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.




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