Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Berlin is Wrong on Northern Pass

Coos County Democrat
Littleton Courier
Berlin is wrong on Northern Pass
Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier and seven members of the city council recently submitted a pro-Northern Pass letter to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee. The SEC will be making the decision on whether to allow construction of the controversial hydropower transmission project. Berlin’s support for Northern Pass is, quite simply, wrong and very disappointing.
The city’s Dec. 7 letter to the SEC makes statements that are not aligned with reality. Although praising renewable energy, the city seems to not know that big hydropower operations lack status as a renewable under state standards, mainly because of the impact on wildlife and the inevitable drowning of forests. Berlin also declares that Northern Pass "will provide much needed tax revenue to the County and the communities through which it passes," which is true enough. However, most towns that would host the transmission lines (and thereby grow the tax base) are strongly against the project. Because Berlin is not on the Northern Pass route, city leaders should not think they can speak for towns wanting nothing to do with the riches Northern Pass has promised.
Although praising the extra tax revenue from Northern Pass, Berlin’s leaders fail to remember how often towns are dragged into court over the tax valuation of utility infrastructure. This accounts for one reason why so many residents of Grafton County towns where lines would be buried are still fighting Northern Pass. For whatever financial gain they could accrue, these heroic citizens do not want Coös County to be plagued by miles of aboveground lines and horrendously tall towers.
Berlin is right to note that Northern Pass officials have worked hard to deal with the concerns of project opponents. However, city leaders are utterly inaccurate to state, "We understand that many of the concerns have been mitigated." Franconia, a town with no Northern Pass lines prior to the revised August proposal, is now appalled by the impact of burying five miles of lines through the town’s commercial corridor and close to several homes. Mitigating the impact of the new proposal, which would bury 60 miles of lines, has barely begun, and Berlin’s leaders seem ignorant of that reality.
The City of Berlin has become a severe outlier on Northern Pass, a Coös County municipality aligned with Hydro Quebec, not the residents and towns of the North Country that oppose the project. Leaders of "The City That Trees Built" seem to not respect why so many others in our region want to make sure they do not see their landscape become places that Northern Pass destroys.
Berlin will not see direct property tax revenue from Northern Pass. So why are other towns that will gain tax revenue still fighting so hard against Northern Pass? Grenier and the city council should have investigated that truth before they officially became craven propagandists for Hydro Quebec, a company owned by a foreign government. Berlin’s leaders are on the side of a Canadian monopoly that cannot find enough money from its $7 million of daily profit to bury all of Northern Pass.
Perhaps Mayor Grenier and the city council are so busy presiding over one of the highest tax rates in the state — which has gone up more than 20 percent in three years — to do their homework on Northern Pass. The next time each of the letter’s eight signatories go on the ballot, hopefully voters will ask each of them why they sided with a foreign government rather than the people of their own region.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Municipal Intervenors in the SEC Docket for Northern Pass

The following municipal groups have petitioned in advance for intervenorship; as of December 2, 2015, the SEC has not set a deadline for intervenorship.  

Coos County Commissioner
Holderness Conservation Commission


North Country: Growing Number Of Towns To File As Northern Pass Interveners

State To Decide Next Monday If Northern Pass Application Complete

By Robert Blechl, Staff Writer
Caledonian Record

As Northern Pass enters another year and nears another round of state and federal hearings, a growing number of North Country towns have expressed their intention to file as interveners to get their voices heard and questions answered.

During their meeting last week, selectmen in Northumberland discussed intervener status, with Selectman James Tierney saying with intervener status the town can have its suggestions considered and its questions answered. He noted the city of Concord and town of Bethlehem have put in for intervener status.

Northumberland selectmen on Nov. 23 voted 3-0 to send a letter to the state requesting the status.

On Dec. 9 in Bethlehem, the Bethlehem Planning Board will discuss their town becoming an intervener, after Bethlehem Conservation Commission Chair Cheryl Jensen met with board members Nov. 18.

Jensen said there is the impact of a possible transition station of about an acre to be located at Brook Road and Route 302, where the Northern Pass line would pass through, and the only way for the town to have any control over the project is to request intervener status.

Two days before she met with planners, Jensen met with selectmen, who agreed the town should apply for the status. Selectmen discussed the transition station development and the portion of overhead hydro-electric transmission line that could go in the Brook Road-Baker Brook area.

The town of Franconia, which after a revised route would now see five miles of buried line, is also mulling intervener status after a Nov. 18 public hearing in which the dozens of residents in attendance opposed the project.

