November 14, 2013

Analysts Talk Turkey on Northern Pass

The following was published by Washington Analysis, a financial analyis firm in DC, offering an opinion on Northeast Utilities' optimistic view of their Northern Pass project:

Northeast Utilities' Northern Pass: The Neverending Story [NU]

by Rob Rains [202-756-4431] and Tim VandenBerg [202-756-7714] -- We caution investors that Northeast Utilities' (NU-$42) Northern Pass transmission project, which would  transport 1,200 megawatts (MW) of hydro power supplied by Hydro-Québec from Canada into New England, likely faces significant delays and cost increases.  The New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE) forecasts that, due to the retirement of more than 8,000 MW of generation, including Entergy's (ETR-$63) Vermont Yankee, the region will need 6,000 MW of generation by 2020 to replace it.  Coal consumption is rapidly decreasing in the region, with only six plants remaining, and if replacement power is not supplied by hydro then it will likely come from natural gas.

Regulatory hurdles and substantial political headwinds will likely prevent the project from going into service before 2018, at the earliest with delays until 2019-2020 very possible as well.  We simply disagree with Northeast Utilities' past statement that it expects Northern Pass to be in service in 2017 and that it will receive state siting approval in 2015. 

We also expect the firm to succumb to overwhelming political pressure from Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), and state lawmakers calling for them to bury more of the project underground in the northernmost portion of the state, beginning in Pittsburg and traveling through Coos County.  This will significantly increase the already $1.4 billion price tag of the project and the time to completion.  We note that Northeast Utilities' revised proposal, which called for burying just 7.5 miles of the 187-mile project underground, raised costs by more than 16%.  Although 147 miles of Northern Pass will be built on existing rights of way, the most contested portion of the project is a stretch beginning in Pittsburg near the Canadian border and making its way through Coos County and further south.  Residents are upset because an above ground transmission line would necessitate 100-150-foot towers that would obstruct residents' scenic views.  Political opposition is strong and bipartisan and we think the company will ultimately need to bury this stretch of the line in order to appease residents and move the project forward.

Delays and continued uncertainty should be viewed as a positive for natural gas fuel usage in the region, which already supplies 53% of the electricity to New England, even though transportation constraints during winter months remain an issue.  Hydro generation accounts for about 8% of net electricity generation in New England, but transmission remains a huge concern and natural gas pipelines could fill this need in lieu of this resource.  We note that from 2013-2016, New England will be bringing 1,193 MW of capacity online, and 50% of it will be natural gas, with 35% from wind. 

In addition to a lengthy review time for a presidential permit, approval from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (NHSEC) is also needed.  Northeast Utilities expects this process to take one year to complete, but we think it will take at least two years from the time of submission. 

Additional points for investors to consider include the following:

·        After more than two years, last week the DOE closed its comment period on the scope of an eventual draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that  is unlikely to be published before late Q2 2014.  While the DOE received just ~5,600 comments, it has demonstrated a heightened sensitivity to the politics of this proposal, as evidenced by leaving the scoping comment period open for more than two years.

·        After the draft EIS is published, DOE will commence a 60-90 day comment period, and will likely hold at least one hearing (possibly more) within the state.  Earlier scoping hearings were very well attended, and the prevailing feedback was negative, increasing the uncertainty over the project's future.

·        A final EIS is unlikely before Q1 2015 and triggers an up-to 90-day interagency review process among federal agencies.  At this point, Secretary Ernest Moniz could make a decision sometime in 2H 2015, or else Q1 2016.  Given opposition to the project, this decision will likely be appealed in federal court, further increasing the uncertainty about the project's federal permits.

·        At the state level, Northeast Utilities may submit its application for NHSEC review with only the draft EIS.  This will be equal in importance to the DOE review, but it is less certain due to its structure. 

·        The NHSEC is a 15-member body of officials that work for other state agencies and convene for specific proposals.  Its statutory underpinning calls for decisions on projects within nine months, but this has routinely been surpassed for far smaller projects within the state with much less political headwind.  We believe that it will most likely be at least two years before the NHSEC approves Northern Pass from the date the application is submitted, which we expect by Q3 2014. In light of landowner and stakeholder opposition, an NHSEC decision is almost certain to be followed by requests for rehearing and then by appeals to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which could easily take more than a year. 

·        Although NHSEC approves the project itself, it has no authority to exercise eminent domain.  We view this as material because there is a persistent legal question about whether or not Northeast Utilities must purchase any additional rights of way to fully complete construction.  We note that the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is likely to challenge this assertion in state court, fueling uncertainty about the completion of this project.

