Friday, July 8, 2011

FAQs about the Proposed New Power Lines through the White Mountain National Forest (Part 1)

Northern Pass's Special Use Permit application to construct two new power lines through the White Mountain National Forest  (WMNF)  does not contain FAQs. Here are questions that some people are asking. This is Part 1 in a series.

Does Northern Pass hold a right of way (ROW) or easement rights from the USFS to cross the WMNF?
  • No, the USFS does not deed permanent ROW easements on the WMNF.
How are they going to build there?
  • For six miles of the ten-mile corridor through the WMNF, Northern Pass is applying for a Special Use Permit, which is renewable but not permanent. SUPs usually are granted for 30 years.
  • For the remaining four miles, Northern Pass proposes to use PSNH's private easement that had already been granted when WMNF acquired the land.
Can Northern Pass use PSNH's private easement?
  • That's a good question.
  • The 1951 easement deed restricts rights to "the grantee [PSNH], its successors, and assigns," legal terms.
  • Northern Pass is not PSNH's legal successor or assign.
  • Stay tuned.
Would Northern Pass have to get permissions of any kind from USFS to build on the WMNF land where PSNH holds a private easement?
  • Northern Pass says no. It has excluded the four miles of private easement from its application.
  • More on this in a subsequent part of this series.
How many power lines does Northern Pass want to build in the WMNF?
  • Two, a new AC line and new DC line.
How would they fit two power lines where there is currently only one?
  • The old AC line in the center of the 150' corridor would be dug up and removed.
  • The new AC line would be installed on one edge of the corridor.
  • The new DC line would be constructed on the other edge of the corridor.
What would they do with the current wooden AC poles, which are coated with creosote, an EPA-registered pesticide?
  • The current creosoted AC poles would be dug up, disassembled, and removed from the corridor.
  • After removal from the corridor, the poles would be recycled, buried in a landfill, or burned in a commercial or industrial incinerator or boiler.
How many towers does Northern Pass want to construct in the WMNF?
  • Northern Pass proposes to construct 79 towers for the new AC line.
  • It also proposes to construct 79 towers for the new DC line.   
  • The total would be158 new towers.
How far apart would the towers be?
  • 660'.
How tall would the new towers be?
  • The AC towers would be approximately 65'-110'.
  • The DC towers would be approximately 100'-135'.
How much taller would the new towers be than the current poles?
  • The typical height of the current poles is 52'.
  • The tallest new structures will be 2x to 2.75x higher than the current poles.
What does a power line corrdior with co-located AC and DC towers look like?

National Grid, Rte. 25C, Warren NH

Has Northern Pass published one of those "visual simulations" for what its two lines of towers will look like in the WMNF?
  • No
(To be continued.)