Sunday, October 12, 2014

Northern Pass and eminent domain: on the record

As the time for deciding the fate of HB 648 drew near in 2011, PSNH increasingly stressed that NPT did not plan to use eminent domain, anticipated no need for it, etc.

However, NPT's statements of record on the matter told a different story. Three such statements occur in the Transmission Service Agreement filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in December 2010. All three leave the door open for eminent domain proceedings, and the last outright predicts its use.

Statement #1:

In addition, the expansion of existing ROW, and the acquisition of approximately 50 miles of new ROW may, as a last resort, trigger the need to exercise the power of eminent domain in order to achieve that expansion and acquisition.

Statement #2:

Additional delays in the already lengthy and complex process of siting a line can result from public opposition where new ROW needs to be acquired. If a negotiated settlement for property acquisition cannot be reached, eminent domain proceedings may be necessary.

Statement #3:

Approvals needed from the NH PUC

Approval of Owner's condemnation of all land rights needed to
create transmission right-of-way and to acquire other properties
necessary to construct, operate and maintain the project facilities
(post-siting approvals) (NH RSA § 371:1)