The Day We Bombed New Ipswich (Part One)

If you’re not caught up in the pipeline controversy here in New Hampshire or elsewhere in the US and Canada, you’re normal. Living your life. Not concerned about things that don’t concern you. Life is busy and hard, and we don’t have time to rally around every cause.

And there have been all these commercials talking about the need for more energy, and the cleanliness of natural gas. So, of course we want it. Right?

I get that. Until people I care about were directly affected, I was pretty much ignorant, too. I have books to write and a garden to tend and massage clients who need things fixed and family illness and all manner of things that lay claim to the too-few hours of every day.

But people I knew and respected were opposed—vehemently so. Out of respect for them, I got informed. I looked at both sides. And the more I learned, the more appalled I became. Because I still thought our government looked out for us. I thought laws were in place for the protection of ordinary people like me.

I was that naive.

And I should have known better. When I was an infant and my mother was pregnant with my brother, we were caught in the fallout from our government’s perfectly safe nuclear testing in the Mojave Desert. There’s a book—The Day We Bombed Utah—that talks about what happened to so many of us that year. Every baby born in our neighborhood had some form of disability. My brother was hit the hardest with a profound intellectual disability that forever changed our lives.

So, here’s what I’ve learned about the NED project that will shortly become part of our landscape. I don’t think it is possible to stop it. Corporations have too much control over our government, including our governor and our state reps. And we have no rights.

The natural gas that will be transported through this pipe is not for us. It is destined for Nova Scotia, where it will be converted to liquid natural gas and exported. So those who believe this gas will lower their energy costs are mistaken. We will be paying world market prices, which are monumentally higher than what we pay now.

But export is good for the economy, right?

Yes and no. Fossil fuels are finite. By exporting our limited reserves in order to line the pockets of the likes of Kinder Morgan, we deplete our resources, making us more dependent on foreign energy.

Pipelines require compressor stations, and compressor stations are ginormous polluters. Their emissions do not have to be disclosed. They do not have to be monitored or managed. Compressor stations are exempt from such regulations. Recent studies of populations in the vicinity of compressor stations show increases in all manner of health issues, from constant bloody noses to cancers to still births.

New Ipswich, NH gets to host this one. Hence the title of this piece.

And this is at the “clean” end of things. The people with the misfortune of living above the Marcellus shale fields have already had their air and water and livestock poisoned, and have had to simply walk away from their now worthless properties. The properties they worked their whole lives for.

Gone.

Kinder Morgan has, in its FERC application, requested that the costs of building this pipeline be passed on to us. Yes, the people who host this pipeline also get to pay for building it, even though the gas is not for us, even though it will dramatically increase our air pollution. This will most likely come in the form of a tariff on the electric bills that the pipeline supporters think are already too high.

Kinder Morgan has to demonstrate NEED by signing on customers. Liberty Utilities has signed on. But Liberty Utilities is a subsidiary of Algonquin, and Algonquin is in partnership with Kinder Morgan in the construction of this pipeline. So what we have here is a game of smoke and mirrors, not evidence of need.

Fixing the leaks in the existing pipelines would, in fact, result in a surplus. Sadly, this is not profitable and will not be considered.

And, while we’re on the subject of leaks, there’s this: all pipelines leak. The pipeline companies have no obligation to fix them, only to identify, categorize, and monitor. Kinder Morgan agrees to do just that in its FERC application. On their website, Kinder Morgan proudly states that this is New Hampshire! Who even lives there to be polluted?

Nice.

Eminent domain will be used to take land where negotiation fails. By negotiation, I mean threat. “You take $12/linear ft. for this easement across your property, or we’ll simply take it from you.” They negotiate like Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element.

There is a very real chance that our aquifers will be altered and possibly poisoned by this process. You know—the underground rivers that supply our drinking water—the ground water that feeds our wells. Kinder Morgan will be fracking as they go. Fracking chemicals are the same ones that travel through the pipeline with the natural gas and are vented at compressor stations. You know—the chemicals that do not have to be disclosed and that cause illness and death. Those chemicals. They could easily end up in both our air and our water.

And Kinder Morgan says no problem! They’ll cover any costs of repairing and mitigating for any affected wells within 200’ of the pipeline.

Wow.

Two hundred feet.

How generous, especially in light of a history of single blastings affecting aquifers 30 miles away.

Southern NH has been deemed a “low kill zone,” so this section of the pipeline will be built using the thinnest, cheapest metal available. It will leak. It will pollute. It could explode, but that’s not a given. The pollution—that is a given.

Kinder Morgan hires locals to speak positively about the pipeline in our communities, and to comment on articles like this. You can identify them easily, because they use terms like NIMBY, and OVERREACTING, rather than showing any real grasp of the issues.