·        Unlike interstate natural gas pipelines that NHSEC has reviewed in the past, which carry federal eminent domain authority, this is not an option for Northern Pass.  The New Hampshire legislature closed that option in 2012 specifically for non-reliability projects like this. 

·        New Hampshire politicians, including Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) and Sen. Ayotte (R), oppose the project in its current state and have called for additional miles of the line to be buried underground.  We view the political pressure in the state as likely to force the company to bury more of the project to secure approval by the NHSEC.  The recent announcement of the 150-mile 1,000 MW TDI Blackstone (BX-$27) transmission line that will be buried under Lake Champlain has fueled the belief by many within the Granite state that Northeast Utilities can and should bury Northern Pass.

·        Once completed, the project will transport 1,200 MW, or more than 8% of New England's current electricity supply, of predominantly hydroelectric power, under a 40-year agreement with Hydro-Québec.

·        Recent plant shutdowns totaling more than 8,000 MW and the need for 6,000 MW of replacement power should drive additional natural gas consumption within the region.  We note that closures like Dominion's (D-$66) Salem Harbor-coal (740 MW), Brayton Point (1,500 MW), and Entergy's Vermont Yankee (640 MW) are all in the works.

Additional information is available upon request.

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Tel:  202/659-8030     Fax:  202/463-5137



November 7, 2013

Gamechanger: Is Northern Pass Obsolete?

As reported by a variety of sources, including AP reporter Wilson Ring, a New York company is proposing to build a 1,000MW transmission line to bring power from Hydro-Quebec to New England via Vermont. Unlike the 1200MW Northern Pass proposal, the $1.2 billion "New England Clean Power Link" would be placed under water and underground.
Given that the Vermont proposal would bring the same energy to the same market at a comparable price in a similar time frame, it would seem that Northern Pass will find it difficult to make a case for an overhead line that has met fierce public opposition.
"I would say Northern Pass is obsolete and I would add that it is politically untenable," Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests spokesman Jack Savage said. PSNH's only hope to hold onto a transmission project now would be to go underground using transportation corridors, he said.
"Northern Pass missed their window of opportunity ... because they have been fixated on existing right-of-ways...They have as much chance of building an overhead (transmission project) as the St. Louis Cardinals do of winning a game 7," he added.
Kathryn Marchocki's  story in the Union Leader can be read here:
Wilson Ring's AP story:
Montpelier--A New York company announced Thursday it hopes to build a 150-mile power line from the Canadian border under Lake Champlain and then across Vermont to the town of Ludlow where it would plug into the New England electric grid.
The $1.2 billion New England Clean Power Link line could carry up to 1,000 megawatts of Canadian hydro-electricity, enough to supply about 1 million homes, said Donald Jessome, president of TDI New England.
TDI New England is a subsidiary of the New York based investment giant Blackstone Group, which would provide funding for the project. Jessome said he expected it would take five years to complete the regulatory process and construction. The company hopes to begin transmitting power in 2019.
You can read the rest of the AP story here:

November 5, 2013

Forest Society Calls on DOE to Suspend Northern Pass Permitting Process

In her most recent comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement, Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley called on the Department of Energy to suspend the permitting process.

"We believe that the Department should suspend the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process until the Applicant can establish that it has secured the legal rights to utilize the preferred and alternative routes," Difley wrote. "It would be a profound misapplication of the core principle of NEPA --- to assure that the public interest is served by the consideration of least damaging environmental alternatives --- if DOE itself enables continued consideration of the Applicant’s preferred or alternative corridors when neither can stand legally."

"The Amended Proposal preferred corridor proposes to bury 7 plus miles of the transmission facility in two separate segments in northern Coos County. These two underground segments are proposed for the sole reason that there is no other way for the project to connect its other 180 miles of overhead structures.The first underground segment of 2300 feet in the towns of Pittsburg and Clarksville includes approximately 500 feet of distance through land we own in Clarksville, land which presently hosts a right-of-way for US Route 3.This right-of-way was acquired in 1941, jointly by the towns of Pittsburg, Clarksville and Stewartstown for the purpose of hosting a road for public transportation purposes.It is our view that using our otherwise unencumbered land for a private electric transmission facility represents an additional servitude on our land that can only occur with our consent.Without our consent Northern Pass can only acquire this interest in real estate through eminent domain. 

