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The project will be to research and analyze a business development issue in your local community.

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  • The background and detailed analysis of the issues facing the developer and the community should be presented and alternative solutions should be analyzed.
  • The project should include interviews with the developer and community officials and should include a detailed background of the situation.
  •  Leadership issues, good or bad, should be highlighted.
  • Your recommendations for project developer should be included
  • Your paper should include a 1 page executive summary

 

Main selling points for the developer

Granite Bridge is a pipeline project that was proposed by Liberty Utilities in New Hampshire. The project includes a 27-mile pipeline that would link two existing pipelines and a large liquefied natural gas storage tank. This pipeline would be buried along route 101 and connect two natural gas infrastructures in Exeter and Manchester together. The primary objective of Liberty Utilities is to meet New Hampshire’s energy needs by bringing additional natural gas through a new underground pipeline. The project has been designed to serve customers in only New Hampshire (Granite Bridge, 2019). There are two main selling points for the developer of this project: environmental benefits and economic& community benefits.

Granite Bridge claims to help not only reduce air emissions caused by other fuels but also increase public health by providing New Hampshire a clean and efficient heating option. The project would significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury when compared to home heating oil. Moreover, there would be no reason for heavy truck traffic to deliver other fuels. Eventually, reducing emissions would decrease pollution-related illnesses and contribute to healthier communities in New Hampshire (Granite Bridge, 2019).

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Besides, Liberty Utilities is planning to build the pipeline along Route 101, in the NH Department of Transportation’s right-of-way which means they would not damage the environment since the pipeline would go through designated energy infrastructure corridor (Granite Bridge, 2019).

Liberty Utilities promises that The Granite Bridge would benefit 100% New Hampshire communities and customers. In this regard, the project would create 330 full-time construction jobs and 15 permanent jobs. Furthermore, Granite Bridge is expected to bring $200 million state and local property tax revenue for communities over the life of the project. Another advantage of the project is that it would bring new natural gas service to towns such as Candia, Raymond, and Epping which currently don’t have a natural gas provider. Lastly, total project savings to customers from the LNG Storage facility and new pipeline are expected to be around $950 million (Granite Bridge, 2019).

 

Key downsides raised by the opposition

While Granite Bridge has been on wait for the approval, opponent groups of the project are getting louder and stronger. Echo Action, 350 NH and Plan for the Northeast are some of the environmentalist groups which are opposing the project. As Liberty Utilities make its selling points of the project, the opposition raises key downsides under economics, environmental health and safety, and climate change.

Liberty Utilities proposes $340 million investment for Granite Bridge which is expected to bring $200 million tax revenue over the life of the project. However, with the depreciation, the amount of the tax revenue would be decreasing year by year considering the 40-year life span of the project (Martin, 2018). Also, the price of the project will be paid by ratepayers, not Liberty Utilities which will cause an increase in the utility bills (350nh, 2019).

Another concern of the opposition is about the promised job creation of the project. Granite Bridge promises to create 330 construction jobs, yet these are temporary jobs, and New Hampshire already has a labor shortage (Senier, 2018).

Aside from economic downsides, the opposition has many adverse claims related to environment and safety. The possibility of any leak or explosion is the biggest concern since the storage tank with 2 billion cubic feet of LNG capacity would be built close to daycare projects and nursing homes. Also, the bad reputation of Liberty Utilities, due to fines for violating health and safety regulations, makes this project seem even riskier (Magzis, 2018).

Despite the common sense which says natural gas is good for the environment, it causes methane emissions that are even more harmful than carbon dioxide. Using natural gas may reduce carbon dioxide and particulate matter emissions, but it contributes to climate change and air pollution with its methane emissions (Senier, 2018). Furthermore, the fact that Granite Bridge would pass under the Lamprey River and several other important local waterways, raises some questions in terms of water pollution (Magzis, 2018).

In addition, the opposition believes that letting Granite Bridge be built means to give up on the energy future of New Hampshire. The state would be committed to consuming fossil fuels for the next 40 years and would lose to chance of developing sustainable energy sources. To avoid environmental impacts and consequences of climate change, renewable energy needs to be supported as opposed to finding less harmful fossil fuels (Magzis, 2018).

 

Interview of the developer

  1. What makes Granite Bridge stand out from other natural gas companies’ projects?

Granite Bridge was designed to serve only New Hampshire. It will bring the state the natural gas supply needed and will keep the energy costs low. I believe some of the previous energy projects failed from this reason. For instance, Northern Pass was a giant hydroelectric energy project. However, the project was designed to be interstate and that’s why there was a strong opposition against the project.

  1. Will building the pipeline and LNG tank bring some environmental impacts?

No, the pipeline will be located completely within NHDOT right of way and will use an energy infrastructure corridor. So, we won’t need to excavate or create a new route under the road. As far as the tank, we will build a full containment LNG storage tank which means tank within a tank. In case of any leak from the inner tank, outer tank will keep the gas inside and avoid any danger or release to atmosphere. Also, we will always have at least 2 employees at the tank.

