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By Jon Bishop

MediaNews

LUNENBURG — The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is planning an environmental impact statement on the Northeast Energy Direct Project, the proposed natural-gas pipeline that would cross through the region.

FERC will use the environmental impact statement in determining whether the project is “in the public convenience and necessity,” according to a June 30 notice from FERC.

Part of the process will involve input from the public, according to the notice.

The pipeline is an initiative of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of energy giant Kinder Morgan.

There will also be a series of “public scoping meetings,” which FERC staff will conduct in the project area, according to the notice. One of them will be at Lunenburg High School on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.

“You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project,” the notice reads. “Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EIS (environmental impact statement).”

According to the notice, members of the public can file their comments via the FERC website or mail them to Secretary Kimberly Bose at 888 First Street NE, Room 1A in Washington, D.C.

Back in February, the Board of Selectmen signed a proclamation in which members asked state and federal legislators and executive branch officers “to enact legislation and take any such actions as are necessary to oppose such energy projects that go against our commitment to public safety, our environment, our economic well-being, and our sense of community.”

That sentiment hasn’t changed.

“I hope a lot of concerned citizens show up for the hearing,” said Selectman Phyllis Luck. “This is the opportunity to let the federal regulators know we are concerned and that we are not interested in that pipeline.”

Board Chairman Jamie Toale said he plans on attending the hearing and remains opposed to the pipeline.

“I plan on being actively involved in the hearing,” he said.

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