Tag Archives: no northern pass

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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Another Chance to Save New Hampshire Mountaintops!

wind watch signResidents of New Hampshire have yet another chance to save the mountaintops of the western highlands region of the state from destruction.   On Wednesday the full New Hampshire house will hold hearings and then vote on SB-99 in its amended form and a new amendment to HB-2.

SB-99, once the moratorium bill has emerged from the Senate Energy Committee transformed into an entirely different bill.  In an apparent compromise, Senator Bradley’s proposal to exclude transmission lines in the moratorium did not survive.  Although transmission lines (pertaining of course to the Northern Pass project)  did get back into the moratorium bill, this only occurred with the exclusion of the moratorium demand entirely.  In its place the Senate inserted language to create a committee be formed from members of the house and the senate.

Representative Neal Kurk, of Weare has proposed an amendment to HB-2 which will put in place a moratorium and will read: (this is the proposed draft):

“Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, there are here by established moratoriums on the constructions of wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects in the state of New Hampshire until July 1, 2014. The site evaluation committee, established in RSA 162-H:3, shall issue no certificates for wind turbine plants or electric transmission line projects under RSA 162-H while such moratoriums are in effect.”

Everyone needs to call or email their representative TODAY or TONIGHT to let them know that wind turbines will have a serious, irreversible effect on our environment, our natural landscape and resultingly our economy statewide.  This is not a regional issue but a serious statewide issue.  A moratorium will temporarily halt approval of turbine development until further study and due process on research can commence without pressure or undo influence from the wind industry.  Click on the link below for an easy to use search tool to find your representative and their contact information.   The representatives have heard the opinion and propaganda of the paid lobbyists for the wind industry, have they heard from you?

Who’s my Legislator?

Some background:

This committee already has come together and recommended right out the gate that the Site Evaluation Committee adopt the Proposed Wind Siting Guidelines (.pdf) that a consortium of industry and state agency persons created in 2007.  Of course, demonstrating its hesitance to take an objective stand on wind energy, the SEC decided immediately to not adopt the siting guidelines.  This despite a March 3, 2013 petition directly from the house Science, Energy and Technology Committee, requesting that the SEC adopt the 2007 proposed guidelines.

Currently there exists no guidelines for siting wind turbines, no consideration for environmental impacts and a very poor, non-democratic methodology for public input and even announcement and planning of public hearings. As per testimony from March 29, 2013 of Lisa Linowes, intervener on many turbine hearings:

No definitions are provided in either the Statute or the Committee’s rules which explain specific studies to be conducted by the Applicant in order to demonstrate, for example, the impact of the proposed facility on the environment. And no requirements address standards for conducting appropriate post-construction surveys. Since siting of wind power facilities presents challenges that are different from those faced by other types of energy facilities, there are well established protocols for conducting studies that aim to predict and address the impacts. Siting guidelines would help the SEC, State Agencies, and Applicants in deciding what studies should be conducted and the protocols to be followed PRIOR to an application being submitted. In some cases the SEC has required that additional studies be conducted after a project is permitted.  This process is inherently unfair to the public and unduly discriminates against the public’s involvement.”

Currently the SEC has complete control over who testifies and acts as an “intervener” on behalf of the public by function of their intervener approval process.  In addition, public hearing notices receive publication in the rarely read legal notices section of newspapers in the hosting area region.  In Berlin for example, it appears through reading the notes of the one hearing, that the presence of the Berlin city planner was considered sufficient public presence.  Thus the committee was able to rationalize the public’s approval and move forward with industry testimony and nothing from concerned citizens.

The most unfortunate development so far has been the refusal of Democrats, usually the defenders of environmental justice, to consider the ill effects of the wind turbines.  Representing predominantly urban areas not directly affected by the wind turbines, these representatives and senators have the temerity to call those against wind energy as NIMBY’s.   Interestingly, not one of these individuals who represent Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Dover and surrounding areas will have to suffer from the ill effects of wind turbines.  In fact, it might be safe to make the conjecture that as long as the turbines remain on the mountains, then at least the seacoast won’t have to worry about the potential of wind turbines placed on their treasured seacoast.