"Given that the New Hampshire Constitution precludes such use of eminent domain by private developers; given that the New Hampshire Legislature has legislatively precluded Northern Pass from using eminent domain to complete its project;and, given that the Forest Society has not consented to the proposed use of this land in Clarksville for the Northern Pass project, we conclude that the Northern Pass proposal relying on our Clarksville land is fatally flawed. The assertion by
Northern Pass that it can simply override our private property rights raises significant constitutional issues.

"The Amended Proposal includes a second segment of 7 plus miles of underground transmission facilities along state and town roads in Clarksville and Stewartstown.The applicant submitted this proposal without consulting the State Department of Transportation, either of the local town governing bodies or the several landowners who actually own the land to the centerline of each of the roads included in the proposal.The Applicant asserts that this project is in the public interest, yet it fails to communicate with the public that will be most impacted by its amended proposal.We believe the DOE should not countenance such an encroachment on public and private property rights by allowing consideration of this “preferred” corridor.



November 4, 2013

98% of DOE Comment Cards Oppose Northern Pass

The Forest Society submitted comment cards to the Department of Energy today from a total of 2,159 different landowners representing 138 different towns in New Hampshire and several states. Of those, 2123, or 98 percent, express opposition to the proposed overhead transmission line. The balance, 36, or 2 percent, expressed support for Northern Pass.

Each of the cards is addressed to the Department of Energy expressing opposition to Northern Pass. Each card includes the name and address of the person, and their reasons for objecting to Northern Pass. The Forest Society sent the cards to the DOE, as well as tabulated results.

Of those who expressed opposition to Northern Pass, 45 percent said that they opposed it in any form while 48 percent indicated that they could support an alternate route buried along appropriate transportation corridors or that used the existing Hydro Quebec corridor from Canada to Massachusetts.

The respondents also indicated one or more reasons they opposed Northern Pass. Of those, "Impacts on our scenic landscape, tourism and our New Hampshire way of life" and "Impacts on the White Mountain National Forest and other conserved lands" topped the list with 86 percent and 85 percent respectively. Seventy-two percent indicated "The use of eminent domain against private landowners",  followed by "Impact on my land, including property values" at 53%.

The Forest Society believes the voice and will of the people matter when it comes to decision-making and permitting. We have asked the DOE to include as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) some measure of the overwhelming objection to Northern Pass as proposed, and some measure of what the impact would be if a permit were granted despite those overwhelming public objections. Though there is no binding popular vote on Northern Pass, public opinions need to count and be acknowledged in the EIS.

The primary purpose of a Presidential Permit is to make a determination that a project crossing an international border actually serves the public interest. The Forest Society believes the DOE should consider, based on public input, a conclusion that the public interest will not be served by granting a Presidential Permit for this project as proposed.  If the DOE reaches such a conclusion, it should reject the application and cease any further work on the EIS.

November 2, 2013

Underground Vermont Proposal May Bury Northern Pass

Union Leader reporter Kathryn Marchocki reports here about a new proposal to bury--under Lake Champlain and underground--a 150-mile, 1000MW transmission line that could make the Northern Pass proposal redundant.

Like Northern Pass, the so-called "New England Clean Power Link" would transmit electricity from Hydro-Quebec to Ludlow, VT, where it would enter the New England grid. (There are many who seriously question the description of the large-scale hydropower facilities as "clean", and typically there is no guarantee that power transmitted on such lines will always be hydropower.)

Northern Pass has consistently argued that burying such a line would be cost prohibitive, and that it's own overhead transmission line was the only economic alternative for those who see benefit in allowing Hydro-Quebec to export more large scale hydropower to the southern New England market. The new proposal adds to the growing evidence that burial of transmission lines is not only possible, but that there are transmission developers actively seeking to permit and complete the projects based on current projections.

Given that Northern Pass's lack of legal access to its preferred route, the growing political demand for an underground alternative along transportation corridors, the need for Special Use Permits to use the White Mountain National Forest, and the overwhelming public opposition to Northern Pass's overhead proposal and the determination to fight as long as it takes, it would seem that the underground proposal in Vermont has a far greater likelihood of success, even at this early stage.

October 25, 2013

AMC Birds-Eye Video of Proposed Northern Pass Towers

Using Northern Pass's own projected tower locations and tower heights, the Appalachian Mountain Club created a series of flyover videos showing the visual impact of the proposed overhead towers. For their part  Northern Pass objected to the AMC's visual representation. Of course Northern Pass has also been telling those who live near the proposed transmission line that they will "pay to put up awnings" or "plant 100-foot  trees" to block views of the towers, somehow missing the point that abutters want their view unspoiled, not blocked. As an aside, successfully re-planting a 100-foot mature Eastern White Pine successfully is a somewhat ludicrous idea.

