Friday, April 15, 2011

Northern Pass: A Plan B Coos Loop?

Northern Pass has evidently decided that it cannot (or will not be able to) use eminent domain to seize private land for its 40-mile "preferred" route from the border crossing at Pittsburg (Point A) to Groveton (Point B), where PSNH's existing ROW starts. One would hope that had led to the recognition that not only does the North Country reject the project, but the entire length of New Hampshire, another 140 miles on the "preferred"  route, rejects the project. (All except Franklin.) Instead, Northern Pass is apparently developing Plan B, searching for another route through Coos County. It looks like NP will try to go east through the Dixville area and then loop around to the west again and join up at Lost Nation (Groveton). But, if that route succeeds, Fred King has something to say about where the big fight will then be, as reported in today's Colebrook Chronicle.

Point A > Point B Black Line = Current 40-mile "Preferred" Route with no ROW
Blue Dotted Overlay = Alternate "Preferred" Route with no ROW
Yellow Line = Existing PSNH ROW
Red Line = Approximate Existing Coos Loop 115 kV Transmission Line
Green Line = Approximate Granite Windpark Line
(Windpark map)
The Chronicle reports that NP has recently talked with selectmen in the town of Dummer and with residents in the unincorporated places of Dixville and Millsfield. In Millsfield, NP said it was "looking at potentially creating a [150 foot] ROW near the windpark as an alternative route away from Stratford, Columbia, and Colebrook," the Chronicle notes. Among Millsfield residents' concerns was whether they would see the towers behind the windmills. NP also visited the general manager of the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, Jeff McIver. McIver told NP that it should bury the line, but NP said it was "cost prohibitive," the Chronicle reports. If Plan B in Coos is forming up, Fred King supports it. But, asked about NP using existing PSNH right of way from Groveton to Deerfield, King said that "'fight has yet to be fought--and that can be the ungluing of the whole thing. Those people in the south have a legitimate concern. I think that's where ultimately [NP] is going to have a big fight'."

The North will fight, the South will fight, and we'll continue fighting together as we have since we first heard about Northern Pass. The possible Plan B Coos Loop is not going to change New Hampshire's mind that this project is bad policy for the entire state. And we doubt that Colonel Timothy Dix will smile down upon a Coos Plan B either.

Read the entire article, "Northern Pass Looking Into Placing Line Further East?," in today's Colebrook Chronicle, and thanks again to the Jordans for continuing high quality, in-depth investigative reporting.