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NH Delegation Calls on Regulators to Weigh Granite State Input in Natural Gas Project Reviews

WASHINGTON, DC) – New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation sent two letters to federal regulators expressing concerns about the ability of Granite Staters to have their voices meaningfully heard in the federal review process of Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) natural gas pipeline. The letters, addressed to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) both seek opportunities to ensure that New Hampshire stakeholders are provided a thorough opportunity to participate in the federal review process for proposed natural gas infrastructure projects like Kinder Morgan’s NED pipeline.

The first letter, to the Inspector General, from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Representative Ann McLane Kuster (NH-2), and Representative Frank Guinta (NH-1) calls for a review of FERC’s interstate natural gas permitting process with regards to the importance of public comment. It reads in part:

“Our constituents have expressed frustration about the lack of information from FERC and the limited extent that public input is considered in the Commission’s review and approval process for energy infrastructure projects… It is essential that all stakeholders be afforded meaningful opportunity to participate in the FERC permitting process; therefore, we respectfully request you examine FERC’s interstate natural gas permitting process…”

The letter continues to propose five questions the Inspector General should investigate relating to FERC’s handling of the project, and is available here. The DOE's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is an independent office within the Department of Energy responsible for conducting and supervising audits, inspections and investigations relating to DOE's programs and operations, including FERC.

In the delegation’s second letter, to the Chairman of FERC, the issue of public input was again raised. The letter is available here, and reads in part:

“…many in New Hampshire are concerned that public input and comment plays a limited role in the Commission’s final decision.  For a project that has the potential to impact a significant number of people and communities in our state, we believe the Commission must fully consider public input in all aspects of its decision-making process…That is why we invite you to come to New Hampshire so that you can directly hear from New Hampshire citizens and better understand the concerns that they have.”

These two letters follow previous requests from the delegation to both FERC and Kinder Morgan asking that they seek appropriate input from New Hampshire residents on the proposed pipeline. A list of those letters, with links, are provided below:

January 14, 2015 Delegation letter to Chairman of FERC

January 14, 2015 Delegation letter to Kinder Morgan Director of Public Affairs

February 27, 2015 Delegation letter to Kinder Morgan Director of Public Affairs

April 30, 2015 Delegation letter to Chairman of FERC