Editorial in published June 1, Concord Montior My Turn
by Susan Schibanoff
My Turn: Want your say on Northern Pass? Speak now
A recent letter to the editor (“A Cleaner Concord,” Monitor, May 2) urges readers to “please vote no on the Northern Pass coming to Concord unless they bury it.” The writer does not explain when or where this vote would take place, or whether there will be a statewide referendum on the project.
There won’t be. Neither you nor your town will have the opportunity to vote Northern Pass up or down. Nor will your elected representatives in the Legislature say “yea” or “nay” to Northern Pass on your behalf. The governor won’t decide either, at least not directly. Two agencies, one federal and one state, control the fate of Northern Pass, not the voters. The Department of Energy will decide whether to grant the project a Presidential Permit to cross the international border; the state Site Evaluation Committee will make the critical decision whether to permit the project to actually be built in New Hampshire, and, if so, how and where.
The DOE is expected to issue its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Northern Pass this month or next. The DEIS is not a permit; it is a preliminary statement of the DOE’s evaluation of the project’s various impacts. Soon after the DEIS is made public, project sponsors have said they will file an application with the state permitting authority, the SEC.
The DOE will take public comment about the DEIS before it decides whether to issue a Presidential Permit. The SEC will also consider the public’s views.
But neither the DOE nor the SEC will come to you directly and ask you what you think. If you want your voice, or your town’s voice, to be heard, it’s easy enough, but you or your town must initiate the action with both the DOE and the SEC.
The time is drawing near for everyone who cares about Northern Pass and its impacts on our communities and state to act. This is your final chance to affect the outcome of this project.