  1. Will Granite Bridge significantly reduce the cost of natural gas?

The storage tank will allow us to offer summer prices on winter to our customers. The tank will be filled when prices are low and drawn upon when prices are high. Granite Bridge will bring a more ecomic energy solution to over 24,000 homes.

  1. Will Granite Bridge cause higher property taxes and utility bills?

No, on the contrary Liberty Utilities will be paying up to 20% of the property taxes.

  1. Who is going to pay for the project?

We borrow money from our stakeholders. 50% of the project will be paid by our stakeholders while the customers will be paying the other half. It won’t affect the ratepayers, only the customers. It will be roughly extra $2 per customer. And the project will pay itself off.

  1. Will the LNG storage tank affect the property values in Epping?

There is no residential property around the tank. Also, LU has the chance of buying all the property around the tank. We can buy or rent the whole area. In addition, all property values will be protected by a property law of NH government.

  1. Do you think Granite Bridge will have impacts on environment and climate change?

First, Granite Bridge will help reduce air emissions by providing New Hampshire homes and businesses a clean, efficient heating option. In next 20 years, greenhouse gasses (CO2 equivalent) will be reduced 1,024,269 tons compared to other fuel fossils. The only emissions could be a little amount of methane gas leak. However, there won’t be methane gas release from the homes since methane combustion gives the yield of CO2 and vapor.

  1. How is the federal government supporting this project?

The final decision of the project state base so federal government is not involved. So far 22 of 24 state governor endorse the project, only 2 Republicans don’t.

  1. How do you manage your relationships with the opposition?

Honestly, there is no strong opposition to our project. We don’t face with the public protests except the same 4 people of echoaction team. They use social media very actively to convince people to oppose the Granite Bridge. They keep asking us same question via social media, but we answer every single question and never get tired of it.

  1. You have held over 200 meetings with town administrators, first responders and elected officials. Also, you have been holding open house meetings with the public. Is there any remarkable progress as a result of those meetings?

Not only those meetings but also, we go to people’s homes in Epping and talk in their living rooms. We are open to talk and explain the project to everybody in the state. I think this is the reason of our good publicity. As I mentioned before, bad publicity and strong opposition was one of the reasons of Northern Pass project’s failure. At this point we make the difference. In addition, according to state law we have make at least 2 public information sessions. We have already made the first one and will make at least 2 more sessions.

  1. As LU, do you have any renewable energy project?

At this stage renewables are not thermo efficient that’s why they are used to generate electricity. However, we have Renewable Natural Gas Project (RNG). It is on the process for permits in state. It is going to be first of its kind.

Interview of the Opposition

  1. Do you think that Granite Bridge is a poor economic investment considering Liberty’s claim of serving only for the state?

The answersare not black and white. They are a bit tricky. Liberty Utilities wants to build an infrastructure that is more than the capacity we need. With the energy efficiency programs, we could save 20% of the fuel we are using right now. Liberty will charge the rate payers for pipeline and LNG tank. Also, in the USA fossil fuels are being phased out. There is carbon tax and a big push for a new green deal. Both of these things will push fossil fuels further away.In Granite Bridge customers will be paying for next 70 years. They are promising people that the LNG tank they want to build in Epping is going to save people money because they will put all the fuel summer time and it will make it cheaper during the winter. It is a monster tank and it’s called stranded cost which mean LU has no risk. They will get paid from ratepayers even if it is not being used. As far as job concerns, there are very few permanentjobs in LNG tank and in the pipeline and the rest is temporary jobs. There are thousands of more jobs in energy efficiency programs. And, there are over 8000 people in NH waiting on the line to be assisted in energy efficiency.

  1. How will the project affect private property owners?

In 2014 this area was supposed to have a Kinder Morgan giant interstate pipeline come through. It was a 36-inch huge pipeline. One of the issues with that was there would be aeminent domain. LU was associated with that and learned a lot from Kinder Morgan who is a huge pipeline company. LU knew people would be upset because their land being taken that’s how we ended up getting help not only from democrats but also from republicans because republicans opposed to taking the plant. LU says they are not taking lands since their pipeline will be in rightof way corridor.But they are taking advantage of electrical easement. So, if you buy a property in this area, you’re givingLU the opportunity to use your land. They can put a pipeline through your property and there is nothing you can do about that. At the end of the day those property owners with the easement will be impacted by the project.

  1. Just because you mentioned the support of Republicans on the previous pipeline project, I would like toask you about their approach on this project. I know that LU has a lot of support from democrats for Granite Bridge which is surprising to me since I would expect the other way around considering political standings of both sides.

The difference is not that clear. There are many Republicans who are supporting renewables, but they are also supporting the fossil fuels.And there are some republicans who started to accept climate change, but they won’t say no more fossil fuels.

