Politics Continues to Interfere With Infrastructure, Now in New Hampshire

Earlier this week E&E News reported that Liberty Utilities Company of New Hampshire has cancelled a natural gas project, the Granite Bridge Pipeline, following a three year battle over the project that looped in two gubernatorial candidates.

The 16 inch pipeline was planned to run about 30 miles, moving natural gas from Essex to Manchester, New Hampshire, and was intended to help alleviate gaps in winter heating capacity across the state. Estimates suggest that as many as half a million New Hampshire residents – mind you there are a little over 1.33 million residents statewide – rely on heating oil or propane to heat their homes.

All signs pointed to the Granite Bridge Pipeline being a valuable and needed project for the state. Sadly, it was caught in the politicking of the state when the benefits of energy infrastructure should be entirely nonpartisan. Further, the project would’ve been a $340 million investment in the state’s economy and many supply chains associated with infrastructure projects.

In 2018 the project enjoyed support from 22 of New Hampshire’s 24 State Senators but became a diverging fulcrum for Democratic gubernatorial primary race between state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes and Andru Volinksy, a member of the Executive Council of New Hampshire, with the former supporting the project on grounds of expanding service to low-income residents and the latter opposed over environmental concerns.

It is disappointing to see energy infrastructure projects fall victim to political battles, especially at the expense of the public. Fortunately, New Hampshire residents will go to the ballot box well before the New Hampshire winter sets in.