At the state level, the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) has scheduled a hearing at 9 a.m. Monday at the N.H. Public Utilities Commission offices in Concord to decide whether or not Northern Pass' application filed with SEC is complete.

The Society For the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has asked SEC to declare Northern Pass' Oct. 19 application incomplete, arguing the company cannot demonstrate that it has the property rights needed to bury its line under land the Forest Society owns in Clarksville and the SEC does not have the authority to grant such a right.

Currently, a total of 60 miles of the 192-mile line are proposed for burial, with 52 miles around the White Mountain National Forest and 7.5 miles in Coos County.

Northern Pass argues roadways have traditionally supported energy projects.

On Monday, however, Forest Society spokesman Jack Savage said there's nothing traditional about Northern Pass, which he said is a merchant project designed to move electricity from Canada to southern New England.

The Forest Society has also filed a lawsuit in Coos Superior Court asking the court to find and rule that Northern Pass' proposed use of the Washburn Family Forest in Clarksville is unauthorized.

"We are making the case the SEC in particular doesn't have the authority to resolve the dispute," said Savage. "Northern Pass, in contrast, believes the SEC has some sort of magic wand that can make these property rights disputes go away."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Easton: Northern Pass on Hot Seat

Click here for a video of the Easton Selectboard meeting by Bulldog Media of NH.

Easton: Northern Pass Team On Hot Seat

Public Hearing On Northern Pass Nov. 18 In Franconia

By Robert Blechl, Staff Writer
Caledonian Record

EASTON -- As they did in Franconia and Sugar Hill last month, a Northern Pass team visited Easton Monday for a similar project presentation and were met with dozens of area residents and town representatives who came prepared with many questions that put them on the hot seat.

Although the line as revised in August replaces the proposed towers in Easton with 9.4 miles of underground line buried along the shoulders and travel lanes of Routes 116 and 112, many residents were concerned about environmental impacts and impacts to residential properties.

Summing up Monday evening's sentiment, Easton Conservation Commission Chairman Roy Stever said, "People in this town deserve your transparency."

The first question asked was what has now become the burning question in the tri-town area -- why can't the line be buried along Interstate 93.

Attorney Mark Hodgdon, contracted by Northern Pass, said there are a number of reasons I-93 won't work, among them the N.H. Department of Transportation saying that utilities such as Eversource, the parent company of Northern Pass, must show extreme hardship to use any of their corridors.

But Selectman Debbie Stever pointed out that the DOT several years ago identified I-93 as an energy corridor.

Hodgdon said he is aware of that, but did not comment further.

Roy Stever said Northern Pass for years was saying it can't bury lines and now is saying it can, but only along roads through Easton.

"You're only at 30 percent of your engineering," said Stever, "I ask you to keep an open mind."
Interstate 93 is fewer miles and has fewer obstructions, he said.

Roy Stever also asked how the environmental impacts along the interstate compare to Routes 116 and 112 and if they are more or less.

Hodgdon did not have an answer, and did not promise one, but said he'll submit the question.
Company profit was also brought up, and Debbie Stever said towns are hearing about cost estimates but not about the revenue Eversource would make off the hydro-electric transmission line that for assessment purposes has a net book life of 40 years.

"Does Eversource earn more money if you go down Routes 116 and 112 than if you go down I-93?" she asked.

Eversource representatives did not respond.

Some 70 percent of Easton is within national forest, and Roy Stever said the U.S. Forest Service will have to be part of the permitting process.

He also voiced concern about Eversource utility poles abandoned in the 1980s in the town's higher elevations that he said are now leaching chemicals into waterways including the Ham Branch.

Ten streams go under roads in Easton.

Roy Stever said the town is concerned about impacts to its watersheds and asked what best management practices Eversource has in place and if the town can read them.

As the project enters another year, a legal fight could be in the future regarding who owns the dirt under the roads.

As they said in Sugar Hill and other towns, Easton residents and town officials say the landowners own the land under the roads and argue Northern Pass will have to seek permission from those landowners to bury the line if the project moves forward.

Posted on many properties along Route 116 in Franconia and Easton Monday were signs reading, "No Northern Pass on 116."

Roy Stever expressed frustration at what he said has been a lack of answers by the company and no appearance by company representatives until Monday, even though the conservation commission for several years had been requesting a meeting.

Several years ago, company representatives said they would meet with the town well before the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee process, he said.