The same holds true for those in the White Mountain region who will suffer from the effects of the 400′ towers proposed as part of the Northern Pass project.  Northern Pass, a project that Hydro-Quebec and PSNH will make millions on, will as proposed, carry electric power generated by hydro dams in southern Quebec.  Already the Innuit people have seen portions of the native lands flooded by the country of Quebec with no consideration of their needs.  In addition, it has been estimated that a lake the size of New Hampshire itself would be required to fulfill the demand from southern New England that these power lines will deliver.

These New Hampshire legislators have not only a duty to the residents in their districts, but also a duty of concern for the health of the entire state.  The wind industry, acting much like most all large industries, wishes to keep their projects as locally confined as possible, thus keeping the outrage over their risks and hazards confined as well.  The democratic process of review cannot function when the people in the entire state do not have the information needed to make proper critical analysis.  Legislators represent; they do not dictate, nor do bureaucrats or others of select group.

Both Northern Pass and the development of wind turbine “farms” (a misnomer as nothing is farmed) substantially threaten New Hampshire in many ways.  Its indeed ironic that traditional progressives have such a hard time swallowing the cruel fact that green technology is neither simple, nor easily applied to existing paradigms of energy production carved out over a century ago.  We must take the time to properly analyze, evaluate and understand our need for clean energy, our consumption habits, our production capabilities and most importantly, the long range effect all will have on our communities and environments.

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International, Protecting our Environment

Conservation and Renewable Energy – A European Perspective

dead birds by turbineFrom The Ecologist.org, a very good article by ecologist writer Luke Dale-Harris on the EU’s Natura 2000 goals and the brewing conflict between conservation ideology and renewable energy development – once thought to be allies in the struggle to save the planet.  A very prescient analysis that applies to the US and its struggles with the same conflicts.  Can we make the claim that renewable energy encompasses modern values of conservation? Wind developers have used the claim of meeting the balance of providing for modern energy needs while also meeting the need to conserve the environment.  As time goes on and growing experience begins to tell us wind and hydro developers have under scrutiny shown their own conflicts with preserving biodiversity in our environment.

Also most troubling as this article points out through experience provided in Eastern European countries (many of which have only recently been freed from the yoke of dictatorial control), that these new “renewable” energy industries use the same imperialist, non-democratic and hierarchical strategies of their more destructive predecessors.  The exercise of sustainable practice must include involvement of all parties that make the earth their habitat, from humans to the natural environment that humans depend on.

The Hidden Conservation Costs of Renewable Energy

The birds that migrate freely across Europe are unaware of the invisible borders that lie below them. They follow the same routes that have carried them to warmth every year for an eternity, marked out by the indomitable features of the landscape – the coast of the Atlantic on one side and the curve of the Carpathian Mountains on the other. But it is what they miss that matters most; their future, along with that of the rest of us, is dictated by the political and economic tides that shift shape across the continent.

In this day, with growth and progress honoured above all else, the natural world is at the mercy of human endeavour. Allowed to run its course, the open market will drain the land of all life over and above what is fundamental for its own survival. The more fragile and economically superfluous species of the world – the lynxes and lesser spotted eagles, right down to the field cricket or river jelly lichen – remain only for as long as we consider their existence a moral imperative, and their extinction as a cause for shame. It is this that drives conservation.

To continue reading: The Hidden Conservation Costs of Renewable Energy

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NH Politics, Protecting our Environment

Testimony Supporting a Moratorium in New Hampshire

Offered in support of Senate Bill 99 (in its original form) on Wednesday, March 20th, in front of the Senate Energy Committee, were testimonies of various persons who will be affected most specifically by the proposed wind turbines and the Northern Pass power line project.

While Northern Pass has received a lot of press and a lot of support from the general public due to the length of time its been before the public and the amount of organizing against, the issue of wind turbines proposed for the western highlands of the state has not received much attention.