It's also worth noting that former PSNH CEO Gary Long, in touting Northern Pass, has said that  in his case he "likes to look at towers." So maybe the disagreement isn't so much about how many towers can be seen from where but whether or not they are appropriate structures in places like the White Mountain National Forest and other conserved lands.

"Northern Pass’s June 2013 preferred route for the northernmost 74 miles is of great concern to our organization and many others who value northern New Hampshire’s character and rugged beauty," the AMC said. "The AMC is conducting a new visual impact analysis of the half-mile range along the full Northern Pass corridor and we provide the video series depicting the visual impact of proposed transmission towers along the 186-mile route."

October 24, 2013

Sen. Ayotte Says Northern Pass Should Pay to Bury Lines

According to a story on NHPR by Chris Jensen that can be read or heard here, Senator Kelly Ayotte say she has serious reservation about Northern Pass as proposed and that the transmission lines should be buried instead of being overhead on towers.

“I know there have been other projects around the country that have been buried and if they could bury the lines here that would be the most appropriate thing to do,” she said.

October 15, 2013

NEPGA: DOE Should Suspend Northern Pass Application

Sandi Hennequin, vice president of the New England Power Generators Association, writes in teh Union Leader that the Department of Energy should suspend the Northern Pass Presidential Permit Application from further consideration. She writes:

The amended application Northern Pass filed last summer is not complete. The project doesn’t have necessary site control. It does not even offer a feasible alternative if it does not obtain site control of its preferred route. The pending application misrepresents the project’s likely impacts, uses outdated and inaccurate data and fails to provide necessary information.

 The piece can be read in full here.

September 27, 2013

Forest Society Asks DOE to Reject Northern Pass Based on Public Input

Forest Society Asks DOE to Reject Northern Pass Application Based on Public Input

Overwhelming Opposition Shows Project is Not In Public Interest

"Time for DOE to declare Northern Pass DOA"

Concord --In the wake of the overwhelming public opposition expressed this week regarding the  proposed Northern Pass transmission project, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) called on the Department of Energy (DOE)  to reject the Presidential Permit application.

"The primary purpose of a Presidential Permit is to make a determination that a project crossing an international border actually serves the public interest," testified Jack Savage, vp for communications, at the last of four scoping hearings held by the DOE in Colebrook. "A strong argument can be made today that based on these hearings there has been a overwhelming expression by the public that it is not in their interest. We believe the DOE should consider, based on public input, a conclusion that the public interest will not be served by granting a Presidential Permit for this project as proposed.  If the DOE reaches such a conclusion, it should reject the application and cease any further work on the EIS."

"In a democratic society, the opinions of the people affected by government action, such as a Presidential Permit or WMNF Special Use permit, should count for something," Savage said. "The DOE should declare the Northern Pass application DOA," he concluded.

An estimated 2000 people attended four public hearings held this week in Concord, Plymouth, Whitefield and Colebrook, the vast majority of whom indicated their opposition to the project by wearing orange. A total of 223 people spoke at the hearings, with 188 speaking in opposition to Northern Pass and 35 in favor, a 5-1 margin.

Savage also delivered to the DOE 1,100 cards addressed to the DOE from people in 115 different towns all expressing their opposition to Northern Pass. 

"We believe the voice and will of the people matter  when it comes to decision-making and permitting," said Savage in presenting the cards. "Though there is no binding popular vote on Northern Pass, our opinions need to count and be acknowledged in the Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass.

"To be fair, we also received cards from those who support Northern Pass. Their opinions matter, too. For the record, there are 22," Savage said, presenting those cards as well. "That's a a 50-1 margin against Northern Pass, by the way."

"It's clear the outcome of these hearings is no different that two and a half years ago, when New Hampshire citizens made it clear at similar hearings that Northern Pass was not in the public interest and is not needed or wanted," Savage said. "They are back to square one."

Comments at 9.26.2013 DOE Scoping Hearing, Colebrook, NH,  from Society for the Protection of NH Forests, Jack Savage, VP Communications/Outreach

Good evening, Mr. Mills and Mr. Wagner. Thank you for listening this week.

My name is Jack Savage. I have the privilege of serving as the VP for Communications and Outreach for The Society for the Protection of NH Forests. As you know, the Forest Society filed as an intervener in opposition to the original Northern Pass application, and we remain opposed to the Northern Pass application as amended. On Monday we additionally suggested that the DOE thoroughly study multiple alternatives that would completely bury the Northern Pass transmission line.