"That didn't happen," said Stever.

The SEC process began with a round of informational sessions in September.

Following a Northern Pass presentation last month in Franconia, a public hearing to gather comments on the company's proposal in that town will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Franconia Town Hall.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hydro-Québec can afford to bury Northern Pass - editorial

  "We cannot afford to see a state entity act as the stooge of a foreign company’s record profits."

Coos County Democrat and Littleton Courier editorial (October 28, 2015)

Hydro-Québec can afford to bury Northern Pass

Éric Martel, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec, must really enjoy life. While planning to build and pay for Northern Pass, the nearly 200 miles of power lines through New Hampshire, Martel’s company has posted hefty profits. On the Hydro-Québec website, Martel rightfully referred to 2014 as "a remarkable year." Certainly, a $3.4 billion profit and $2.5 billion dividend to shareholders qualifies as remarkable.

Good news keeps getting better for Hydro-Québec, which is owned by the province’s government. For 2015, the company’s financials remain stellar. Profit for the first six months of this year exceeded $2 billion. Congratulations to Hydro-Québec for following up a remarkable year with an absolutely amazing six months. Counting the first half of this year, Hydro-Québec’s profits since the start of 2011, shortly after Northern Pass was originally proposed, were just under $12 billion, or about $7,250,000 each day. Even after converting the company’s figures to American dollars, the profit remains rather large.

With all the dollars flying around, why is Hydro-Québec hesitant to use some of those record profits over the next four years, the anticipated timeframe to build Northern Pass, to pay for complete burial of the transmission line?

Northern Pass, a partnership between Hydro-Québec and New England power supplier Eversource, recently filed an application with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee. A decision on the controversial proposal will take about a year. Northern Pass seems to have new momentum after agreeing in August to bury 52 more miles of line. A step in the right direction, for sure, but the total proposed amount of buried lines is less than one-third of the project’s length.

Beyond the $1.6 billion Northern Pass anticipates to spend on the proposed route, with 60 miles of underground lines, the cost to fully bury the project would likely be less than one year of Hydro-Québec’s profit. Trees and views in Coös County, where most of the transmission towers would be visible, matter as much as land around the White Mountains, the area benefiting from the August decision to bury more lines.

Dedicated residents have testified about how the tall towers of Northern Pass would diminish the joy our land provides. Hopefully Mr. Martel and Northern Pass can forgive the people of the North Country who believe our forests are more remarkable than a foreign monopoly’s balance sheet. Beloved scenery and the wonders of nature - not a Canadian company’s quest for more profit - make life grand in New Hampshire.

If Hydro-Québec wants to add to its financial success by sending energy down the Northern Pass route, the company needs to pay for total line burial. That might complicate construction and push the start time for the project back. So be it. New Hampshire is worth the wait.

Regardless of how beneficial nearly 1,100 megawatts of power would be for the regional electric grid, the business partners in two countries who proposed Northern Pass need to answer a question. Why won’t Hydro-Québec divert some of its mighty profits to bury the entire project?

Even the angriest critic of Northern Pass must admit that the project’s leaders have respectfully heard many people express their doubts about the power line. Perhaps the Site Evaluation Committee will hear us even better. They need to. They must. We cannot afford to see a state entity act as the stooge of a foreign company’s record profits.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"A Devastating Blow to Northern Pass" - Op Ed

Coös County Democrat (July 29, 2015)
Littleton Courier (July 29, 2015)
Plymouth Record Enterprise (July 30, 2015)

Editorial Opinion

 A devastating blow to Northern Pass

 On July 21, a major victory was won for those who oppose Northern Pass. The five-year process leading to the project’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) ended wih the U.S. Department of Energy releasing the long awaited document. The department concluded that the proposal for nearly 180 miles of huge electricity towers would damage our tourist economy and the great views that make life in the North Country a continuous treat.

The DEIS suggested several alternative routes for Northern Pass, the PSNH/Eversource proposal to bring HydroQuebec power to the New England grid using, almost exclusively, mammoth transmission towers through New Hampshire. Because of the dreadful visual impact from the tall towers, many alternatives in the DEIS call for underground lines, as so many people from Northern New Hampshire have suggested for years. We were speaking, but Northern Pass was not listening.

