NH activists wait for Granite Bridge opposition as Sanders & Inslee oppose Lines 3 & 5
Monadnock Region NH — Bernie Sanders called out the Line 3 pipeline in January. Jay Inslee called it in July. Jay Inslee called out Line 5 on July 10th and Sanders opposed it today.
Enbridge's Line 3 is a 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline extending from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.
Line 5 carries light crude and natural gas liquids (NGL), two 20-inch-in-diameter pipelines built in 1953 under the Eisenhower administration. They are aging and leaking.
According to OilAndWaterDontMix.org, "Line 5 has spilled 33 times and at least 1.1 million gallons along its length since 1968." The pipelines, that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac, threaten the Great Lakes, ecologically sensitive areas and drinking water supplies.
Enbridge wants to replace Line 3 and Line 5. Activists want them shut down.
As they share candidate announcements, NH activists eagerly await one or both of the presidential candidates to call out the methane, natural (fracked) gas infrastructure overbuild that is the Liberty Utilities' Granite Bridge pipeline.
When Kinder Morgan suddenly rerouted a segment of the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline into Southern New Hampshire, opposition rose quickly. Using eminent domain, the 36" fracked gas pipeline would have blasted through towns, farms and homes and abutted community meeting places, churches and schools.
The NED pipeline was withdrawn in 2016, but Liberty Utilities, who worked closely with pipeline giant, Kinder Morgan, had learned from the masters how to reduce resistance to a pipeline.
The Granite Bridge pipeline does not use eminent domain. It runs alongside NH Route 101 in existing utility corridors. Those along the route with easements for electrical utilities would now also have a pipeline in their back yard.
Something Granite Bridge has, but NED did not, is a massive 170' high, 200' diameter natural gas storage tank and liquefaction plant to be located in a residential neighborhood of Epping.
Activists learned too, from their experience with the NED. They have educated communities and mobilized in opposition to Granite Bridge and have been able to unpack, analyze and debunk Liberty's marketing of the pipeline.
More laws and local resolutions have passed as advocates for renewable energy alternatives become regular attendees at the State House and Public Utilities Commission.
New Hampshire's State Senate has remained firmly in the "gas is a bridge fuel" era, unmoved from Liberty's pro-gas talking points. A supportive quote from one State Senator has been used to promote the pipeline.
The Granite State produces twice as much energy as it needs. The fossil fuel industry sees the Northeast as what I call a "carbon corridor", a means to exporting a glut of natural gas to European and Asian markets.
Of all times in history, this is the worst time to be expanding fossil fuels. New Hampshire has far more to gain in jobs and economic benefits from solar, wind and offshore wind than it will from expanding pipelines. With that knowledge, Democrats have not broken free of their support for gas.
The Democratic National Committee has refused to sponsor a climate debate. The position of many candidates on climate action is minimal to middling. Their prime moderate candidate, Joe Biden, brings up the rear with John Hickenlooper, who wants to negotiate with the fossil fuel industry.
Natural gas is methane, a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and yet it is still touted by many as a solution to climate change, not the enhancement to the climate emergency that it is.
As Sanders and Inslee, two of the least confrontational candidates, battle for pipeline opponent of the campaign, ultimately supporting each other's positions, NH activists wait anxiously. Although they've been courted, no other candidates have shown indications of speaking out against the national push to increase methane consumption.
In November of 2015, Bernie Sanders announced opposition to the NED pipeline. Who will be first to call it in New Hampshire? It's unclear, but no doubt there will be cheers either way, if and when their opposition to Granite Bridge and natural (fracked) gas expansion rises to national recognition.