[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “Are you done elected officials??”
[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Yes.”
[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “You didn’t call my name.”
[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Who are you?”
[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “I’m Executive Councilor Dave Wheeler. I spoke to you and signed up to speak on Monday. I sent my assistant up here to speak to you tonight.”
[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “I couldn’t indicate, I couldn’t tell you were an elected official or not. It was hard to tell exactly what your qualifications were.”
[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “Right. I called you on Monday to give you the elected official’s courtesy that I would be here tonight. I sent my staffer up here to tell you I was here tonight and your comment was, “What’s an Executive Councilor?””
[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Well, I wasn’t sure what that was. I mean…”
[FERC Project Manager Eric Tomasi] “Again, look, I apologize, you can go ahead and go as soon as my court reporter goes ahead and makes sure it’s ok. Go ahead.”
[Executive Councilor David Wheeler] “We’re good to go? Tape’s all changed. OK. I apologize for stepping away from decorum for a moment but I, you know, I felt I needed to do that. Um, it is very disturbing to me, to digress just for a minute, that you come here from Washington and you don’t even know what our form of government is here.”
Just so you know what the Executive Council does, we are the second highest elected state official, uh, in New Hampshire government. We hire the Public Utilities Commissioners or fire the Public Utilities Commissioners. We hire the Site Selection Committee members or fire the Site Selection Committee members. And we have a significant role in the state, in developing the state’s energy policy. Also, if you think this pipeline’s going through Rhododendron Park, it ain’t gonna get my signature to sell the land, have an easement on the land, or right-of-way.
Now I’ll go to my prepared remarks.
Every town, save one, affected by this proposed pipeline project is in my district, and I’d like to summarize real quick ‘cause I know a lot of other people want to speak. The comments that I’ve heard through emails and constituent reporting and from the people in this room tonight and other people across the district, I’m asking you, please hear them and listen to what they say when they detail their testimony tonight. Granite Staters are not pipeline push-overs.”
Every public works project has an environmental impact including this one. Every eminent domain project also has had a substantial New Hampshire benefit. This export pipeline does not benefit Granite Staters.
“Especially those who live in export pipeline affected towns. Now this project will steal over 1500 acres of land from New Hampshire homeowners. They will be required to give up their land, their forest, their crops, their privacy, their property values, clean pristine water, and the list goes on and on and on.”
Air quality and water quality will be affected far beyond the 1500 acres of this proposed taking. 10, 20-fold or more will be affected. Part of my duties as an Executive Councilor is to appoint and serve on highway layout commissions. If this 71-mile-taking was for a highway, it would never pass environmental protection muster.
You know, in fact the proposed circumferential highway project that would be in Hudson and Litchfield was turned down. We were told by the EPA and the federal highway administration, “Don’t even bother applying for the permits. You’re not gonna get ‘em. You’re not disturbing that much land. You’re not taking that much from the people. Just forget it.” But now comes a 71-mile comparable project and that wants to sail right through.
Also, in New Hampshire a highway would never, and I mean never, be built with the kind of citizen opposition that was in Nashua last night and that’s here tonight.
So that begs the real question here: Will you listen to these people or will you recommend that this project be forced upon us? The only responsible environmental finding or recommendation for this project should be: NO BUILD. Thank you.”