
We need time to study and identify the impacts and as Jim Parison mentioned we are not technical experts in this. Asking us what needs to be avoided, minimized, mitigated or compensated for without the additional resources or the time to do so can only guarantee that New Ipswich and the southern New Hampshire communities you are
looking to go through will suffer irreparable harm and some of these studies can’t be done right now.
So we need more time. If these environmental issues are really important, if NEPA is really your charter than why are we rushing this?