The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies has accepted an engagement to study the economic and community impacts of the proposed Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct Project in New Hampshire. The Center will produce a report, to be made public when completed, on the costs and benefits associated with the project. As is its custom, the Center will retain full control over the design and editorial content of the study and report.
The Northeast Energy Direct Project is a natural gas pipeline proposed to run from Pennsylvania through New York into western Massachusetts and then north through western and southern New Hampshire to Dracut, Mass. The New Hampshire portion of the project comprises approximately 71 miles of pipeline, generally co-located with existing utility corridors, through 18 communities. Before it can commence, the project will be subject to review and approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee.
The Center’s engagement originated from a request by the project’s sponsor, Kinder Morgan Company, which will contract with the Center to produce the report. In approving the engagement, the Center’s Board concluded that it squares with Center’s mission: to provide objective, researched-based analysis for policymakers about important and complex public policy issues. In this case, the policy issue involves balancing the need for, and purported benefits of, new energy projects with the aesthetic and safety impacts they will impose on the affected communities
Policymakers – local, state and federal – are faced with the task of sorting through the pros and cons of projects like this one, too often with little guidance about the quality of data, research and opinion presented by the contending parties. The Center’s Board accepted this engagement, aware that the project may well be controversial. The Board concluded that there is an important role for the Center’s experience, credibility and objectivity in informing the policy-making process surrounding the project. The Center’s previous work has focused on a wide variety of often-controversial subjects, including school funding, health care costs, and expanded gambling.
In this work, The Center will review and quantify the potential economic benefits of construction jobs and tax revenue associated with the pipeline development, as well as analyze the objective need for the project, and its potential aesthetic costs and safety risks to the communities along the proposed New Hampshire route.
The Center’s Board also recognized that the funding source for this engagement may call into question the Center’s objectivity in carrying it out. The Center’s terms of engagement with Kinder Morgan make clear that the Center will carry out the task in accordance with its usual processes as an independent, nonpartisan organization that pursues data-based research on public policy matters, develops options, informs policymakers and advises them about choices for action. The terms of engagement will be public.
The Center plans to begin work on the engagement later this month and to have its report complete and ready for public dissemination in June 2015. For further information on this or any other Center work, please fee free to contact us at 226-2500.