While this controversy plays out across southern New Hampshire and much of this continent, our Governor also gets on board by calling the people affected NIMBYs. One wonders why.

NIMBYs.

That’s just great, Governor Hassan. Say it again into the microphone, please. Because this is a derogatory term used by people who have no rational argument. It marginalizes the citizens who deserve to be heard. And listened to.

And protected.

So, today I say loudly, SHAME ON YOU, Governor Hassan. We all know you have political aspirations that live in Washington and not here. We all know that opposing this project would not help with that. You have sold us in exchange for your future.

We also know that, someday, you will fight an opponent who uses this day against you. And we will be there.

Part Two

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31 thoughts on “The Day We Bombed New Ipswich (Part One)

  1. . Real problem is that folks refuse
    To look outside the box to frame opposition
    Locals refused acknowledge preemption of federal govt & acted with no access prematurely without counsel
    To think conservationists or local or state groups have any real power to confront
    The. Deadly Federal Govt run by Fed/International energy combine is ludicrous . And local politicians who even as NH state lawyers act impulsively Not to Mitigate federal attack & then to espouse
    That municipal official actions flow down from state govt , rather than Up from the people as inalienable rights , thus eschewing real advocacy like a Community Bill of Rights for Protection of wAter/aquifer resources;
    Demonstrates how clearly ineffective government has become since Dartmouth v Wentworth holding Corporations have equal due process as people- which concept created multi national federal corporate ownership of democratic & commercial practices since Citizens United permitted corporate (not populist) combines to purchase the electorate with Super Pacs –
    Makes the resentment and closed minded
    Ness of so called local activists noble intent
    Petty & exactly what fed private/public energy combine wants NH & other local/state advocates to do ….,,,,they believe native air & eath are rarified and belong to them but
    Not only do they not realize NH Cons Art 10 on right to revolution remains in People not corporations – thus legal corporate falderal
    Like Dillons Rule or Fesr to Attack Fed Energy Act as a corrupt violation of Govt as Public Trust ! Create fool hearty local enterprises
    Like PUC state regulatory hearings churning legal fees for no precedent oak value
    In the anti war Vietnam days it took National
    Advocacy Groups and people willing to be jailed for failure to comply with conscription & the hounded of the Panthers to the SDS
    To more aggressive Revolutionairies to change govt policy and Federal Siege!
    Smarten up locals – listen to radical ideas
    And stop acting like a herd of unintelligible
    Folks -revolt!

  2. I live in New Ipswich, NH. I live within 1/2 mile of the proposed compressor station and also within the incineration zone of the pipeline itself. I will never see any type of compensation if the pipeline is built practically in my backyard. My 7 year child will live here, breathing the polluted air and drinking contaminated water from our well. We scrimped and saved for our first home, the one that we currently live in. It is not fancy or large. Its about 1100 sqft and it is our American Dream, which is to be paid in full for in about 22 years. We now either walk away in foreclosure, sell at a loss and destroy our credit or we stay and suffer the pipeline and compressor station and all that it brings. Its disheartening and really eye opening to live in America in this day and age and have our quality of life destroyed for corporate profit and greed. How can this happen? We are good people. We pay our taxes. We have full time jobs. We vote in every election. We are getting screwed by our own government and by Kinder Morgan if this pipeline is approved. My family’s situation isn’t unique, there are at least 50 other families faced with the same situation just in my tiny town alone. So yes, not in my backyard, or anybody elses for that matter.

  3. All the people who accuse us of being NIMBYs don’t have it in their backyard. They are, however, welcome to buy our homes and send their children to the Temple Elementary School and THEN lets see if it’s still OK with them! It’s not as they say, but as they do. These people wouldn’t ever “do”. How dare they tell us we must!!!

    • The true NIMBY’s are those who don’t have it in their backyards – not in my backyard, so I don’t give a rat’s ass. But seriously – the term is always used to silence those who are losing everything they’ve spent their lives building. I suggest we use it. Make signs. NIMBY PROUD. Because those directly affected are the ones who have done the most research, and therefore have the ability to let the rest of the population know the truth.

  4. Nancy…I wish I knew you….I lived in Mason for thirty years and have a deep love for the town..its people..its land.. The pipeline will go right through the field where my horse, pony and goat grazed. My heart breaks when I think about the destruction that will most likely happen. Yours is the most clear comprehensive article I have read, so thanks for all your research. I will share your blog.

  5. Love your comments ……come on New Ipswich let’s fight for what is rightfully ours which is clean air, clean water and the clean NH we deserve!

