ANDOVER — About 200 mostly local residents peppered the proponents of a high-pressure gas pipeline with questions during a public forum at Wood Hill Middle School last night, but many came away with more questions than answers.
Representatives of Kinder-Morgan, an energy company that is building the Tennessee Gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Dracut, gave a 30-minute presentation about the project, which includes a separate, lateral line through Andover to Lynnfield.
Allen Fore, director of public affairs for Kinder-Morgan, noted during the presentation that the demand for natural gas has outstripped supply and that the governors of all the northeast states want more of it. He noted that with the decline in coal, nuclear and oil-powered plants, more natural gas is needed to provide cheap and plentiful energy to the region.
The pipeline would bring gas from the shale fields of Pennsylvania, traveling 418 miles in a 30- to 36-inch pipe filled with natural gas at a maximum pressure of 1,460 pounds per square inch traveling at an average speed of 30 feet per second.
A smaller, 20-inch line would run from Dracut, through Methuen, into Andover and Tewksbury, and eventually to Lynnfield.
The path of both pipelines are still being worked out, with Kinder-Morgan surveyors going to property owners along the route seeking permission to study their land to see if it is usable for the pipeline.
During a nearly two-hour question and answer period, moderated by Selectmen chairman Dan Kowalski, a number of residents raised concerns about the process and the pipeline placement.
“With a right-of-way of 50 feet, from the pictures I’ve seen, the impact is devastating,” said Susan Stott, a trustee of the local land preservation group AVIS, some of whose land would be affected by construction of the pipeline. “What are you going to do to these ecologically sensitive lands?”