Category Archives: Protecting our Environment

Environmental Concerns About the TPP

As the TPP negotiations continue to wind their way through the legal and legislative system, many of the environmental concerns expressed have largely gone ignored or stayed out of the mainstream of the public’s awareness.  This course of action; of not informing the public or politicians giving people tacit assurances, happened with the NAFTA agreement in the 90’s.  The NAFTA agreement allowed companies to avoid environmental regulation by moving their operations to out of country localities in Mexico that bordered their US market.

In the 90’s, Republicans made little effort to hide this fact and often blamed the over regulatory environmentalist lobby for moving companies out of the United States.  People bought this line and thus the NAFTA trade agreement moved through Congress and became law.  But now after many years the environmental damage of NAFTA is now a generally undisputed fact, even though most people are not aware of the extent of pollution that effects every living creature within its wake.

Now we have a public much wiser to consider the ramifications of these open trade agreements. Most people realize that these agreement enable mutli-national corporations to fatten their pockets while doing sometimes irreversible damage to our vital natural resources.  Mexico and South America has suffered with polluted water ways and land, habitat of humans and animals is constantly threatened and even our own planetary breathing apparatus; forests, are being stripped away permanently for the hardwoods they contain (many taking hundreds of years to grow).

The Citarum River, the biggest river in West Java, Indonesia provides drinking, cleaning and ... / Credits: Reuters

Here are some studies on NAFTA’s affect on environmental regulation and the environment as a result:

NAFTA : 20 Years of Costs to the Community and the Environment

Public Citizen: NAFTA’s Broken Promises, 1994-2013

Multinational Monitor – 1993 – NAFTA and the Environment: Free Trade and the Politics of Toxic Waste

New Report Reveals Environmental Costs of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 2014

According to a short summary from the National Geographic, a leaked copy of the draft TPP already shows the extent to which business interests have trumped preserving the health of people and the planet.   Check out their resport, 4 Ways Green Groups Say Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Hurt Environment

The environmental group 360.org has a petition up based on the very specific and disconcerting charge that the TPP will put into law the ability of fossil fuel producers to sue town, city and state governments that impose environmentally conscious rules or ordinances aimed and cutting fossil fuel consumption.  This of course is translated in market speak as “if climate action hurts their profits”.  In other words, the profits of global corporations matter more than our planet staying alive.  In addition, fossil fuel companies have managed to negotiate that the government should prevent environmental oversight of fracked gas imports.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/06/12/3669269/pelosi-bashes-fast-track/

Friends of the Earth also points up a couple other troubling areas about the TPP’s possible effects on the environment.

effectively banning the regulation of chemicals used in food production such as pesticides and other compounds and enabling rules and proofs (such as cost-benefit analysis requirements before regulation could be put in place –effectively placing profit before the health of the planet and people) that regulation would not hurt the company’s bottom line.

changes in how regulatory bodies enforce rules in the treaty also effect the ability of any enforcement at all; provide for the ability to corporations to sue municipal bodies for attempts at regulation that slow down their profit stream.  The sweeping of this change is the proposal to install international regulatory bodies that would supersede the authority of United States courts.  This basically would mean that international “tribunals” would come together to install their own regulatory mechanisms and they would only have to follow the lowest-common denominator for the standard to putting in place environmental regulation in the first place.

Public Citizen, a washington watch-dog group also points up the extensive intellectual property protections inserted into the trade agreement. These protections, written by and for global corporations, would mandate the international recognition of genetic patents on living things such as plants and animal life.  This would enable corporations to place ‘ownership’ on living organisms, allow them to create and modify living organisms as they please and allow their marketing worldwide.  This threatens the integrity of our international food supply and most seriously threatens the natural practice of sustainable farming and creates a frightening dependency on corporate commercial power for our food supply.  No group of individuals or corporations should have the ability to control the food supply globally, but this trade agreement will do just.

Already American farmers have suffered the bullying tactics of Monsanto and other seed companies in an obvious strategy to create a captive market for their seed product.  While Monsanto currently uses the court system as a means to force monopoly of their product, the TPP will in fact put into law what they now must fight case by case in court.

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Representation of what the Northern Pass would do to the White Mountains. From steveswhitemountainblog.com

News and notices from Bury Northern Pass:

Concerned About the Northern Pass Project’s Impact on Historic Resources and Scenic Landscapes?