You may have observed this past week that New Hampshire residents and landowners value our landscape and the economy it supports. In fact, you might even say we’re a little crazy about it. Our collective passion for the mountains, lakes, rivers and views where we live has been on display.

We believe the voice and will of the people matter  when it comes to decision-making and permitting. We would ask you to include as part of the EIS some measure of the overwhelming objection to Northern Pass as proposed, and some measure of what the impact would be if a permit were granted despite those overwhelming public objections. Though there is no binding popular vote on Northern Pass, our opinions need to count and be acknowledged in the EIS.

To that end, I bring to you tonight 1100 cards from residents and landowners from across New Hampshire, all addressed to the Department of Energy expressing opposition to Northern Pass. Each card includes the name and address of the person, and their reasons for objecting to Northern Pass.

We also received cards from those who support Northern Pass. Their opinions matter too, and so I bring to you tonight those cards, as well. For the record, there are 22.

In a democratic society, the opinions of the people affected by government action, such as a Presidential Permit or WMNF Special Use permit, should count for something. We ask to make sure that the EIS for Northern Pass, and this permitting process, does exactly that.

In a democratic society, the opinions of the people affected by government action, such as a Presidential Permit or WMNF Special Use permit, should count for something. We ask to make sure that the EIS for Northern Pass, and this permitting process, does exactly that.

The primary purpose of a Presidential Permit is to make a determination that a project crossing an international border actually serves the public interest.  A strong argument can be made today that based on these hearings there has been a strong expression by the public that it is not in their interest. We believe the DOE should consider, based on public input, a conclusion that the public interest will not be served by granting a Presidential Permit for this project as proposed.  If the DOE reaches such a conclusion, it should reject the application and cease any further work on the EIS.

The DOE should declare Northern Pass application DOA.

Thank you.



September 26, 2013

Whitefield Scoping Hearing Comments: Northern Pass is like putting warts on the Mona Lisa

An estimated 350 people filled the hall at the Mountain View Grand Wednesday night, Sept. 25, in Whitefield, NH, for the 3rd of 4 Dept of Energy Scoping Hearings about the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Northern Pass transmission line. Very few supporters of the project were in evidence.

There were 58 speakers, including 11 elected officials. 55 of those speakers expressed opposition to Northern Pass, while three (one elected official, Mayor Paul Grenier of Berlin) expressed support. Interestingly, those in support equivocated to a certain degree, noting the need for a closer look at the claimed tax benefits over the long-term, or acknowledging the possiblity that more of the proposed line should be buried.

DOE and White Mountain National Forest representatives heard from many local officials, including Executive Councilor Ray Burton, state reps, selectmen, conservation commission members and school board representatives. Each presented concerns worthy of examination as part of the EIS.

But what was truly extraordinary was the depth and breadth of the views opposing Northern Pass. As local Howard Mitz observed, he had never seen this many people in the area turn out for anything. His estimate was that there were 450 people present, and he asked the DOE to "listen to the 447 who don't want Northern Pass."

What follows is are abbreviated snippets of many of the speakers. Eventually, full transcripts of their comments will be available on the DOE website. But this should give a flavor of the points of view at the hearing.

John Jones of North Sutton
I'm not a rocket scientist, I'm a working man, but the good news is that Northern Pass is a no brainer. Like putting warts on the Mona Lisa.

Doug Evelyn of Sugar Hill These towers challenge the church steeples and town halls of our intimate built landscape. We are the doormat of HQs market
Ray Burton
Full project should be buried period.
It time for this project, HQ and PSNH to fold their tent and go home.

Mayor of Berlin Paul Grenier
He is in support of Northern Pass.
But:  The stability of this tax revenue is of concern to all of us, and he asked the DOE to consider this.

