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:

September 1, 2013

Wouldn't you like to know? ( We would.)

There are many unanswered questions in the wake of the Northern Pass announcement of a proposed route for a private transmission line through 187 miles of New Hampshire.

1. The proposed Northern Pass transmission line would be for the exclusive use of Hydro-Quebec to export electricity from Canada and is not needed today. Why should New Hampshire sacrifice its landscape to benefit a Canadian government-controlled corporation? How much will project partner Northeast Utilities profit each year if this project were built?

2. Given that Hydro Quebec has agreed to underground a similar line in Vermont and New York, why not here? Given the billions of dollars Hydro Quebec would make from this private transmission line, why shouldn't they pay what it costs to bury such a line in New Hampshire? Is our landscape not worth it?

3. Why can’t this additional power from Quebec be brought in on the existing transmission line that already runs to Massachusetts through New Hampshire?

4. Is there a guarantee that all energy transmitted on a Northern Pass line would be renewable? Can Northern Pass guarantee the carbon reductions they claim? Will PSNH be closing its own fossil-fueled facilities?

5. Northern Pass as proposed will need to cross privately owned conserved land to be built. Without landowner permission, how does Northern Pass LLC propose to use eminent domain when state law and the constitution forbid it?

6. Does Northern Pass LLC believe it can use any public road in the state to bury its private transmission line? If so, why shouldn't they be required to bury the entire line along transportation corridors, including through Concord?

7. Northern Pass proposes to erect towers--- as high as 150 feet --- in rights of way acquired for distribution lines for New Hampshire consumers. Why should the State of New Hampshire allow a private transmission line to diminish private property values as far as these higher towers can be seen?

8. Northern Pass is still suggesting the use of the Connecticut Headwaters Conservation Easement as an “alternate route". Why, after State leaders have told them this should be off the table, does Northern Pass keep serving this as an alternative? Do they not respect the legal status of conserved lands?

9. PSNH, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, has been pushing for Northern Pass despite the damage that would be inflicted by erecting more than 2200 new transmission towers across 187 miles of our state. Why have they sold out New Hampshire?

The City of Concord will have more area (and landowners) impacted from Northern Pass than any other community, which has prompted city officials to request that the line be buried.

Northern Pass will be holding an open house in Concord Wed. Sept. 4 at the Holiday Inn on North Main St. 5:30-7:30. We encourage local landowners and residents to attend and ask these questions and more.

You Own the Land. We own the land. We all own the landscape.