 Critical steps for public input in federal and state review processes for the proposed Northern Pass project are imminent. Now is the time to learn more about how you can speak up for historic resources and scenic landscapes. 

Attend an Advocacy Workshops in June

Special Historic Places, Northern Pass and You

Presented by the N.H. Preservation Alliance and National Trust for Historic Preservation 

with presenters:

Rebecca Harris, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Maggie Stier, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance

and special guests from the

N.H. Division of Historical Resources

To Learn More and get dates and times of these workshops go to NH Preservation Alliance, News and Events

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Vermont Underground Power Line Project Passes with Overwhelming Resident Support

VT buried project kicks butt (there’s no better way to say it)
Just one year after Blackstone -TDI’s New England Clean Power Link filed for a presidential permit, the DOE has issued the Draft EIS, which is mostly favorable. NECPL is an entirely underground HVDC transmission project that will run  from the Quebec border 100 miles under Lake Champlain, then 55 miles across VT buried in highway ROWs. It has generated virtually no opposition; indeed, it enjoys community support. The unprecedented speed with which the Draft EIS was issued shows what happens when developers design projects with community concerns in mind, not in spite of them. NECPL is also about halfway through the VT state permitting process.
This project garnered a mere dozen scoping comments v. nearly 8,000, overwhelmingly negative, for NP. The Draft EIS took only a year v. the nearly 5 years that NP’s will have taken when it is finally issued. By one opposition member’s count, NECPL’s total lobbyist expenses are approximately $2,500 while Northern Pass lobbyist expenses just for the year 2014 alone totaled approximately $250,000, not to mention the enormous sums spent on expensive NH and nationwide PR consulting firms, e.g., Scott Tranchemontagne’s Montagne Communications, Erik Taylor’s Elevare, Saint Consulting Group, TargetPoint Consulting, and others.
Selected quotes from the NECPL Draft EIS:
Following construction, the transmission cable would not affect use of the recreation facilities in the Overland Segment, because it would be buried underground in road and railroad ROWs. No permanent aboveground facilities would be constructed along this segment of the proposed Project route that would affect recreational resources. (5-63)
 
Operation of the Project would pose no risk to public health and safety because most of the cable would be buried underground. (5-64)
 
Because the Project would be buried, no long-term impacts to property values would be expected. (5-36)
 
Because the Project would be buried, no long-term impacts to residential property values would be expected. (5-37)
The next step in NECPL’s Draft EIS process is the 60-day hearing and comment phase. Public hearings are on July 15-16, with final written comments due on August 11.
The Draft EIS is posted at http://necplinkeis.com/?page_id=10
News reports:
Union Leader: Dave Solomon,  “Vermont hydro project ‘leapfrogs’ Northern Pass” – http://www.unionleader.com/section/news05#sthash.vnE2Jbb2.dpuf (Read comments on this one.)
Burlington Free Press: Wilson Ring, “Minor harm to lake from power lines.” http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/vermont/2015/06/04/feds-report-champlain-power-project/28501673/
VT Digger: Morgan True,” Environmental study sees little problem with cable under Lake Champlain,” https://vtdigger.org/2015/06/03/environmental-study-sees-little-problem-with-cable-under-lake-champlain/
VPR: Taylor Dobbs,”Transmission Line Under Lake Would Have Minor Environmental Impact,” http://digital.vpr.net/post/study-transmission-line-under-lake-would-have-minor-environmental-impact

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Want Your Say On Northern Pass? Speak Now.

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.
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ACTION ALERT: SAVE IMPORTANT MOUNT SUNAPEE FORESTS AND TRAILS!

urgentAfter a nearly seven year battle the Mount Sunapee ski resort in Newport, New Hampshire is inching very close to approval for an expansion that will wipe out important old-growth forests and related wildlife and important hiking trails in the area.

Your action is needed now to stop what will amount to a complete decimation of one half of Mount Sunapee’s forest area by the resort adding an entirely new skiing area complete with a base lodge, a new lift, new trails, a parking lot and even plans to approve the building of condos.

From the Sierra Club email correspondence:

Take Action Now

Mt. Sunapee State Park is the jewel in the crown of New Hampshire’s State Park system where people can explore, enjoy, and protect the natural wonders of our forests. The nearby Pillsbury-Sunapee Highlands Corridor connects the park with over 30,000 acres the Sierra Club included as one of the 52 exceptional wild places in the country. The park, however, may change forever.

black bear cub

Send a letter to protect Mt Sunapee State Park.