Ed Betz of Whitefield
Why can NY state and HQ bury 300 miles of transmission line and its not economical in NH?
e and HQ bury 300 miles of transmission line and its not economical in NH?
Rep.Sue Ford from Easton among other towns
I believe NP should have to prove that they have a clear legal path before their application is accepted.
Pretending that they have the right to use public roads is a joke.
Stop the project now. This application doesn't pass muster.
Rep. Rebecca Brown of Sugar Hill
Rebecca is a member of the board of the North Country Council, which opposes Northern Pass as proposed, and represents the Ammonusuc Conservation Trust, which also opposes as proposed.
" In Coos County, the land and people are our greatest asset. I ask that DOE to consider the no build option, as well as option to bury the line." 
Evelyn Merrick of Landaff
It should not be the responsibility of NH citizens or the DOE to underwrite a project to prop up a failing PSNH.
Jim Dannis of Dalton
When they tell you they can't afford to bury the line , it's a lie
Linda Upham-Bornstein
It is apropos that this scoping hearing is being held at a hotel that markets and Celebrates the landscape this project will permanently scar
Susan Schibanoff of Easton
Points out DOE has already created EIS for similar projects using same corridor through WMNF and concluded it was not appropriate. Let's not reinvent a wheel that already has a flat tire
Nancy Martland of Sugar Hill
This project is not a line on a map from impoundment in Quebec to $ signs in CT. Real people will suffer real damage.
Becky Weeks More of Lancaster
The towers and lines would degrade both the view and the learning experience of Weeks State Park.

Former FERC economist Eliot Wessler
This project represents massive imbalance between those who would benefit and those who would bear the costs. NP has boxed themselves in to a bad deal with HQ. The project should be frozen until NP gets serious about estimating costs of burying the line.
Katie Rose
As she did so memorably 2 1/2 years ago, singer/songwriter Katie Rose again took the opportunity to comment by singing her protest song (clip) about Northern Pass. For a full rendition of the song, click Live Free or Die.

John Mumley of Whitefield expressed his opinion about Northern Pass with a simple sign.
Roy Stever, Chair of Easton Conservation Commission
Stever said Northern Pass, specifically Martin Murry, agreed to meet in  with the Easton Conservation Commission in August, but then cancelled when they realized meeting would be open to public. "NP is a private profit-laden insult to the citizens of Easton," he said.
Frank Lombardy, a lifelong resident of Whitefield
Northern Pass undermines our existing power producers. Local wood chip power plants are already struggling.
Ronnie Sandler of Easton
Nothing Northern Pass tells us passes the straight face test.
Doug Eason of Dover
Wouldn't be surprised if HQ spray painted towers green and tried to convince us they were a new species of tree. If NP doesn't know how to use google to search for alternatives Ill show them how to do it.
David Atkinson
 Exressed support for Northern Pass, but said he wore orange ut respect for friends who oppose NP. Supports project, but says more could be buried. Need to compromise.
Al Boutlier
Aso supports Northern Pass because of the jobs he thinks it will bring.
Robert Craden, Former Selectman in Easton
Opposes Northern Pass. Believes the application should be rejected for failure to include alternatives.
Paul Haflinger Of Lancaster
Said he is a former executive of a Fortune 500 company, and that those opposed to Northern Pass should stop talking about PSNH. The dog   is in Conn. They
 are not nice people; they just want the money.
Jan Edick o Littleton
The project must compensate landowners for loss of property values. Part of the real
 cost. If real costs are included, HQ and NP might find burial along appropriate corridors more attractive.
Andy Smith, Real Estate professional in Franconia
NP not is not only having a very negative impact on real estate sales, its having it right now, today.
Just concept of NP is driving away potential buyers.
Julie Feeley
Speaking on behalf of profile jr/sr high school board. Athletic fields in shadow of towers and lines. Prudent avoidance of health risks to school kids requires burial near the school.
David Hill
Pilot from Lancaster. NP as proposed threatens planned expansion of local airport in Whitefield.

Art Hammond, Teacher from Whitefield
We have three buried pipelines in NH. If we can bury pipelines, we can bury power lines.
Marghie Seymour Selectperson from Littleton
NP proposed route arguments are either absurd or illegal. Littleton voted against NP two years in a row, will again if need be.
Hawk Metheny
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
DOE, WMNF should look closely at conflicting statements on what exactly is the public need for NP.




September 25, 2013

Overwhelming Opposition Among 600 at Plymouth DOE Hearing

The Silver Center in Plymouth, site of the second of four DOE EIS Scoping Hearings for the proposed Northern Pass transmission project, was packed with some 600 people on Tuesday night. The crowd was overwhelmingly opposed to Northern Pass, with anti-NP speakers outnumbering the few pro-NP speakers six-to-one (48-8). As one wag put it, "the only thing Northern Pass had more of is lies." Five of the pro-NP speakers were from Franklin, NH.
You can read the Union Leader's coverage by Dan Seufert here. Chris Jensen's NHPR report can be read and heard here.
The Concord Monitor ran a couple of interesting op-ed pieces relevant to Northern Pass. Jan Edick's piece, "Is PSNH on the Wrong Side of History" can be read  here, and Roy Stever's piece about Northern Pass's poor outreach effort can be read here. There's also a piece by IBEW member Tiler Eaton, who estimates that it would cost $2.4 billion to bury Northern Pass completely, compared to $1.4 billion for the proposed overhead option. So now we know the value of New Hampshire's landscape, and it seems like a bargain. 
Some 600 packed the Silver Center in Plymouth, nearly all of whom opposed Northern Pass.

