April 5, 2013

Closing in on Northern Pass

The Forest Society is on the verge of completing another conservation easement in northern New Hampshire that would close off another potential route for Northern Pass. The Lewis family easement will be on 300 acres in Columbia, NH, just south of the already-protected Balsams. The Lewis land abuts a parcel acquired by Northern Pass, and the easement will prevent the proposed powerline from squeezing between the Balsams and Nash Stream State Forest. A map showing showing the location can be seen here.

"We're closing in having the funding necessary to close the Lewis easement," said Susanne Kibler-Hacker, VP for Development at the Forest Society. Donors have made more than 3,000 gifts since the Trees Not Towers campaign was launched last August, yielding $1.9 million to help stop Northern Pass as proposed. Donations can be made online here.

Last August the Forest Society announced that it had signed agreements with four landowners to put conservation easements on more than 1,000 acres that are strategically placed to prevent Northern Pass from using its intended route, thus sparing 180 miles of New Hampshire from 1,100 unnecessary and unsightly private transmission towers. Since then the Forest Society has signed agreements with another dozen landowners, and has completed conservation easements on more than 1,500 strategic acres over the past several months.

Northern Pass had said that they would announce their route by the end of March ( read the brief NHPR report)but did not. Similarly, they had promised to announce their route by the end of 2012, as reported by the Concord Monitor. They had also made representations that they would have a route by the end of September 2012, by August 2012, and the fourth quarter of 2011.

"Without eminent domain, Northern Pass cannot complete its intended route," reiterated Jane Difley, president/forester. "We believe our ongoing efforts will make it impossible for them to find any viable overhead route through northern New Hampshire. Our goal is compel Hydro-Quebec, Northeast Utilities and PSNH to make use of alternatives such as burial of the transmission line along transportation corridors. If Hydro-Quebec wants to export electricity to the southern New England market, they should be required to do so in a responsible manner."

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