The NH Dept. of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) has drafted a decision that will allow ski expansion into an area designated by the NH Natural Heritage Bureau as an exemplary natural forest with trees over 150 years old. The proposed ski lift and trails would bisect the area despite its “high ecological value” and rarity. Further, the proposal will disrupt the Summit Trail in several places.

The public comment period ends on June 5th – send your letter today!

A group Friends of Mount Sunapee along with the New Hampshire Sierra Club have diligently and determinedly fought this battle but now they need your help!  The state commissioner for the New Hampshire park system has the power to either approve or disapprove this deal.  Commissioner Rose has given a temporary approval of the expansion but he has allowed for a comment period to hear from concerned citizens.

Friends of Mount Sunapee Change.org petition: Protect Mount Sunapee State Park: Say ‘No’ to Private Resort Expansion

Everyone can comment, you don’t have to be a New Hampshire citizen just someone who is concerned about human destruction of precious forests and habitat.  Mount Sunapee Resort has had a long campaign of pressuring employees and their “guests” (customers) to put in their comments, so we need plenty of concerned folks to chime in as well.

Please read go to the link of the Friends of Mount Sunapee website or at the Sierra Club website petition page and put in your comments.  NOTE: YOU MUST PUT “I OPPOSE” OR SIMILAR VERBIAGE IN THE BEGINNING OF YOUR FIRST SENTENCE OR YOUR COMMENT WILL BE DISCARDED OR COUNTED AS SUPPORTING — THESE ARE CONSIDERED AND COUNTED LIKE BALLOTS. 

The commissioner will be counting the pro and the con ballots and this will have some weight on whether he decides to approve this expansion.  There exist many reasons why this should not be approved, please read up!

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WA-PO Exposes Direct Campaign by Energy Companies to Battle Solar Growth

From the Washington Post, an indepth look at the way in which the electric energy giants have begun to team up with the fossil fuels industry to block renewable energy.  In particular, they have started attacking home-installed solar energy systems.  The article is from March of this year, but relevant still today.

Many legislators in the state of New Hampshire have been fed lies by the energy industry, in particular PSNH and now Eversource lobbyists about the supposed negative effects of individual, off-grid power systems.  Reader take note: once agin its clear that industry has no concern about the effects of green house gases, no concern about the effects of grid dependence, especially the effects of dependence on an ever aging grid.  No, industry’s only concern, as always is profit generation and if they have to punish citizens and block sensible, progressive policy, they will do it.

Also, what most people, in particular libertarians fail to understand is that most government agencies have become portals through which industry uses government to ensure their profit streams do not get interrupted.  Rubber-stamp agencies like New Hampshire’s PUC are filled with political appointees often poorly qualified for their job and industry hacks — former employees, lobbyists, subcontractors or executives of industry.

The article is telling in its exposure of how completely co-opted our regulatory system has become and how as common sense dictates, but seemingly cannot be repeated enough, capitalist enterprise works for the good of profit not for the good of people. Any benefit to the public good that arises out of the pursuit of profit, especially when conducted by huge authoritarian corporations, comes purely as a byproduct or an accident of their operations.  Twisting government to serve themselves at the expense of the public good has become the modus operandi since even before the 19th century.

h/t to Bury Northern Pass

Read on:


Utilities Wage Campaign Against Rooftop Solar

By Joby Warrick March 7

Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.

SolarCraft workers install solar panels on the roof of a home in San Rafael, Calif. According to a report by the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employs more workers than the coal-mining industry. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from “declining retail sales” and a “loss of customers” to “potential obsolescence,” according to a presentation prepared for the group. “Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,” it said.

The warning, delivered to a private meeting of the utility industry’s main trade association, became a call to arms for electricity providers in nearly every corner of the nation. Three years later, the industry and its fossil-fuel supporters are waging a determined campaign to stop a home-solar insurgency that is rattling the boardrooms of the country’s government-regulated electric monopolies.

The campaign’s first phase—an industry push for state laws raising prices for solar customers—failed spectacularly in legislatures around the country, due in part to surprisingly strong support for solar energy from conservatives and evangelicals in traditionally “red states.” But more recently, the battle has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a more successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers.

