1. Ask your City Councilor to advocate burial of Northern Pass in Concord.
Concord has appointed a sub-committee to study and make recommendations about Northern Pass to the full Council. It consists of Ward 8 Councilor Gail Matson, Ward 9 Councilor Candace Bouchard, Ward 10 Councilor Dan St. Hilaire, and at-large Councilor Mark Coen. The sub-committee could recommend a stance on Northern Pass to the larger Council, and sometime within the next 30 days, the full Council may decide what position to take on the project, including the request that it be buried through the City.
Contrary to the popular perception that the adverse visual effects of Northern Pass are confined to the North Country, Concord would face a greater visual impact than any other community on the proposed route. The line would run close to residences, schools, daycares as well.
If you live in Concord, please watch this short video and ask your Councilor to support undergrounding Northern Pass. This is an optional, for-profit transmission project that stands to make billions over its 40-year life; there is no reason Concord or anywhere else in NH should be permanently scarred for the profit of a Quebec crown corporation and Ever$ource shareholders. Northern Pass is not needed to keep the lights on; the regional regulator has not called for this line. If it is to be built at all, it should be buried. Share the link with you neighbors and ask them to act too. If you do not live in Concord but know people who do, please forward the link and ask them to contact their councilors soon.
You may also want to watch the AMC’s overview of visual impacts on Concord and Canterbury based on tower heights published by Northern Pass as of October 2013:
2. Ask NH conservation organizations to just say NO to NFWF-E$ grants. (Deadline for next round of applications is May 14.)
As you have heard, Ever$ource has made $3 million available for a “Partners” conservation grant program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (nfwf.org). The initial grants centered on cottontail and trout habitat have been announced. In the next round of awards, $1 million will be handed out in grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 apiece. A minimum of $300,000 is earmarked for New Hampshire projects, with a special focus on high elevation habitat and Bicknell’s Thrush, a threatened species that breeds in the harsh upper ranges of our White Mountains as well as in a few other locations in northern New England.
Some NH conservation organizations have made internal decisions neither to apply for nor to accept these grants; others are worried that Ever$ource is attempting to divide the NH conservation community with the lure of grant money. Still others may be applying for NFWF-E$ grants, although we have not heard of any.
If you have connections to NH conservation organizations as a donor, member, or via some other relationship, please contact them and tell them you support their just saying NO to NFWF-Ever$ource money. The deadline for 2015 applications to NFWF is May 14.
3. Urge the NH Site Evaluation Committee to adopt new rules to protect the public interest.
A dedicated group of Northern Pass opponents and NH Wind Watch members has been working tirelessly to shape new “rules” (specific standards and criteria) that protect the public rather than only favor industry in the SEC siting process. The whole purpose of the SEC overhaul was to re-balance the process to give the people some say. To date, industry continues to dominate the rule making process. Please read the following LTE by Kris Pastoriza, which is being submitted to NH newspapers this weekend, and add your voice to the call for fairness in making new SEC rules. You must make specific recommendations, addressed to David Wiesner or Jane Murray (contact info following), such as the adoption of setbacks for transmission lines to prevent dwellings in the tower “fall zone” or the adoptions of wider areas of consideration for visual impacts.
Although it is possible that legislation will extend the deadline to conclude the rule-making process until November 1, the deadline as of now is July 1.
Time is running out to make changes to the rules that are at the heart of siting energy projects in NH.
To the residents of New Hampshire,
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, which is the permitting board for energy projects, is in the process of revising its siting criteria. Last year four public input groups engaged in extensive research and discussion on Orderly Development, Wildlife and Natural Communities, Aesthetics, and Health and Safety. In August they submitted siting recommendations to the SEC. Most of these recommendations were ignored in favor of recommendations submitted by energy corporations, and this whittling down of protections continues.
In a recent public meeting the Committee made a preliminary decision not to require any setbacks for transmission lines. This was the “standard” suggested by industry. Many states and countries require setbacks to keep dwellings outside the “fall zone” of towers as well as safe from levels of electromagnetic radiation that have been correlated with childhood leukemia. California, for example, requires that schools be at least 100’ from the edge of a right-of-way of a 115kV transmission line, such as that behind Profile School, Bethlehem. The public Health and Safety workgroup recommended such setbacks, but the SEC declined to set any criteria.
The Committee has also made preliminary decisions to limit the area considered for visual effects of transmission lines and wind turbines to that proposed by industry, to limit consideration of local zoning and master plans and to severely limit decommissioning requirements.
Throughout this Rulesmaking process the SEC has consistently ignored public input in favor of the suggestions of the industrial wind and transmission corporations. Two lawyers, representing Eversource/Northern Pass and Kinder-Morgan, are former SEC members, and have been intimately involved in the earlier public input groups as well as the ongoing Rules revisions.
The present SEC members are still unclear as to whether they will even require project developers to have legal control of their site and route before submitting an application the SEC.
Public comment is still being received. To see the Draft Rules go to:
The Rulesmaking docket is at:
Comments (with the subject line “Rulesmaking”) can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com