 Northern Pass issued statements about the DEIS. Totally avoiding how the DEIS hurts the project’s momentum, the statements focus on the need for additional energy and how the Northern Pass permitting process will continue. Interestingly, Northern Pass credits the input received from citizens about the project. Nowhere has Northern Pass acknowledged the major strategic error in its continuing reluctance to consider what has clearly become the only option that stands any chance of winning the support of the North Country — burying the lines.

Noting the energy crisis New England faces, recent statements from Northern Pass imply our state would benefit from the extra supply and the subsequent lower costs. Yet, the project’s benefit to New Hampshire’s electricity consumers has never been clear. As far as lowering our high power rates, Northern Pass meekly states, "We continue to believe that Northern Pass is an important part of the answer." They just cannot seem to accept that the fat cats in two countries trying to push Northern Pass on us never bothered to ask whether residents of our region love our precious land, trees, and views. Generations of people here know the answer, and we do not need a corporate monstrosity looking to spoil our state while lecturing us on the need for new energy sources.

The DEIS notes how burying the lines would double the cost to build Northern Pass, but would also double the number of construction jobs compared to above ground lines. How Northern Pass responds to that fact will be interesting to see. Also, the DEIS found, towns most affected by the proposed overhead lines would gain the least amount of property tax revenue from the Northern Pass infrastructure that would weave its way through towns from Pittsburg south.

 Many people deserve credit for ensuring the DEIS captured the brutal devastation Northern Pass would bring to our region. Landowners turned away millions by refusing to sell their land to Northern Pass, devoted residents took many trips to Concord and elsewhere to find out more and have their voices heard, and people made the orange protest color central to their wardrobe.

 The final battle has not been won, but the above ground towers cannot realistically happen because of the big slap to the face the U.S. Department of Energy delivered to Eversource and HydroQuebec last week. This major victory belongs to us all. Thanks and congratulations to those who made such a triumph possible

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Northern Pass's Visual Impacts on 47 NH Towns

Zone of Visual Influence (ZVI) Maps

The Department of Energy (DOE) and New Hampshire Department of Historical Resources (NHDHR) are conducting a mandated federal Section 106 review of Northern Pass's impacts on historical resources.

Until recently, this review has not been available to the general public. On June 17, 2015, Governor Hassan requested that DOE post review documents, as well as NHDHR's preliminary comments, on the Northern Pass Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) site as soon as possible. NHDHR concurred that the public's interest demanded it. A redacted version is now available online to the public as "NH Division of Historical Resources – Project Area Form Review."

This redacted version includes "Sketch Maps" for the Section 106 review prepared by TJ Boyle, a DOE subcontractor for the EIS. The base "Sketch Maps" show the "zones of visual influence" within the "area of potential effect" (APE) along the full 187-mile length of the proposed project.

The general public may now view this viewshed analysis online; links follow at the end of this blog.

The viewshed analysis is designed for the Section 106 assessment of impacts on historical resources, not for landowners who wish to assess visual impacts on their own properties. Nevertheless, the maps serve as a limited preview of what landowners can expect from Northern Pass as currently proposed.

Another such preview is offered in the Appalachian Mountain Club's earlier visual impact assessment and flyover video. This assessment is based upon 2012 tower heights and will be updated. (See "Methodology" in the VIA for a discussion of data used to compose the videos. Links to the eleven fly over videos are included below to correspond to the Section 106 Sketch Maps.)

For the 106 review, DOE and NHDHR have decided to consider one mile either side of the center of the proposed transmission line as the APE.* (The 2012 AMC fly over videos show a wider APE.)

The zones are color coded to represent how many towers would be visible from a given location within the APE. White: 0 towers. Yellow: 1 to 5 towers. Green: 6-10 towers. Orange: 11-20 towers. Red: 21-40 towers. Burgundy: over 41 towers.

Conditions are leaf-on.

“Surface” viewsheds for all but the immediate APE include the screening effects of objects over 7 ft (2.1 m) in height (leaf-on tree conditions, buildings, etc.). Thus, should a currently forested area be cleared or drop its leaves, its viewshed could be impacted.

Following is an example of visual impacts within the APE along Streeter Pond Road in Sugar Hill. The shaded area outlined in black represents the APE. Impacts within the APE range from 0-5 towers (white, yellow) through 40+ towers (burgundy) in leaf-on conditions. Visual impacts beyond the 1-mile APE certainly exist in given locations, but they are not shown on these maps.

