How many of us remember as kids jumping into a clear, cold river to cool off on a hot summer day? Remember how invigorating and refreshing that felt? Now how many of us remember questioning if the water was too polluted to swim in? 

The Granite Bridge Pipeline (GBP) is a 27-mile pipeline proposed by Liberty Utilities that would transport fracked gas from Manchester to the seacoast. This fracked gas pipeline would pass through the town of Raymond, underneath the Lamprey River twice.

Raymond doesn’t need a pipeline project running through it, and here are the reasons why:

  1. This proposed pipeline project threatens not only the Lamprey River, but the Great Bay Estuary and its valuable wildlife habitats and ecosystems.  Running the pipeline under the Lamprey River will cause the erosion of dirt, minerals, and other pollutants into the river.  The land disturbance will harm the local ecosystems by destroying wildlife habitats and altering migration patterns.
  2. Pipelines are a disaster waiting to happen.  According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there were 311 significant safety incidents at natural gas distribution pipelines between 2008 and 2012, resulting in 230 injuries and 41 deaths.  There were also 370 significant safety incidents at natural gas transmission pipelines during this same time period, resulting in 85 injuries and 10 fatalities. Raymond does not have the resources to respond to a hazardous materials incident.  Gas is highly flammable, and any incident would likely necessitate a large-scale evacuation and involve multiple agencies and jurisdictions.  Raymond’s economy would suffer and residents would be left to absorb the costs.
  3. Fossil-fuels are 20th century.  Renewable energy is 21st century. There are clean energy options that we can and should be moving to not only because they are better for our environment, because they are better for our economy.  Energy analytics company Drillinginfo published a report recently saying that renewables are getting cheaper and cheaper, displacing gas demand for electric power. We should be demanding clean and renewable sources of energy instead of harming our environment by clinging to fossil fuels, which are quickly becoming obsolete.
  4. The main component of natural gas is methane, a 34 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide due to the fact that it is far more effective absorbing heat.  When mixed with other chemicals, methane can become explosive and deadly when ignited.  Methane is also a “simple asphyxiant” because it displaces oxygen. People need a minimum 18 percent oxygen content to breathe.  Oxygen levels below 16 percent are dangerous, and levels below 10 percent are deadly.
  5. Raymond will not benefit from the pipeline project, it’s all risk and no reward.  Few, if any, permanent jobs would be created.  The gas in the pipeline would not service Raymond.  Liberty Utilities has no customers in Raymond. There is no way for Raymond residents to tie into the pipeline without huge infrastructure investments from the government and home owners of Raymond.  So where is this gas going? Who is it meant for if renewable energy is displacing gas demand for electric power? The following is from the US Energy Information Administration:
    1. Exports of liquid natural gas (LNG) increased substantially in 2016, 2017, and 2018, coinciding with large increases in export capacity since 2015.
    2. In 2018, total annual U.S. natural gas exports were the highest on record, and the United States was a net exporter of natural gas for the second year in a row.
    3. 70% of the total U.S. natural gas exports in 2018 were by pipeline, 67% of which went to Mexico. The U.S. exported natural gas to 32 other countries as well, including China, Japan, and South Korea.  

The answer is clear. We can let Liberty Utilities continue to put the health and safety of our communities at risk by  clinging to fossil fuels for their own gain, or we can insist upon a clean future that prioritizes our communities needs over the bottomline of huge corporations. Clean energy is moving forward – are we?

-Jennifer Dube