Friday, May 18, 2012

NU's New CEO Dismisses Northern Pass Opposition

Thomas J. May, CEO of the newly merged NStar-Northeast Utilities (NU), held a thirty minute press conference on May 16 in Hartford. Mr. May's closing remarks concerned opponents to Northern Pass.

Here is what Mr. May said about the opposition:

Both the New Hampshire transmission line and the Quebec damming project have come under fire from activists and environmentalists, but May said it wouldn’t be a barrier to bringing the electricity to market.

“I have never seen a project that everybody loves. There’s always resistance[;] there[']s alway[s] groups that will picket. The special interest groups will find something wrong with the project. [S]o that does not surprise us. It’s nothing we didn’t expect,” May said. (Press conference, May 16, 2012)

May's condescending attitude to Northern Pass opponents as "special interest groups," activists who will always find something wrong with Northern Pass, is disturbing. It masks the realities of the impacts that Northern Pass, even in its proposal stage, has already had upon New Hampshire residents. Listen to just a few of the voices of those living next to or near PSNH's existing ROW. These are the people, including "old folks" whose home is often their largest or sole asset, whom May fails to mention:

"I think it is going to be an awful looking mess going through my back yard and many others also. And will be taking most of our property which is very sad for us that we are in their way, and no one cares about us old folks I think it should go under! ground, that would be fair for everyone."

"Five days ago I found about the northern pass. …This is going to go in front of my house, next to my property, but yet I found out about this from a neighbor. This neighbor had just heard about it as well, yet nobody has sent me a letter, nobody has knocked on my door, nobody has called me on the phone. When I do find out, I feel it’s too late for my voice to be heard."

"I could be personally affected by a dramatic devaluation of my property value. It is the equivalent of one's pension fund being stolen by unscrupulous investment scammers with no conscience or consideration for right and wrong. I cannot believe that this was developed so secretively!!!"

"I live in the path of the alternate route on one side of me and the desired route on the other side of me. I am apposed to the Northern Pass because it will devalue my property,the defoliant could contaminate my well, effect my neighbors maple sugaring business, effect a local farm where it proposes to pass over it''s milking cows pastures."

Mr. May's total compensation package in 2009 was reported to be $7.4 million; one can only imagine what it is now. Mr. May does not have to worry about how he will make it through retirement. Mr. May no doubt lives in a palatial home with buried power lines. He does not have to worry about a transmission company erecting towers that put his residence in the fall zone.

Yet Mr. May has the audacity to ignore all those in New Hampshire who now live in fear that Northern Pass's towers will harm their physical and economic well-being.

He expected all this; it doesn't surprise him.

Shame on you, Mr. May.