January 18, 2013

Taking a Stand Now Against Northern Pass

by Brad and Daryl Thompson
(The Thompsons recently agreed to donate a conservation easement on their 364 acres in Stewartstown to the Forest Society to help stymie the intended route of Northern Pass.)

The choice to grant an easement to the Forest Society was an easy one. We have been adamantly opposed to Northern Pass since first hearing of the project over two years ago.
We donated an easement on 366 acres, bordering Bear Rock Road and Noyes Road, to help block the Northern Pass project. The easement guarantees that no transmission corridors will cross our property, now or ever. We are not only concerned for our scenic views in the North Country, but are equally concerned for the rest of our state.

If we don’t take a stand now, more projects like Northern Pass will be proposed, and New Hampshire will be criss-crossed with power lines from north to south and east to west.

If we can play a small part in blocking this project, it will be well worth our efforts. We feel our property is more valuable with the easement - although Northern Pass is willing to pay many times what properties are actually worth, to see their project come to fruition.

Hydro-Quebec and Northeast Utilities’ initial – and ongoing - approach to this project is appalling. Obscene amounts of money are being offered to landowners. Agents for Northern Pass are strongly pursuing property owners, playing neighbor against neighbor, causing family divisions, putting friends and neighbors at odds.

Scare tactics are used to persuade people to sell out, or be left with a view of the towers, without compensation.

We are convinced that if New Hampshire residents understood all the problems with the project – they would join us in our fight. The promise of jobs and money is over exaggerated and temporary. However, these towers will scar our landscape forever.

How can we allow this? It’s hard to believe the State of New Hampshire didn’t stop this project in its infancy. Our new governor, Maggie Hassan, as well as our senators and representatives, need to hear from us.

We welcome the opportunity to support the Forest Society in their efforts to block Northern Pass, to protect the natural beauty of the North Country, the White Mountain National Forest, as well as the central and southern parts of our state.

We will continue to fight the battle against Northern Pass, Hydro-Quebec and Northeast Utilities. We hope our neighbors will also consider donating easements to the Forest Society. As these easements last in perpetuity, perhaps we can prevent this battle from having to be fought again and again, in different parts of our state, in the years to come.

Agreements Tie Up Another 500 Acres

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests signed and recorded options on additional parcels of land in Stewartstown that will further frustrate the ability of Northern Pass to bridge the gaps in their intended route for a 180-mile high-voltage transmission line through New Hampshire.

Brad and Daryl Thompson each signed options that would enable the Forest Society to acquire conservation easements on two parcels totaling 364 acres along Bear Rock Road. Northern Pass had acquired parcels to the east and west of the Thompson's land in a failed attempt to find a way around the Forest's Society's existing blocking action.

The Forest Society also signed and recorded an option to acquire a fee interest in an additional 153 acres in what is known as the Fred Williams Place, which abuts other lands the Forest Society has under agreement.

"The net result of these additional options is that we will have Northern Pass penned in," said Will Abbott, vice-president of policy and land management.

The Forest Society is continuing to raise funds to complete conservation easements on 1300 acres that block the intended route of Northern Pass. To date $1.25 million has been raised from more than 1,200 donors representing 191 New Hampshire towns and 26 states across the country.