Streeter Pond Road, Sugar Hill (detail from Sketch Map G, White Mountains PAF)

As well as the 31 host communities, within the one-mile APE are located an additional 16 towns that would be visually impacted: Andover, Boscawan, Colebrook, Dix's Grant, Epsom, Errol, Franconia, Jefferson, Landaff, Lisbon, Littleton, Nottingham, Plymouth, Salisbury, Sanbornton, Wentworth's Location.

For instance, on the map above, visual impacts extend into a "non-host" town, Franconia, on the east side of I-93 near the right-center of the map.

To see visual impacts on individual towns within the one-mile APE, click on the relevant Project Area Form link below and scroll down the Sketch Maps until you find your town, which may be represented on more than one map. Civic boundaries are not shown on these maps. You will need to know street and road names or other identifying features.

For a fuller preliminary idea of visual impacts, view both the specific Section 106 Sketch Map for your area plus the corresponding AMC fly over video.

Sect. 106 White Mountains Project Area Form. Sketch Maps for Bethlehem, Campton, Dalton, Easton, Franconia, Landaff, Lincoln, Lisbon, Sugar Hill, Thornton, Whitefield, Woodstock, (Littleton). Click here.

(Corresponding AMC fly over videos for Whitefield - Dalton - Lancaster, Sugar Hill - Bethlehem, Woodstock - Lincoln - Easton, Campton - Thornton.)

Sect. 106 Great North Woods Project Area Form. Sketch Maps for Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Dixville, Dix’s Grant, Colebrook, Wentworth’s Location, Errol, Millsfield, Dummer, Stark, Northumberland, Lancaster, (Jefferson). Click here.

(Corresponding AMC fly over videos for Dixsville - Stewartston - Clarksville - Pittsburg, Dummer - Millsfield, Northumberland - Stark.)

Sect. 106 Lakes Region Project Area Form. Sketch Maps for Plymouth, Holderness, Ashland, Bridgewater, New Hampton, Bristol, Sanbornton, Hill, Franklin, Andover, Northfield, Salisbury. Click here.

(Corresponding AMC fly over videos for Bristol - Bridgewater - New Hampton - Ashland - Holderness, Northfield - Franklin - Hill - New Hampton.)

Sect. 106 Merrimack Valley Project Area Form. Sketch Maps for Canterbury, Boscawen, Concord, Epsom, Pembroke, Allenstown, Nottingham, Deerfield. Click here.

(Corresponding AMC fly over videos for Concord - Canterbury, Deerfield - Allenstown - Pembroke.)

All PAF Sketch Maps and other Section 106-related materials linked to in this blog post are located on the  public "Consultations - Section 106" page, the public "Project Library Documents" page, or the public "Project Library Comments" page of the DOE's Northern Pass EIS site.


*NHDHR concurred with DOE's decision to limit the APE to 1 mile, but notes that it will adjust the APE if necessary to consider impacts on historical properties outside this area. (Northern Pass's lawyer, Maryanne Sullivan, Hogan Lovells, has commented on the APE here.) On June 19, 2015, the Forest Society and other stakeholders expressed dismay to NHDCR Commissioner Van McLeod over NHDHR's concurrence with the base 1-mile APE.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Standing Room Only for Northern Pass Opposition Information Meeting (June 7, 2015, Easton NH)

Easton Town Hall, Easton NH
(click photos to enlarge)

An audio transcript of the first hour of the meeting, with links to supporting written materials, is available at Brian Tilton's Northern Pass page.

News reports and photos:

Robert Blechl, "Northern Pass: Opponents Encouraged to Become Intervenors" (Caledonian Record, June 9).

Darin Wipperman, "Northern Pass Opponents Meet in Easton" (Littleton Courier, June 10).

Photos posted by Representative Leon Rideout (Coos -7) are here.
A capacity audience of approximately 130 people filled the Easton Town Hall to prepare for the next phase.


(Left) Will Abbott, Forest Society: "Put on your to-do list to write public comments to the DOE in response to the Draft EIS."
(Right) Jim Dannis, REAL: "If you intervene [at the SEC], you are at the table, just like Northern Pass is at the table.”

Bob Baker, REAL: "You've been so effective that Northern Pass has had to resort to spending an inordinate amount of capital on experts and consultants to help them create and sell the idea that the people of New Hampshire support them."
Nancy Martland, STOP: "Burying high voltage direct current transmission lines in New England is a practical solution to concerns about overhead lines."
Ken Kimball, AMC: "What is at risk here is extremely important relative to what the State of New Hampshire will look like in the near future."