[Solar energy’s new best friend is . . . the Christian Coalition]

In a closely watched case last month, an Arizona utility voted to impose a monthly surcharge of about $50 for “net metering,” a common practice that allows solar customers to earn credit for the surplus electricity they provide to the electric grid. Net metering makes home solar affordable by sharply lowering electric bills to offset the $10,000 to $30,000 cost of rooftop panels.

A Wisconsin utilities commission approved a similar surcharge for solar users last year, and a New Mexico regulator also is considering raising fees. In some states, industry officials have enlisted the help of minority groups in arguing that solar panels hurt the poor by driving up electricity rates for everyone else.
Utility companies take on solar power View Graphic

“The utilities are fighting tooth and nail,” said Scott Peterson, director of the Checks and Balances Project, a Virginia nonprofit that investigates lobbyists’ ties to regulatory agencies. Peterson, who has tracked the industry’s two-year legislative fight, said the pivot to public utility commissions moves the battle to friendlier terrain for utilities. The commissions, usually made up of political appointees, “have enormous power, and no one really watches them,” Peterson said.

Industry officials say they support their customers’ right to generate electricity on their own property, but they say rooftop solar’s new popularity is creating a serious cost imbalance. While homeowners with solar panels usually see dramatic reductions in their electric bills, they still rely on the grid for electricity at night and on cloudy days. The utility collects less revenue, even though the infrastructure costs — from expensive power plants to transmission lines and maintenance crews — remain the same.

Ultimately, someone pays those costs, said David K. Owens, an executive vice president for Edison Electric Institute, the trade association that represents the nation’s investor-owned utilities.

“It’s not about profits; it’s about protecting customers,” said Owens, said. “There are unreasonable cost shifts that do occur [with solar]. There is a grid that everyone relies on, and you have to pay for that grid and pay for that infrastructure.”

Nearly 174,000 people work in the solar industry compared with close to 80,000 in the coal industry. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Whether home-solar systems add significant costs to electric grids is the subject of intense debate. A Louisiana study last month concluded that solar roofs had resulted in cost shifts of more than $2 million that must be borne by Louisiana customers who lack solar panels. That study was immediately disputed by clean energy groups that pointed to extensive ties between the report’s authors and the fossil-fuel lobby.

Other studies commissioned by state regulators in Nevada and Mississippi found that any costs are generally outweighed by benefits. For one thing, researchers found, the excess energy generated by solar panels helps reduce the strain on electric grids on summer days when demand soars and utilities are forced to buy additional power at high rates. Other experts note that the shift to solar energy is helping states meet new federal requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also producing thousands of new jobs. The residential solar industry currently employs about 174,000 people nationwide, or twice as many as the number of coal miners.

“Independent studies show that distributed solar benefits all ratepayers by preventing the need to build new, expensive power plants or transmission lines,” said Matthew Kasper, a fellow at the Energy & Policy Institute, a pro-solar think tank. “Utilities make their money by building big, new infrastructure projects and then sending ratepayers the bill, which is exactly why utilities want to eliminate solar.”
Solar-panel costs plunge

Residential solar panels have been widely available since the 1970s, but advances in the past decade have transformed home solar energy in many areas from an expensive novelty to a cost-competitive alternative to traditional power.

The average price of photovoltaic cells has plummeted 60 percent since 2010, thanks to lower production costs and more-efficient designs. Solar’s share of global energy production is climbing steadily, and a study last week by researchers from Cambridge University concluded that photovoltaics will soon be able to out-compete fossil fuels, even if oil prices drop to as low as $10 a barrel.

To read the rest of this article go to Washington Post Utilities Wage Campaign Against Rooftop Solar

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Fast-Track: An Undemocratic Path to Unfair “Trade”

As promised we bring you some more opinion and analysis on the Fast-Track push by Obama for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.  From the blog of the group Public Citizen:

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Fast Track

An Undemocratic Path to Unfair “Trade”

President Obama is asking Congress to delegate to him extreme Fast Track authority to railroad into place job-killing trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

ALERT! A Fast Track bill has recently been introduced. Click here for the full analysis.

Fast Track was an extreme and rarely-used procedure initially created by President Richard Nixon to get around public debate and congressional oversight. Fast Track is how we got into the job-killing, wage-flattening North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Thanks to Fast Track, NAFTA and the WTO included terms that promote the offshoring of U.S. jobs to low-wage countries.

