Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easton Conservation Commission's Meeting on Northern Pass (April 16, 2011)

Easton Town Hall Sign
On April 16, 2011, the Easton Conservation Commission (ECC) sponsored a meeting on the proposed Northern Pass project in its ongoing "Pastry & Preservation" series. Will Abbott, SPNHF, talked about the "unanswered questions" raised by Northern Pass. All ten ECC members and alternates attended as well as 120 other people. 60% of the land in Easton belongs to the White Mountain National Forest, and the entire town lies within the forest proclamation boundary. The towers would cross the Easton Valley, entering at an elevation of 1800' on the northwest corner, dropping to 1200' on the valley floor, then climbing to 2600' on the southeast corner in the WMNF. In the fragile habitat of high-elevation spruce-fir forest, 2600' is the highest point for towers along the entire proposed 180-mile route. (This year, Easton has been accepted into NH Fish & Game's Taking Action for Wildlife  program in recognition of its critical habitats for wildlife.) The towers would directly cross some 22 parcels of private land in Easton, with a dozen or so abutting private parcels. 80'-130' towers (with towers in excess of 130' in the WMNF) on the especially high elevation ROW would be seen widely throughout town from numerous other private parcels and beyond from both the WMNF and Franconia Notch State Park. At town meeting this year, Easton adopted a neighbor-friendly ridgeline ordinance to limit the visual impact of new structures above the 1300' elevation. Easton also voted unanimously to oppose Northern Pass at town meeting and appropriated $2500 for that purpose.

Councilor Ray Burton attended the April 16th meeting and told the crowd that we are all going to help the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee "write history" next year when it issues its first denial to a transmission project. (Northern Pass is a private merchant line unrequested by the regional planning group, ISO-New England.)

Proposed Northern Pass "preferred" route through Easton and the WMNF

ECC Chair Maria Hynes opens the meeting

Will Abbott, SPNHF, speaking on "Northern Pass: Unanswered Questions"

Six of the ten ECC members who attended
Some of the 120 members of the audience
More audience members