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tower Town Attractions #1

Campton, Exit 28, I-93

On Northern Pass and Disclosure

Joey S Sweatt, NH & VT Broker/Realtor
ATTENTION ALL SELLERS!!!! If you have been contacted by Northern Pass in regards to your property, you are REQUIRED do disclose that to any and all potential buyers - whether you have given them permission to access your property or not. Even if this project is not currently 100% happening. THIS MUST BE DISCLOSED!!! I don't make the rules, I'm just required to make sure they are followed. Please don't kill the messenger:)


Tom Thomson, March 28, 2011

Before you decide if the Northern Pass is a good deal for our state and its citizens, think about this: during the next six or more years, if you happen to be in either the primary or secondary route or even in the “View Shed” of the proposed route, you and your Realtor now need to disclose the potential of this project should you consider selling your property. We all know what the recession has done to our real estate values; this will only drive it down further. If that’s not heart burn enough for you and your families, who in many cases have worked the land for generations, and you don’t want to sell out to this foreign company, you may not have any say. As they plan to take your land through “Eminent Domain” for the public good for those in MA, CT and beyond.


Andrew Smith, October 8, 2012

Sellers are also in a very difficult disclosure position. Both by State property disclosure requirements and by their desire to by honest and fair to potential Buyers they find that when they disclose the potential impact, Buyers stop being interested. The real estate market has already been greatly impacted by the down turn in the market, causing increased inventory and longer marketing periods. The added drag this is creating is impacting hundreds of property owners at the very worst time possible.

 Broker ad for property in Stark NH
"NOT located near proposed Northern Pass  or its view."



Thursday, May 28, 2015

The problem in NH isn't BANANAs

Reprinted by permission of the author.

"BANANA" is an acronym for "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone."

Arlinghaus wrong about NH vs. Mass.

To the Editor: Charles Arlinghaus wrote in his opinion piece that New Hampshire young people are rushing to Massachusetts for jobs since there are none here. Unfortunately, Mr. Arlinghaus didn’t include where he got his facts. I guess he didn’t check with to find that New Hampshire’s unemployment rate is less than Massachusetts’ rate, 3.9 to
4.8 to be precise. He also didn’t check U.S. Layoffs by State: April 2015 YTD. If he had, he would have seen that Massachusetts has had 1,255 layoffs while New Hampshire has had zero. Maybe Massachusetts youth should start flocking to New Hampshire for jobs.

Mr. Arlinghaus was wrong in his assumption that New Hampshire is in worse shape than Massachusetts when it comes to employment. He was also wrong when he blames everything on those who oppose the energy projects proposed by Eversource and Kinder Morgan. First of all, there is no guarantee that all the jobs that these corporations are promising would go to state residents. Northern Pass and Kinder Morgan never specifically made that promise. Second, Eversource has, up until this point, refused to discuss burial of the Northern Pass or the Seacoast upgrade projects. Much of the opposition to these two projects would immediately evaporate if they made those concessions.

No, New Hampshire is not being ruined by too many BANANAS. If you’re looking for someone to blame, look to Eversource and Kinder Morgan, not the people
who are trying to hold onto the jobs they do have, their property values and the safety of their families.



New Hampshire Union Leader 05/28/2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

MIA: Support for Northern Pass by Affected Communities

MIA: Local Support for Northern Pass
Both Governor Lynch and Governor Hassan have said that affected communities must support Northern Pass. Hydro-Quebec prides itself on favorable reception of its projects by host communities.

"This project cannot happen without local support." - Governor John Lynch (Jan 31, 2012), NHPR.

“Any proposal that they come forward with must be supported by the communities that are going to be affected. I think it is very important to take into consideration our scenic views and natural landscape because they are such valuable assets.” - Governor Maggie Hassan (Sep 5, 2012), NHPR.

"All of Hydro-Québec’s development projects must meet three criteria before they can proceed: they must be profitable, environmentally acceptable and favorably received by the host communities." Hydro-Quebec, a responsible company.