Fast Track also empowered executive branch officials advised by large corporations to skirt Congress and the public and use secretive “trade” agreements to roll back a wide range of non-trade policies on which our families rely for safe food, a clean environment, affordable medicines, financial stability and more.

Fast Track set up a system of more than 500 official corporate U.S. trade advisors who have access to secret trade agreement texts and who have set the “U.S.” trade agenda whether we have Democratic or Republican presidents.

Fast Track is such an extreme power grab that in the past 21 years Congress has only allowed it to go into effect for five years total. Why? Because under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to write the laws and set trade policy. For 200 years, these key checks and balances helped ensure that no one branch of government had too much power. But, starting with Nixon, presidents have tried to seize those congressional powers using the Fast Track mechanism. hide

Fast Track has only been used 16 times in the history of our nation, often to enact the most controversial of “trade” pacts, such as the NAFTA and the establishment of the WTO. Meanwhile, hundreds of less controversial U.S. trade agreements have been implemented without resort to Fast Track, showing that the extraordinary procedure is not needed to approve trade agreements.

Fast Track allowed the executive branch to unilaterally select partner countries for “trade” pacts, decide the agreements’ contents, and then negotiate and sign the agreements – all before Congress had a vote on the matter! Normal congressional committee processes were forbidden, meaning that the executive branch was empowered to write lengthy legislation on its own with no review or amendments. These executive-authored bills altered wide swaths of U.S. law unrelated to trade – food safety, immigration visas, energy policy, medicine patents and more – to conform our domestic policies to each agreement’s requirements. And, remarkably, Fast Track let the executive branch control Congress’ voting schedule. Unlike any other legislation, both the House and Senate were required to vote on a Fast Tracked trade agreement within 90 days of the White House submitting it. No floor amendments were allowed and debate was limited.

Because Fast Track’s dramatic shift in the balance of powers between branches of the U.S. government occurred via an arcane procedural mechanism, it obtained little scrutiny – until recently. Its use by Democratic and Republican presidents alike to seize Congress’ constitutional prerogatives, “diplomatically legislate” non-trade policy, and preempt state policy, has made it increasingly controversial.

A president cannot obtain Fast Track empowerment without a vote of Congress. President Clinton, renowned for trade expansion, only had Fast Track authority for two of his eight years in office due to congressional opposition. Indeed, in 1998 Clinton’s effort to get Fast Track authority was rejected by 171 House Democrats and 71 House GOP members.

The last time Congress authorized Fast Track was in 2002, with a 3:30 am vote before a congressional recess in which the antiquated mechanism was approved by just three votes. Since 2007, Congress has refused to authorize this extreme procedure, even after its proponents tried to escape Fast Track’s bad reputation by renaming it “Trade Promotion Authority.” The bill currently before Congress would replicate the widely-opposed Fast Track bill from 2002.

As a candidate, President Obama said he would replace this anti-democratic process. But now he is asking Congress to grant him Fast Track’s extraordinary authority – in part to try to overcome growing public and congressional opposition to his controversial TPP and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) deals. To prevent an expansion of this unfair “trade” model, Congress must not allow the executive branch to once again gain Fast Track’s undemocratic powers.

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Updates from Bury Northern Pass

Sign from angry New Hampshire resident during an anti-Northern Pass action.

We will post the newsletter that Bury Northern Pass releases, as soon as we can every time we receive it.  While we do not  support the idea of burying the lines for Northern Pass; we’d prefer that southern New England states produce their own power as they need it, see our analysis of Northern Pass. That being said, the Bury Northern Pass group does very important and thorough work in watching the players in this continuing issue and informing the public.  We thank them for their hard work and encourage everyone to stay on top of this real threat to the New Hampshire way of life.

Here is the newest issue from April 26:

The Most Important NH Conservation Campaign Since the Creation of the WMNF
and Saving Franconia Notch a Century Ago
Leave Your Legacy to NH – A Landscape Unscarred by 2300 Steel Towers Up to 155′ Tall from Pittsburg to Deerfield
Please Donate Now to the Forest Society’s “Trees Not Towers” Legal Defense Fund to Bury the Northern Pass

Coming up this week

Tuesday, April 28: 4:15 PM: City of Concord Northern Pass subcommittee meeting – “public to be heard.”

Thursday, April 30: Senate floor vote on HB 192 (utility property tax) scheduled. (*Double check floor date before traveling to attend*)
HB 192 would prevent utilities from using a single cut-rate valuation method (depreciation) to abate their property taxes. This is relevant to how much property tax Northern Pass, if built, would actually pay.