September 24, 2013

DOE Hearing Comments, Concord, NH

Concord Scoping Hearing Comments

Colin Novick, Massachusetts resident

My name is Colin Novick. I am not an abutter. My position is not based on personal financial impacts.

 I am from Massachusetts. My parents brought me to New Hampshire annually. I return to New Hampshire annually. Now I bring my children here. I proposed to my wife on a New Hampshire mountain summit, and I drove 2 hours to be here to speak tonight.

This project supposedly benefits Southern New England. As a resident of Southern New England I am here to speak out in opposition to the Northern Pass. I do not want this project or this electricity. We Southern New Englanders come to New Hampshire for the beauty.

 The Department of Energy Presidential Permit requires the determination of the Public Good.

Where is the Public Good?

This is a private project, to generate private profits, benefiting private investors. All of the costs for this private good are borne by the public. Property owners pay. The Tourism Industry pays. Environmental habitats are compromised. The Citizens of the United States, through our collective beloved White Mountain National Forest, pay.

This is not a Public Good, but is a private benefit that the public pays for.

 I buy 100% renewable energy for my house and for my business. Industrial hydroelectric production is NOT considered a renewable energy source. I speak as a consumer. This is not green energy. The market does not view it as green energy.

 Moreover, in terms of energy production this project is of the past. Energy production is going to be decentralized in the future with power production generated in smaller amounts from within the grid. The future of energy production is a Smart Grid, with small scale wind, and solar, and biomass which is locally produced, more resilient, and more secure. This is a project of the past. We should not be building a project of the past for the future.

 Thank you very much.

Paula Bedard - Goffstown, NH (vacation property owner in Thornton, NH, along ROW, Rt 175)

My husband and I  oppose the Northern Pass Transmission project for the following reasons:

We oppose the scarring of New Hampshire's landscapes by the construction of new, and the expansion of existing, towers and transmission lines that will forever our ruin scenic landscapes.
The beauty of our scenic vistas is one of the most valuable resources that we have in our state. This should be fiercely protected.

We hike, we bike, we ski, and we snowshoe. It’s beautiful here and we’d like to keep it that way.
Once the corridor exists, we believe that over time, just as we are seeing now, that corridor will be expanded upon, widened, and will destroy more and more views.

I’d also like to point out, and make sure that people are aware, that the state of New Hampshire currently exports a lot more energy than it actually uses. Why then, would we even consider such a massive and devastating proposal that would forever leave our state scarred, simply so that Hydro-Quebec, which is by the way, a foreign company, can sell more power to states like Massachusetts,  Connecticut, and New York?

We also do not support entities like Hydro-Quebec, who are built on the premise of damming up wild rivers and creating a huge environmental disturbances.  This is not green energy. We oppose Hydro-Quebec.
We don’t believe that New Hampshire should bear the burden of this proposed project so that states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York can benefit from the energy being transmitted to them.

We'd also like you to know that we are one of many property owners who currently abut the existing PSNH ROW in “the lower 140”. We own a vacation property that currently looks over the existing 40-foot tall wooden poles that support the existing lines. WE PURCHASED THIS PROPERTY SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE OF THE VIEW OF THE MOUNTAINS.  That view will be destroyed by the 135-foot (or even higher) massive metal towers that are likely to be installed. These towers would exist directly in the path of our current view of the mountains -- no thank you!

Do I even really need to say that we are opposed to the dramatic decrease in our property value that we have already been subject to because of the Northern Pass project? 

(This is the real deal. This is what real people are facing with the prospect of this project. )

I’d also like you to know that I stand here before you as someone who is currently unemployed and job hunting, so I fully understand the value of adding more jobs to our economy. However, just because a project adds jobs, that does not mean that that project  is a good thing for our state. Many of the jobs proposed by the Northern Pass project are temporary, and there are no guarantees that any of them, the permanent ones, or the temporary ones, will go to New Hampshire residents.

It is more important to us to protect the nature beauty of New Hampshire’s landscapes than to “sell out” for what is supposedly approximately 1200 jobs. And not all of these are even permanent jobs.