The full senate will be voting on SB 99 tomorrow (Thursday, March 28th), please call your senator and let them know we need to halt the industrial onslaught now!

We decided to place here for your perusal, some of the testimony from that day from people.  Those who will be directly affected or who have expert knowledge of how the trails and mountains will be affected by the proposed wind turbines testified that day.  The folks at NH Wind Watch were kind enough to send us these transcripts and also some video that was shot of the hearing, which show most of the testimony, starting with Jeannie Forrester, the bill’s sponsor.

Also in the video are small business owners who say that like the Northern Pass effect, their business has essentially stopped, in particular those engaged in the building trades.  Potential buyers lose interest once they hear of the possible wind development and current owners begin to contemplate selling before the market falls rather than expanding.  Not also the one woman who comes in against the moratorium bill from Franklin, a representative of a local bank that has not stopped frothing at the mouth since Northern Pass promised huge chunks of cash to the town of Franklin.

We also included some written testimonials below the video.

from Nancy Watson

My name is Nancy Watson. I live in Groton. I don’t have a lot of statistics for you today.  I think this is more about collateral damage.

As the septic was finishing up for our home, we found out about the Spruce Ridge wind farm, which will be located on the mountain top about a mile and a half in front of us, with 24 proposed 50 story industrial wind turbines. Groton Wind is about a mile and a half behind us, with another 24 similar turbines.

A few weeks ago, we learned the land on the mountaintop across from us, to the front right, went under lease for the Alpine Ridge Wind Farm.  That’s also about a mile and a half away. We don’t know how many turbines will be on that ridge, because the company won’t return our phone calls.  Many in Groton are worried.  Our town has desirable large tracks of land.  How many more wind farms are we going to squeeze into town???  How will the SEC keep up with so many applications?

I think I can safely make the assumption I will be surrounded by a triangle of approximately 75 – 50 story industrial wind turbines. I don’t think there are even that many buildings in Boston that tall! And we’re not the only ones.  We have neighbors too. This will be the case for most residents of Groton.

I used to worry about what all this would look. I’m beyond that now.  I worry about the harmonics when the turbines are all spinning and churning at once and the possible health effects of the low frequency waves produced by the pressure reduction. It makes some people sick.  How can any wind company possibly measure the implications of so many turbines, from so many angles, from so many varying heights?

Last month, I received an assessment of my property from a local realtor/broker (with almost 30 years of experience in my area). With just the prospects of one met tower, which will undoubtedly lead to a wind project, our property will be reduced to timberland value, a 25 to 50% reduction. And so will our neighbors’ property!

We were going to build a home.  Now we’re on hold.  So are at least two of our neighbors.  No dirt work, no carpenters, no plumbers, no electricians. No money passed to the tradesmen.  No money for their families to spend at the local stores.  And the cycle continues.

I’ve been sitting in on hearings and work sessions and some legislators are worried about the message a moratorium will send to business.  How about us – the citizens of  NH?  What message are you sending us? Many of us have put our future on hold, because we don’t know what’s going to happen to our economy and to our real estate value?  Why build a house, when it will be worth 50 % less before even moving in?

So in our case, my husband and I are living in our garage. Are we collateral damage?

We ask YOU to please support the moratorium until proper siting guidelines for wind facilities can be enacted to protect the residents and small businesses of NH.  Thank You!

From Craig Sanborn

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:

My name is Craig Sanborn. I live in Enfield. I am here in my capacity as the Appalachian Mountain Club Trailmaster for Cardigan, although I emphasize that what follows is my personal observations and estimates, neither authorized nor forbidden by the Club.

The map I gave you has the hiking trails highlighted in green, the existing wind turbines on Tenney Mtn. in red, and proposed or suitable turbine sites highlighted in yellow. Wild Meadow in Danbury, Spruce Ridge in Groton and Alexandria, and Jewell Hill in Groton are all in the early stages of research for applying to the SEC for operating permits, thus have very little money invested so far. The other yellow sites are at elevations or on prominent ridges where in theory there may be wind enough often enough to run the turbines. My source is a map in the “documents” section of the nhwindwatch.com website.

