November 5, 2013

Forest Society Calls on DOE to Suspend Northern Pass Permitting Process

In her most recent comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement, Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley called on the Department of Energy to suspend the permitting process.

"We believe that the Department should suspend the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process until the Applicant can establish that it has secured the legal rights to utilize the preferred and alternative routes," Difley wrote. "It would be a profound misapplication of the core principle of NEPA --- to assure that the public interest is served by the consideration of least damaging environmental alternatives --- if DOE itself enables continued consideration of the Applicant’s preferred or alternative corridors when neither can stand legally."

"The Amended Proposal preferred corridor proposes to bury 7 plus miles of the transmission facility in two separate segments in northern Coos County. These two underground segments are proposed for the sole reason that there is no other way for the project to connect its other 180 miles of overhead structures.The first underground segment of 2300 feet in the towns of Pittsburg and Clarksville includes approximately 500 feet of distance through land we own in Clarksville, land which presently hosts a right-of-way for US Route 3.This right-of-way was acquired in 1941, jointly by the towns of Pittsburg, Clarksville and Stewartstown for the purpose of hosting a road for public transportation purposes.It is our view that using our otherwise unencumbered land for a private electric transmission facility represents an additional servitude on our land that can only occur with our consent.Without our consent Northern Pass can only acquire this interest in real estate through eminent domain. 

"Given that the New Hampshire Constitution precludes such use of eminent domain by private developers; given that the New Hampshire Legislature has legislatively precluded Northern Pass from using eminent domain to complete its project;and, given that the Forest Society has not consented to the proposed use of this land in Clarksville for the Northern Pass project, we conclude that the Northern Pass proposal relying on our Clarksville land is fatally flawed. The assertion by
Northern Pass that it can simply override our private property rights raises significant constitutional issues.

"The Amended Proposal includes a second segment of 7 plus miles of underground transmission facilities along state and town roads in Clarksville and Stewartstown.The applicant submitted this proposal without consulting the State Department of Transportation, either of the local town governing bodies or the several landowners who actually own the land to the centerline of each of the roads included in the proposal.The Applicant asserts that this project is in the public interest, yet it fails to communicate with the public that will be most impacted by its amended proposal.We believe the DOE should not countenance such an encroachment on public and private property rights by allowing consideration of this “preferred” corridor.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.