Audio of March 24th testimony by bill sponsors, attorney for NHEC, NH Municipal Assoc., etc: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senateaudio/committees/2015/wm/HB0192_03242015.asx

News report by Robert Blechl, for the Caledonian Record, 4/25: New Hampshire Utility Bills Head Toward Votes

April 29-May 4: Ever$ource Q1 investor call (estimated date)

May 6-7. Open House/SEC Info meetings in Londonderry and Hudson for MVRP (above ground line in NH, buried in MA).

Link to the PR tell-all Northern Pass doesn’t want you to read: “Case Study: Northern Pass”

This past week’s news in review

Seacoast residents revolt against E$ plan for above-ground lines, E$ downgraded by financial giant UBS, NP lashes out at opposition, and more.

1. In downgrade of E$ stock, UBS cites Northern Pass delay.

2. Newington and Durham revolt against E$’s plans for an overhead “Seacoast Pass” (aka Seacoast Reliability Project).  Newington’s lawyer says town won’t support project unless it’s buried.

More from Seacoast Online and Union Leader

Durham Residents Voice Concerns Over Eversource Project
Newington Residents Air Concerns Over 13 Mile Transmission Line
Durham Objects to Power Towers

3. Coos County biz group opens Northern Pass jobs funding program
More from NHPR: Northern Pass Funds Available for Coos Businesses

4. Forest Society Blasts Foundation National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for Northern Pass Partnership, report by Robert Blechl

5. Goliath not a happy camper this week: Northern Pass lashes out at opposition in PR offensive. In the wake of the revelation about the PR agency, Saint Consulting Group, lampooned as “fooling the politicians since 1983,”  and its claimed ties to Northern Pass and of the UBS stock downgrade, the project went on a PR rampage this week to change the channel.

Project flacks who usually stay in the shadows surfaced on Twitter – e.g., Scott Tranchemontagne (Montagne Communications), Erik W. Taylor (Elevare Communications), Scott Spradling, Rich Killion — and, phrased in euphemisms of “concern” and “disappointment,” project spox Murray and Collins attacked the Conservation Media Group’s Concord video, The Power of Place and whatever else they could think of to target.

Anti-Northern Pass Video Targets Concord, Concord Monitor
Northern Pass Opposition Video Lacks Credibility, Fosters.com
Tiny Section of Proposed Route Sparking Latest Verbal Sparring About Northern Pass, Union Leader
Northern Pass Cries”Foul” Over Opponent’s New Video, NHPR

6. New England Governors’s private tete-a-tete on energy, infrastructure.  [Mass. Gov.] Baker not bullish on Northern Pass, NH not bullish on sharing bill for southern New England energy wants.

Governors Renew Commitment to Reg’l Energy Solution, Nashoba Publishing

7. Buried Champlain Hudson line receives final, ACOE permit, moves on to funding negotiations with Hydro Quebec

Hudson-Champlain Powerline Gets Ok to Build, Poughkeepsie Journal
Quebec Energy Minister says “we are negotiating [with ChHud] at this current moment” , E&ETV

8. Hydro Quebec Phase 2 line goes on unexplained spring vacation, raises prices in New England. How’s this for a secure, reliable source of energy? It’s not even winter.

Boston Power Rises 4th Day This Week as Demand Tops Forecasts

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Parasitic Northern Pass

Excerpts from Bury Northern Pass: A monthly newsletter.  This month Shaheen lays it straight about burying Northern Pass and the energy company’s foot dragging on the issue, Jeb Bradley’s next effort to help his friends in Big Energy falls flat and an opinion piece from a concerned citizen to the Colebrook Chronicle.  Enjoy!

Big Power Line

Shaheen: “If NPT can bury 7.5 miles, why not all of it?”
Excerpt from “Senator Shaheen holds town meeting [Colebrook, April 2], answers questions.”
Coos County Democrat, p. 15
4/8/2015
Bill Schomburg of Columbia asked how things stand with the proposed Northern Pass Transmission project, which he has steadfastly opposed.
Senator Shaheen replied that the clock had been reset in 2013 when NPT proposed a new northern route.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement should be released between now and June, she said, noting that 7,000 comments had been received from 5,000 people. Another comment period will be held before the Final EIS is issued.
The senator said she still has questions about Northern Pass, including why the whole line cannot be buried underground as is being proposed in both Vermont and New York State.
“If NPT can bury 7.5 miles, why not all of it? Shaheen asked. And, she said, the project must directly benefit New Hampshire. Shaheen noted that she believes that, as proposed, the electricity would all go to southern New England. She said that she is looking to ensure that the process is transparent and there are sufficient opportunities for Granite Staters to be heard.

