November 15, 2012

Burial is an Viable Option Says Draft SB361 Report

According to the draft report of the SB361 Commission, "testimony suggests that underground transmission facilities on appropriate state transportation rights of way may be technically and financially competitive with other transmission designs and locations."

The SB361 Commission was established by the legislature to identify the feasibility of using state-owned transportation corridors for energy infrastructure and, if the commission finds the use of transportation corridors feasible for such use, shall specify which corridors are most appropriate for specific utility infrastructures.

The Commission issued a draft report on Oct. 31, 2012, and subsequently held public hearings to gather input about the draft. At a hearing on Nov. 14, 2012, the Forest Society, along with the Appalachian Mountain Club, Conservation Law Foundation, Conservation New Hampshire and The Nature Conservancy (New Hampshire Chapter) offered a joint letter commenting on the draft. The letter commends the Commission for identifying four existing highway corridors that may serve future energy infrastructure needs, and for identifying key issues that it did not have time to research.

The letter also urged the Commission to consider including additional recommendations, including:
  • Requiring the NH Dept. of Transportation prepare a report identifying which, if any, of the state-owned rail corridors could be added to the list of highway corridors as potentially viable for energy facilities.
  • Amend the Site Evaluation Committee statute to require elective transmission developers to propose an underground alternative if it is proposing to build new overhead transmission lines.
  • Recommend that a task force be appointed by the Governor to continue the research the Commission has begun, specifically to answer the six bulleted items on page five of the draft.

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