Opposition to Northern Pass by Affected Towns

  • 33 towns have passed warrant articles or taken other official votes or actions, including "sense of the meeting" votes, against Northern Pass as proposed.
  • At least 11 towns have intervened in the DOE Presidential Permit: Campton, Chichester, Clarksville, Colebrook, Columbia, Concord, Easton, Littleton, Plymouth, Sugar Hill, and Stewartstown.* 
  • 7 towns have written to Quebec Premier Charest and Hydro Quebec protesting Northern Pass:
    Campton, Easton, Landaff, Stewartstown, Stratford, Sugar Hill, and Woodstock.
  • At least 3 towns have established legal defense funds in opposition to Northern Pass: Easton, Sugar Hill, and Landaff.
  • Several towns have passed rights-based ordinances (RBO's) in response to Northern Pass.
  • 17 towns have requested consulting party status in the federal Section 106 historical review.
  • 29 towns have submitted scoping comments critical of the proposed route or design of the project: Campton, Easton, Holderness, Lincoln, Sugar Hill, Woodstock, Bristol, Clarksville, Concord, Deerfield, New Hampton, Pembroke, Pittsburg, Stewartstown, Whitefield, Bath, Campton, Chichester, Colebrook, Columbia, Dorchester, Easton, Franconia, Groton, Holderness, Landaff, Lincoln, Littleton, , Orford, Plymouth, Stratford, Sugar Hill, Sutton, Woodstock.
       *It is likely that additional towns have intervened. Towns that intervened by the initial deadline are listed separately. Towns that intervened after the deadline was extended must be hand culled from the nearly 8,000 scoping comments on the DOE's site for the Northern Pass EIS.

What ever happened to Northern Pass?

Published by the Littleton Courier, May 20, 2015.
Letter to the Editor
What ever happened to Northern Pass?

With the arrival of better weather, neighbors whom I haven’t seen all winter are out and about again. The other day, one of them asked me, “What ever happened to Northern Pass? Is it still around?”

At first the question stunned me. The media campaign of Northern Pass’s PR army seems ubiquitous. (NHPR recently reported that the project has been coached by the aggressive Saint Consulting Group, a nationwide PR agency that promotes itself as “winning controversial local, state and federal land use campaigns since 1983.”)

But as I thought about it, my neighbor’s question made sense. Over the fall and winter, the promotional efforts of Northern Pass (or its alter ego, Eversource) have focused on southern New Hampshire and on Coos County, not on our area, Grafton County. If you don’t follow the downstate daily papers, which carry frequent reports on Northern Pass, or the Coos weekly papers, you might well wonder whether Northern Pass is still around, still trying to build an overhead line in New Hampshire.

It is, unquestionably.
To the south of us, Eversource NH’s CEO Bill Quinlan recently made the rounds of editorial boards, energy conferences, and the like to promote Northern Pass to the business community and its allied chambers of commerce. Parent company Eversource sent executives from Hartford to participate in a press conference in Londonderry announcing new conservation grants funded by Northern Pass. Northern Pass representatives have met with the Concord City Council over the winter and spring.

To the north of us, Northern Pass (or Eversource) publicizes the local initiatives with which it hopes to win hearts and minds in Coos County – funding for a cell tower, broadband, a job creation program. At the recent annual dinner of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, the banner of Eversource, one of the “grand sponsors” of the event, was prominently displayed.
Here in Grafton County, Northern Pass and Eversource do not draw such overt attention to themselves, but the project has by no means gone away. We hear the rental helicopter flying low and slow over the PSNH (Eversource) ROW in our communities; we see the environmental and other contractors out on our roads; and we hear about the project’s quiet efforts to try to clean up “problems” with landowners in our area.

Northern Pass is definitely “still around,” and it will flare into high visibility when the Department of Energy (DOE) issues its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in June or July, followed soon after by the project’s filing an application with the state permitting authority, the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). The DEIS is not a permit; it is a preliminary statement of the DOE’s evaluation of the project’s various impacts. The DOE will take public comment about its statement before it decides whether or not to issue a Presidential Permit to allow the project to cross the international border. The SEC, which will make the critical decision whether or not to allow the project to actually build in New Hampshire, will also consider public comment.

However, neither the DOE nor the SEC will come to you directly and ask you what you think. There will be no public referendum in which you or your town votes Northern Pass up or down. Any warrant article that your town has already passed concerning Northern Pass is advisory, not binding. If you want your voice, or your town’s voice, to be heard, it’s easy enough, but you or your town must initiate the action with both the DOE and the SEC.
Now is the time for everyone who cares about Northern Pass and its impacts on our communities and state to act. This is your final chance to affect the outcome of Northern Pass.

Please join us on Sunday, June 7, 2015, at the Easton Town Hall, 1060 Easton Valley Road, Easton NH, from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM for an update on the project and information on how to have your say on Northern Pass. This event is organized by volunteer, grassroots opponents to the project, either as proposed or altogether. Speakers will include Will Abbott, VP Land Policy, Forest Society; Kenneth Kimball, Director of Research, Appalachian Mountain Club; Nancy Martland, Sugar Hill Tower Opponents; Bob Baker, Jim Dannis, and Susan Schibanoff, Responsible Energy Action LLC.

