Mason NH, Selectmen meeting September 22, 2015. Executive Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) Tim Roache met with the selectmen to check how things were going between NRPC and Mason.
Mason’s planning board is the primary user of NRPC’s services. NRPC fields Mason planning board applications and makes sure they are complete before coming before the board.
Lately NRPC has also tackled the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline requests (see here for example), and initiated an Energy Facilities Advisory Committee (EFAC) to study the pipeline and other regional energy ramifications. Each NRPC member town was allowed at least one resident on that subcommittee, with Steve Wells being the local Mason representative.
EFAC produced its white paper report on September 16, 2015.
The white paper’s executive summary starts out with the premise that “there is general agreement on the fact that there is a natural gas crunch in New England”, but then goes on to list numerous concerns about proposed solutions. The paper is a good read and can probably be used to justify most any preconceived opinion.
When presented to the full NRPC commission, according to Mr. Roache, the executive staff “took no position”. He did however point out the NRPC will be offering “mitigation services” should the pipeline be approved by FERC.
Selectman Moser thought this was all premature “because the route is not final”. However, he also stated that “if the thing was going to happen, we’re going to want to talk mitigation”.
All this reminded us that one town’s mitigation can become another town’s headache (we’d provide links to the Amherst/Merrimack tiff, but that is beyond the scope of this article). Suffice it to say that the early mitigators probably do the best and Mason doesn’t appear to be one of those (strictly our opinion from observing the selectmen).
Kris Cane who has been hired by the town to do environmental evaluation also appeared before the board.
The current secrecy around what may or may not have been found continued, so while an interim report may have been issued to the selectmen and conservation commission, the rest of us will have to wait.
Mr. Kane also talked “mitigation” in terms of swapping one protected wetland for another at Kinder Morgan expense. Those details are still premature, but he suggested the Conservation Commission should be prepared by looking at such possibilities sooner rather than later.
We’re not sure the conservation commission members present took his advice.