Representative John Hunt supported the NED pipeline until the town of Rindge became so opposed he had to change his position.
Pat Martin opposed the pipeline from the beginning, outlining the reasons why energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy were the right options, and outdated fossil fuels were not.
When blindsided by the NED pipeline proposal two years ago, residents along the pipeline route quickly found out which politicians would back community members and which would not.
Legislators opposed the pipeline for many reasons. Most objected to land takings by eminent domain or NIMBY. No one stood up and spoke against fossil fuels, for renewable energy or about the dangerous impact increasing fossil fuels would have on our climate.
Most pipeline opponents felt that to speak about such issues would alienate conservative support. They even tried pushing a pipeline from a sister state in order to save themselves, not thinking that to do so would suggest we did need the gas that we really didn't need.
As I stood alone in frustration, trying to persuade pipeline opponents to speak on behalf of the environment, coming up against a brick wall time after time, I found Pat Martin.
Pat had been speaking about energy efficiency and the environment and was also being blocked by other pipeline opponents. In fact, she and another engineer were refused attendance at a meeting of all pipeline impacted towns. Talking about climate and the environment would bring a tidal wave of issues on them that threatened to rock their boat of conservative support, but it was the anchor of ours.
We have very different backgrounds, but had both arrived at the same conclusion. You can't fight saying "no pipeline" and not say "yes" to something. The decision not to say yes to renewables would later come back to bite other activists when the Governor asked them, "If not NED pipeline, then what?"
After finding consensus on strategy, and two years of fighting off fracked gas giant, Kinder Morgan, Pat and I remain committed to a renewable future and climate action. When others give up, are ready to let go of one little "1% increase in fracked gas" (which is huge), we give pep talks, beg, plead and encourage other pipeline opponents to stand strong against the desperate pipeline push. To their credit, they usually do.
We knew it was important to speak truth to power, to remind them that the fossil fuel industry is collapsing and it was unwise to enter into 20-50 year contracts for fracked gas when our planet is in climate crisis. In the end, the collective strategies of all pipeline opponents were what worked.
Each day I thank Kinder Morgan for raising energy and climate awareness in New Hampshire. Our communities are more knowledgeable and politically engaged than ever before. They're also more receptive to solar and wind projects and many new ones have been popping up.
We know it's not easy to maintain the constant effort against the fossil fuel industry, but we, and many across the nation and globe are making an impact. In fact, the incredible opposition in New Hampshire led to the withdrawal of the NED pipeline, something we were told could not be done.
Pat Martin opposed the pipeline from the beginning and does everything possible to protect the air, water, health, safety and well being of our region. When her community needed her, she never faltered. Now, she is running as a progressive, for NH State Representative. As a Fitzwilliam resident, I welcome her, knowing she will have our future in mind.
Her opponent, Representative John Hunt's supported the NED pipeline in the beginning stages of the pipeline proposal.
"Hunt, who lives in Rindge, is sympathetic but adamantly favors the pipeline. He says it is necessary to generate electricity in the state, to meet demand to prevent rising costs. The pipeline would also cut through his property, which is about 2 miles away from Seppala’s.
“I certainly respect that it’s a little scary and problematic for Tyler, especially the issue of eminent domain,” said Hunt. “I would hope the utility would work out a deal with him. But, this is a necessity. This pipeline has to be built somewhere. We must have more electricity generation. It’s the basic law of supply and demand. We’re not going to solve it with windmills.” (Keene Sentinel, "In a moment, from resident to activist".)
Representative Hunt only changed his position when forced there by an overwhelming response from the community. It's time we made a change to someone with an understanding of the science behind climate change and a mind open to moving forward to protect our air, water, farms, food, health and safety.
Pat Martin, the Chair of the Rindge Energy Commission and a member of the Public Utilities Commission's Grid Modernizations work group, is the person we need to represent Rindge and Fitzwilliam at the State House. Our community is ready for a positive change.
You can follow Pat Martin on Facebook and Twitter.
Rindge woman seeking NH house seat write-in
* Photos from Keene Sentinel article. Pat Martin was testifying at a FERC hearing.