The event is free, open to the public. There will be time for a discussion Q&A period.
Contact if you would like to add your name to the mailing list for further updates and information.

Susan Schibanoff
Easton NH

Additional information about this meeting is posted here.

January 26, 2015. PSNH/Eversource ROW. White Mountains.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Opposition Info Meeting, June 7, 2015

Northern Pass Opposition
Information Meeting

An Opportunity to Learn How You Can Have a Voice in the Federal and State Permitting Processes to Begin this Summer!

Sunday, June 7, 2015
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Easton Town Hall
1060 Easton Valley Road (Rte. 116)
Easton NH 03580


Panel Presentations (3:30 PM - 4:30 PM)

Will Abbott, VP Policy/Reservation Stewardship, Forest Society
Kenneth Kimball, Director of Research, Appalachian Mountain Club
Bob Baker, Member, Responsible Energy Action LLC
Jim and Sandy Dannis, Members, Responsible Energy Action LLC
Nancy Martland, Coordinator, Sugar Hill Tower Opponents
Maggie Stier, Field Service Representative, NH Preservation Alliance,
will speak briefly on "Special Historic Places, Northern Pass and You."
2015 Advocacy Workshops in Five Locations.
Followed by
Discussion Period (4:30 PM - 5:30 PM)
Moderator: Susan Schibanoff, Member, Responsible Energy Action LLC

Please join us! 

Free. Open to the Public

Organized by an unaffiliated, volunteer, grassroots citizen group.

Read a related Letter to the Editor of the Littleton Courier here.

Read a related Letter to the Editor of the Concord Monitor here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

House of Representatives Roll Call Vote on HB 431

House of Representatives Roll Call Vote on HB 431
March 12, 2015
An act relative to the placement of all new electric transmission lines in New Hampshire
Prime Sponsor: Rep. Laurence Rappaport, Coos 1
Co-sponsors: Rep. Theberge, Coos 3; Rep. Ford, Graf 3; Rep. Suzanne Smith, Graf 8; Rep. Fothergill, Coos 1; Rep. Chandler, Carr 1; Rep. Duarte, Rock 2; Rep. Rideout, Coos 7; Sen. Forrester, Dist 2; Sen. Cataldo, Dist 6; Sen. Reagan, Dist 17; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21
Voting on: Inexpedient to Legislate
A "yea" vote was to kill the bill.
Coos and Grafton County votes are highlighted.
Click here to see voting results.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How Legislators Voted on HB 431 and HB 626

House Committee on Science, Technology, Energy
Executive Session
March 3, 2015 
HB 431, an act relative to the placement of all new electric transmission lines in New Hampshire.
HB 626, an act authorizing energy infrastructure development and designating energy infrastructure corridors.

Result of vote on "Inexpedient to Legislate" HB 431: 11-8 in favor of ITL

In favor of ITL:

Herbert Richardson, STE V. Chair (r) Coos 4
David Murotake (r) Hills 32
Jeanine Notter (r) Hills 21
Glen Aldrich (r) Belk 2
Carolyn Halstead (r) Hills 23
Douglas Thomas (r) Rock 5
Michael Vose (r) Rock 9
Jacqueline Cali-Pits (d) Rock 30
David Borden (d) Rock 24
Robert Backus (d) Hills 19
Suzanne Harvey (d) Hills 29

Opposed to ITL:

Robert Introne, STE Chair (r) Rock 5
James Devine, STE Clerk (r) Rock 4
Laurence Rappaport (r) Coos 1
James Parison (r) Hills 25
William Baber (d) Straf 14
Charles Townsend (d) Graf 11
Marjorie Sherpardson (d) Ches 10
Howard Moffett (d) Merr 9

Absent/not voting: Herbert Vadney (r) Belk 2; John Mann (d) Ches 2.

Speaking against HB 431: Richardson, Backus, Vose, Thomas, Cali-Pits, Halstead.

Speaking in favor of HB 431: Rappaport, Townsend, Baber.

Result of vote to RETAIN HB 626: 16 yea, 2 nay (Notter, Aldrich).

Absent/not voting: Vadney, Mann.

Speaking in favor of HB 626 RETAIN: Moffett.

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