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.

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