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Public Hearing Thursday Night On Kinder-Morgan Demand To Survey Properties

Apr 13, 2016 03:02PM ● By Bill Gilman
The State Department of Public Utilities will be hosting a public hearing Thursday, 7 p.m., at Andover High School, regarding Kinder-Morgan's claim that it has the right to survey properties without permission of the land owners.
Kinder-Morgan's most recent proposal for its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project., calls for the 30-inch pipeline to travel through numerous towns in western mass., up into southern New Hampshire and then back down into Dracut, where there will be a large compressor station. Several "laterals", or smaller 24-inch pipelines, would then spoke out from Dracut to locations in Eastern Mass. One of those laterals would cross through a section of Tewksbury and Andover before running along a section of I-93 in Wilmington.
"Right now the plan impacts about 40-50 properties in Tewksbury," said Bruce Panilaitis, chairman of the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen.
The project is pending the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As part of that process, Kinder-Morgan needs to do surveying work on thousands of properties along the proposed path. In addition, FERC has told Kinder-Morgan it would prefer the path of the main pipeline should take a more southerly route that would also cut through a section of Tewksbury. Kinder-Morgan has resisted that suggestion but still wants to survey that route, as well.
While Kinder-Morgan has received permission from some property owners to do surveying work, many more, including some municipalities, have refused the company's request.
"Surveying a property is not as simple as it might seem," said Panalaitis. "It's not someone going out and measuring the property. It can involve taking down or other (disruptions to the property). It can be a real inconvenience for a homeowner."
In response to homeowners' rejections, Kinder-Morgan has asked the DPU for a ruling that would allow them to do the surveying work without permission of the property owners.
Local opponents of the pipeline project, posting on the Facebook page  Tewksbury Pipeline Awareness, are encouraging as many residents as possible, whether directly impacted by the proposal or not, to attend the hearing Thursday night in Andover.
According to Panilaitis, each resident wishing to speak will be given a brief amount of time, so staying "on-point" is important."
"What this hearing is not about is the larger pipeline project," said Panilaitis. "So if people start going too much in that direction, they might be told it isn't pertinent to the hearing."
The Andover Pipeline Committee has circulated the following tips for those planning to attend the hearing.
  • You will need to sign in when you arrive
  • Elected officials will be allowed to speak first followed by landowners on the KM/DPU list and then the general public
  • You will have 3-5 minutes to speak, depending on size of the crowd
  • There may be a second room where you can testify
  • Try to stay on the issue of access to properties for surveys
  • It is okay to talk against the pipeline itself but remember that the DPU is not interested in that topic at this hearing so keep these comments brief
  • The DPU representatives will not comment or question you. No dialogue.
  • All comments will be posted on the DPU website
  • You should keep your oral comments short and then send in written comments. You can hand in your written comments on the 14th if you wish and send more comments later.
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