  6. I do not live in New Ipswich, I live in Antrim, but I know this is still my problem, this will still affect me. Even if, best case scenario, it only breaks my heart. I live in a wildlife sanctuary, a super sanctuary of extraordinary beauty, a place where people come from all over to restore their spirits, their belief that things are underneath it all, ok, problems will work out, life can be good. We have had our threats here, too, but this added one, this huge one, this seemingly insurmountable one is beyond imagining. Just as we lived downwind of a leaky nuke, taking radiation into our tissues, watching the cancer rates climb around us, powerless to stop it. Economic viability stopped it, not concern for life. Not concern for the future. What can stop this? Not even sure what I can do other than rant, because I do not live in a town that has town meetings about this, or a vote, or a voice.

  7. I am just now getting more educated upon
    This pipeline. It’s about a quarter mile from
    My home. I moved here 3 years ago and spent the better part of a year jumping through hoops to get a home for my fiance and child on the way. We now have two kids and animals and are living n paycheck to paycheck. Kinder Morgan’s pipeline is going to destroy our hard earned American dream leaving me with nothing but worthless property a polluted well and possibly cancer and death for my animals and more importantly my family. I cashed in my 401k to get a home to raise a family and secure my families future, now I feel that all my efforts are wasted. Thankyou Kinder Morgan.

  8. thank you for writting this piece! So many are just realizing how horrible this pipeline is. I have written to Gov. Hassen her indirect reply was her stand was for the best of NH energy demands. It all bull****, have all our NH politicians been bought & paid for? the more I read the more I see that our constitution should read we the corporate giants…! My father lives right along side of the powerline in Amherst . I grew up there , saw the powerline built, he has put 70+ years of his life into living on the land that, at 88 may displace him for some corporate gain? This is so wrong. I live in Greenville, have for well 0ver 30 years, I work in New Ipswich at the Amazing Flower Farm & at Windblown Cross Country Ski, both places would be strongly affected by this pipeline and compressor station as will the rest of us in this area. I am talking to everyone I know & don’t know between here and Amherst about the big con this Kinder Morgan company is. I still have faith that we can stop this! thank you again for your words,i have been sharing them!

  9. Beautifully written. This cause is dear to me as our small farm was in the first projected location in MA. We seem to be out of the line of fire, but not out of the fight! Not only do we not want it on our property, we don’t want it at all!

  10. Pingback: The Day we Bombed New Ipswich (Part Two) | nancydemarco

  11. Thanks for this post, Nancy. It rings my bell.
    This is disgraceful and an act of atrocity against ordinary people. I suggest you put out a world wide petition to stop this even at this late stage. I will be the first to sign. This is happening in Australia too, and the farmers are losing their livelihoods. Corporates are the bosses of the world now because they have money: money rules over rationale or common sense and certainly over Governments (toothless tigers). I saw a few documentaries about this and it is a sad endictment on our world. Your world is our world and ours is yours. We all have to eat, work and play on this globe and need to get our act together for the good of humanity, not for a greedy minority. Good on you, Nancy, for spending your God given few hours to post this. It is a necessity today. Stay positive and get back to your books (your therapy). So sad to hear what happtned to your brother. It is a dilemma that the Government do not wish to know about – sadly.

  12. As a veteran of the fight against fracking in NYS, I appreciate your post. While we continue fighting against fracking in other states, we also are fighting against fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines and compressor stations here in NY, in New England, and across the country. It ties in not only with global climate change but also with the amount of control that large corporations exercise over the government that is supposed to represent and protect us. Keep on getting the word out! We are starting to turn the tide!

  13. Pingback: “The Day We Bombed New Ipswich” by Nancy DeMarco |

  14. Thank you so much for this, Nancy. I am the administrator of the New Ipswich and Rindge no pipeline websites and live one half mile from the proposed compressor station in New Ipswich. May I have your permission to place your piece on our home pages? I will happily note that you are the author and give the name of your blog as the original source. This is so wonderful. Thank you again for writing it.
    Patricia Canaday
    http://www.newipswichpipeline.info
    http://www.rindgepipelineawareness.org

  15. Your article hits the mark. My husband and I searched for 3 years before we found the right house and community to raise our family. The atomic power line from Vernon took an acre from us a couple of years after we bought our 3 acre homestead. We now are down to 2 acres and the Gas Pipeline will be taking not only our property but the house as well. We lived here for over 50 years and as a recent widow I had planned on spending the rest of my life here. Prior to hearing about the pipeline I had contracted for about $90,000 in renovations to be done. These have since been done and all for naught if the pipeline goes through. A nice way to spend my golden years…starting all over from scratch as though the last 50 years didn’t count.

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