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Parasitic Northern Pass, excerpts from an LTE by John Amey
Colebrook Chronicle, April 3
Like a parasite on an animal that never really goes away,Northern Pass LLC is rearing its ugly head, once again. Now it comes in two forms, to the North Country, a bearer of small gifts, as in participating in long-overdue cell service and throughout the state with “chump change” for conservation projects. To make matters worse, they are trying to bring gifts of cash to the doors of N.H. Fish and Game and other Conservation organizations, allegedly for bona fide purposes but under the radar, thinking that we, the public, have forgotten that NHFG is one of the stakeholders when the High Voltage DC plan comes to a vote at the state Site Evaluation Committee.
And furthermore, to add insult to injury,letters of “concern and instruction” are being circulated to certain towns along the proposed route, regarding wetland mitigation issues that might concern them.
Northern Pass LLC has yet to receive a Presidential Permit to enter the United States from Canada, has yet to solve issues blocking a complete route on the ground, through properties of unwilling landowners and is just now ready to present the Environmental Impact Study which is coming to all intervenors to the project from the US department of Energy. It is my fear that town officials are going to feel pressured to do something, quickly, as the proposal moves forward, trying to appear that approval is imminent. In my opinion, the people have spoken in the 31 towns most affected, and the answer is a resounding “NO.” Only a complete burial of Northern Pass Lines will garner any support from the countryside and only then will town officials need to talk about construction details. . . .
We have recently learned, through the State DOT that where current underground segments are proposed by Northern Pass, there will be multiple conduits installed to make further expansion of the original proposal more convenient and we all know that once the corridor is in place, more lines will come, as demand for electric power expands in southern New England and beyond. . .
We, the opposition, are fighting this above-ground proposal by Northern Pass for free, against very high odds and millions of dollars of lobbying, but we don’t intend to lose. Even former employees of Hydro-Quebec are saying that the ‘”New Hampshire route for export of power to Southern New England is blocked.” Energy conservation, coupled with more modern energy transmission proposals will, in the end, prove that our efforts have been well worth our time. We are thankful for all the hard work of our people toward this goal.
John Amey, Pittsburg

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 Northern Pass loses a shill
Marc Brown/New England Ratepayers Association stripped from SB60
The mysterious Mr. Brown, who has always declined to reveal the source of the funding for NERA and who has consistently promoted Northern Pass, ran into trouble this week when two legislators (Moffet, Backus) on the House STE Committee questioned why SB60 was giving him a berth on the decoupling commission as the ratepayer representative. They’d never heard of him or his organization and weren’t happy with his lack of transparency. Dave Solomon reports the story: unionleader.com/article/20150406/NEWS05/150409554
STE later voted 16-5 to remove Brown from SB 60.
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Newsletter from: burythenp@gmail.com

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Actions Around NH

Last week during the Shaheen-Brown debate in North Conway, the environmental group NextGen Climate set up a display to draw attention to Brown’s ties to big oil.  Politifact  NH has looked into the claims made by the democratic supporting PACS, in particular Senate Majority and finds the claims  true in that Brown does in fact receive a large portion of his funding from big oil and gas.

nextgen protest scott brown

Of course to most people who pay attention this isn’t really big news since big oil and gas have always supported GOP candidates and races far more than Democrats.  Mostly due to the Democrats long standing tradition of standing up for and funding regulation for healthy people and communities.  While big oil fights government support for renewable energy development, the gas industry has been working double time to ensure continued support for fracking.

The degree to which the oil industry has chips to cash in with New Hampshire politicians should be of concern to residents as the north-east’s dependency on oil is greater than any other part of the United States.  Residents want other energy alternatives but without prioritizing government funds for subsidies or credits for such development, the dream of energy independence cannot be realized.  Geo-thermal and solar, two of the most important renewable energy opportunities still remain far out of reach of most residents and businesses.

Next Gen Climate will be holding actions all over the state during the election season, those interested in participating can contact them through their website at Next Gen Climate.org

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