Comments from Elaine Kellerman, Concord, NH

My name is Elaine Kellerman and I moved to Concord six years ago, September 2007. I didn't move here because of a job or because of family. I moved here because New Hampshire is a beautiful state and I wanted to call this place home instead of a vacation destination. I am not yet a homeowner, although I want to be. In searching for a home, I have become very familiar with the Northern Pass website, especially the "In My Town" section. If I am interested in a house for sale which is in a town impacted by Northern Pass, I immediately check to see how close the house is to the power line cut-through. I won't even look at a house within a mile of the power lines. If the house is in an elevated area, it has to be even further removed since from higher up, the towers and lines will b visible for miles. Now these towers aren't even built yet and thy're scaring me away. I guess the Northern Pass people didn't take people like me into consideration when they did their studies about property values. I would never buy a house near these proposed towers because I wouldn't want to try to resell this house after the towers are constructed. I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. Those towers will diminish the value of any property with a view of them.

Honestly, when the leading industry in this state is tourism, I cannot grasp why anyone living here would be supportive of this project. Trust me, visitors don't come to New Hampshire to look at 110-foot-tall towers. They come to see our beautiful mountain vistas. If Northern Pass comes to fruition, it will be like performing open heart surgery on this state. It will leave a permanent, visible scar down the center of New Hampshire. Concord will have an excellent view of the damage. Just one example: Turtletown Pond Recreation Area off of Oak Hill Road will have towers up to 109 feet bordering the southern edge of the pond. So anyone wanting to snap a photo of that area had better do so before construction begins. I don't think you are going to like the image nearly as much once the towers are in place.

September 13, 2013

Your Chance to be Heard! DOE Hearings Sept 23-26

The Forest Society urges you to attend one of the official hearings the U.S. Department of Energy will hold the week of Sept. 23 regarding the proposed Northern Pass transmission line that threatens New Hampshire. It’s important for everyone who cares about our state’s scenic landscapes, private property rights and conserved lands to make their voices heard on this issue by attending one of these hearings.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will hold four public scoping hearings in New Hampshire concerning their intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern Pass (NP) project. They will be held on four consecutive days, September 23-26 in Concord, Plymouth, Whitefield and Colebrook. We urge you to attend.

1. Monday September 23: Concord, Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave., Monday, 6-9 p.m.
2. Tuesday, September 24: Plymouth,  Plymouth State University, Silver Center for the Arts, Hanaway Theater, 17 High St., 5-8 p.m.
3. Wednesday, September 25: Whitefield, Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, Presidential Room, 101 Mountain View Rd., 5-8 p.m.
4. Thursday, September 26: Colebrook, Colebrook Elementary School Gymnasium, 27 Dumont St., 5-8 p.m.

It’s no secret the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests opposes Northern Pass as proposed. We believe the more than 1,500 towers spread across 180 miles above the natural tree line will permanently scar New Hampshire’s landscape and will bring few real benefits to the state.

Large majorities of landowners in the 31 communities directly affected by Northern Pass agree that Northern Pass is not good for their communities or for our state. The purpose of these DOE hearings is to get public input on what should be included in a required study (Environmental Impact Study, or EIS) about the likely impacts of the proposed Northern Pass transmission line. Similar hearings were held a couple of years ago. This is your opportunity to let the DOE know what you think should be considered as they contemplate issuing the Presidential Permit that would be required for the proposed line to cross the Canadian border.

The EIS will also be used by the US Forest Service to decide whether to grant Northern Pass a Special Use Permit for this private transmission line to be constructed through more than 10 miles of the White Mountain National Forest. As one of the organizations that helped create the WMNF a century ago, we believe Northern Pass should not be allowed to insert itself onto conserved lands for corporate gain.

Northern Pass LLC has failed to consider any alternative to their desire for antiquated overhead transmission lines. We will be joining other voices in the state who are insisting that other viable alternatives—such as burial along transportation corridors or the use of the existing corridor that crosses through New Hampshire—be considered. Other states are making it clear to transmission developers that new transmission lines shall make use of the latest technology, and New Hampshire should not let itself host the last overhead transmission line ever built.

How to Comment

If you want to provide comments at one of the sessions, e-mail Brian Mills at DOE at and provide your name and contact information and the date of the meeting at which you wish to speak.

You may also submit written comments to the DOE on or before November 5, 2013
or by regular mail to:

Brian Mills
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20)
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW.
Washington, DC 20585

For the complete Federal Register Notice go to:

For the complete amended Northern Pass application filed July 1, 2013 with the DOE
for a Presidential Permit go to:

To view Northern Pass maps of the new preferred alternative’s tower locations
and sizes by community go to: