Friday, July 13, 2012

Another NH Town Says "No Northern Pass" to Quebec and Hydro-Quebec

Starting with Stewartstown, NH towns have begun writing directly to Quebec's Premier Charest and to Hydro-Quebec to reiterate their staunch opposition to Northern Pass.

Town of Stratford's letter to Quebec

From the Town of Stratford
Published in the Colebrook Chronicle, July 13, 2012

Dear Premier Charest,

The Town of Stratford is following in the steps of our neighboring towns. We too write in protest and complaint regarding the local activities of Hydro-Quebec and its partner, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC and its affiliates. Our town is crippled by the physical, social and political ugliness of this project.

The voters of the Town of Stratford have also made it distinctively clear executing our feelings about Northern Pass by voice, video, letters, and so vividly by signs (as seen continuously through US Rte. 3). This project has also made unforgettable history for the past two years at our Annual Town Meetings.

On March 8, 2011, at our Annual Town Meeting, the voters of Stratford voted to register and disseminate to all concerned its objection, opposition, and commitment to stop the construction of any portion of the 1,200 Megawatt High Voltage Direct Current Transmission Line in the Town of Stratford as presently proposed by Northeast Utilities, NStar, and Hydro-Quebec (commonly known as Northern Pass) since such a huge scar constructed and erected through and above the Town’s treasured residential and scenic private properties will cause inestimable damage to the orderly economic development of the Town, its economy, and the health and wellbeing of its residents, or to take any other action relative thereto. Results of vote: 58 yes, 1 no.

On March 13, 2012, at our Annual Town Meeting, the voters of Stratford voted other than high voltage electrical transmission lines in existence as of the effective date of this ordinance, there shall be no further overhead development of alternating current or direct current high voltage transmission lines within the borders of the Town of Stratford without the benefit and approval of the Town. All such future electrical transmission lines must be placed within power line rights of way. Distribution lines carrying electrical power and other utility lines such as telephone and cable television for local residential or commercial use may continue to be installed above ground, but underground of such lines, is strongly recommended and encouraged. Results of vote: 37 yes; 1 no.

There is no green benefit within Stratford for having the utility line—the green value goes only to states south of us who would be serviced by the utility and who “trade” off their negative green points against points they gain through destroying the North Country. With the loss of mills, the timber industry, related businesses, and businesses that relied on mills and timber, the emptying out of the North Country is well under way. Our citizens are making necessary adjustments, we are now relying on tourism and people moving up here to retire. Your plan to carve out a right of way through our scenic vistas may well mean that we lose forever the one thing we still have, our scenic resources so necessary for our tourists and retirees. This project is suffocating the town’s ability to move forward.

We too agree with our united neighbors that this is causing serious damage to our relationship and feelings towards Quebec. The goals and local methods of Quebec’s crown corporation, Hydro-Quebec, are at irreconcilable odds with our local values and our environment. As the board that represents the Town of Stratford’s stress, dissolving this project would be in the best interest for all who are involved.

Stratford Board of Selectmen
Larry W. Ladd, Chairman
W. Timothy Brooks
Robin Kimball Rheaume