Democrats are tricky. New Hampshire’s 2 senators; senator Hassan and Shaheenand 2 congress people; congresswoman Kuster and congressman Pappas, none of them are supporting the green new deal. When the first line come through, we had to beg them listen to us and stop the pipeline. So, they are moderate democrats which means they try to get along with everybody. They don’t say no to fossil fuels, they just say we need use less of them. So, their language is different from republicans,but they are meaning is not so far off. However, progressive democrats openly say that we need the green new deal.At the end of the day there are more republicans supporting renewables from economic reasons.

  1. How do you think the environment will be affected by the project? Will Granite Bridge reduce CO2 emissions or contribute climate changeby emitting methane? Can natural gas be considered cleaner than the other fossil fuels?

No, it definitely is not cleaner. According to researches in fossil fuels natural gas is as harmful as coal in terms of gas emissions. And it’s because of the methane gas release all the way from extraction to the delivery.There is unbelievable amount of leaks. And, methane is 86 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

  1. Most of the current applications of renewables are to generate electricity not heat. Do you think renewables can be used to heat houses? Are they thermo efficient?

If offshore wind is implemented, it is a huge amount of energy for New Hampshire. The trick with heat isthat there is a law called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).It is kind of a carbon tax and the money is supposed to go to energy efficiency funds. We have been fighting to get that money to go to energy efficiency funds. I believe there is a good chance that is going to happen.

  1. So, are you for offshore wind farms?

Yes, I am for it. But I also believe that we have to be extremely careful on how we site these farms because of sensitive environment.

  1. I know you and echoaction team are actively using the social media and joining all the public meetings related to Granite Bridge. Besides these, what actions are you taking for your complaints to be hear? How do you raise people’s awareness on this project and its impacts?

We offer education programs like workshops, we go out and organize events, we have light it up signsand we take those out at nightat town centers andoverpasses, we send letters, we have campaigns, we talk to the press, we talk our legislators, we testify in statehouse, I am a member of a coalition more than 200 pipeline opposition groups. When the group meet in Washington DC, either for a conference or kind of activist action I go to that. I have gone to pipeline safety trainings in Lousina and Texas. In election time we spend a lot of time to speaking to candidates and videotaping them and sharing the information. We did that in 2016, also last year before midterms we spent 6 months going after candidates and we are doing that now with the presidential candidates of New Hampshire.

  1. Do you think the project has met all the legal requirements?

LU put the project on hold. They were struggling a little bit. What I found out is that Epping the town that they want to build the LNG tank, already has a franchise with another utility and so they think this is going to hold them up and possibly stop them.

  1. Shouldn’t they have known about that?

They know a lot of things, but they choose to by pass them. For instance, they have sent documents to public utility commission then they blacked out tons of information and fought with the commission saying if public knows about that, it could give us more competition and came up with the excuses why we shouldn’t have information.

  1. Do you think Granite Bridge will be approved?

I am not sure. I am hoping not. Because last year when all of our senators supported it,we went public on newspaper and started make it more clear on twitter. Then on social media we asked 2 legislators who supporting the project, why. Democratic party says that climate change is a national security thread. It is something we need to act on immediately, but they are not. So, I can say we are hopeful, we raised awareness enough and we think some of the legislators we spoke to might be ready to reconsider the issue. If there is an opposition from some of the senators, it makes it harder to be approved.

  1. Do you agree because Trump is distracting people so much that he is taking away the attention on climate change issue?

Yes, he takes some attention away, but we just got IPCC report on climate change and that really mobilized environmentalists and young people to push the green new deal and an action on climate change. Also, Greta Thunberg who is 14 years old and she has asparagus syndrome, she has been extremely vocal, and she has started climate strikes. So, every Friday they don’t go to school. They go out and strike against climate change. Last year, our group made climate change number one topic that is being discussed by candidates.

  1. The main point of Granite Bridge is serving New Hampshire’s energy need. Is there any alternative, especially renewable, to provide New Hampshire’s energy need?

There are alternatives but they are not being considered. Now LU is talking aboutRenewable Natural Gas which is really gas coming from the landfill. LU claims that RNG is renewable because it doesn’t need extraction. This gas is extremely dirty, it can’t be straight burnt, it has to be cleaned. So, there is no plan in place as an alternative and our legislators are not asking for alternatives.

References

“Benefits of Granite Bridge”, (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.granitebridgenh.com/environmentalbenefits

Magzis, L. (2018). Granite Bridge project would be a nightmare. Retrieved from: https://www.concordmonitor.com/Granite-Bridge-issues-22082070

Martin, P. (2018). What could go wrong with Granite Bridge pipeline? A lot. Retrieved from:https://www.concordmonitor.com/Oppose-Granite-Bridge-pipeline-17599069

Senier, S. (2018). Learn about Granite Bridge gas project — then oppose it. Retrieved from:https://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180710/learn-about-granite-bridge-gas-project–then-oppose-it

“Why No Granite Bridge”, (n.d.). Retrieved from:https://350nh.org/resistgranitebridge/#Concerns

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