There is another reason why sb99 ought to pass besides the economics of subsidized wind turbines, flat demand for electricity, health risks, and the inadequacy of the SEC to fully evaluate applications or police existing permits without the proposed 2007 guidelines. That reason is the loss of tourist revenue to the state plus the livelihoods of workers and small businesses in the tourist trade. Others have described their losses from tourists and second-home buyers refusing to invest their time and money where they would have to see Northern Pass towers or giant wind turbines. The tourists are already voting with their money, and they vote “NAY” when they can.

The map I submit to you shows that several hiking trails now in use would be closed if the turbines capture the ridgelines. Here are the best estimates of hiker tourists I have been able to come up with:

– 8000 bed-nights a year at the AMC Cardigan Lodge, per its manager

– 15,000 day hikers ” ,60-car lot.

– 12,000 ” at the Mt Cardigan State Park on the other side of the mountain, where the lot holds 40 cars but I observe it is usually full by 10 AM on a sunny weekend day.

All those 35,000 people pay the gas tax and rooms and meals tax etc.

I have asked people on the summit what they think of the Tenney Mtn windfarm they can see. 3/4 or more say they don’t like it. I then point out the ridges where other turbines are proposed, and they tell me they don’t like them either. Therefore I anticipate that dozens of turbines within two miles (Spruce Ridge) and several dozen more within 5 miles will chill hikers’ willingness to hike this mountain.
The tourists pay to see natural-looking wild landscapes hereabouts. Our economy depends on their willingness to spend money here. The proposed wind farms bring profits for their owners and losses for thousands of local residents. We need time to establish a balanced approach to finding a proper place for new energy sources.

Please pass sb99. Thank you.

From Craig Williams

RP Williams & Sons Inc. is a family owned lumber and building supply business in Bristol, NH. We have been supplying quality building materials to homeowners and contractors in the Newfound Region for over 60 years. RP Williams has been directly and indirectly responsible for many hundreds of jobs in the Newfound area. Newfound Lake and the surrounding towns have always been a strong economic draw for our business.  After the past few years of national economic decline, we have been on the verge of a rebound in building and new construction. However, the threat of Wind Turbines on the ridges around Newfound Lake have had a detrimental effect on people considering building in this area. We have experienced actual cancellations in building plans directly related to Wind Turbine construction. This includes Groton Wind, (already operating), and builders and clients reacting to the possibility of further wind turbine projects recently proposed around Newfound Lake.

Construction of additional wind turbines will most certainly affect property values in this pristine region.

In closing, we feel the turbines will have further negative impact on our business as well as many others in the local area.

We ask your committee to support SB-99 granting a moratorium to allow a year for the state to undertake a comprehensive study of the SEC and their siting responsibilities.  It is time to seriously examine and take into consideration the economic impact wind turbine projects are already having on our local businesses and economy.

Craig Williams

Vice-President, RP Williams & Sons, Inc.

From Steve Bleiler

Good morning,,,,my name is Steve Bleiler.   I am a 38 year resident of Alexandria. When my wife and I graduated from college we could have settled down anywhere, but  chose the Newfound area believing it to be one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen.

We bought our Cardigan Mountain Orchard farm which needed extensive work in 1975.  While having a 33 year teaching career, my wife and I restored the house, built 8000 ft of farm buildings, and  cleared 25 acres of field.

We have been growing our current apple business to now have 1000 apple trees.  Our  three adult sons hope to take over this farm which is why we recently bought and restored an old country store in Bristol and we were planning on doubling the number of trees as well.  Recently, our farm was awarded the New Hampshire Farm of Distinction.

The future growth of our hilltop business has been put on hold pending the outcome of industrial wind development in the Newfound, Mt. Cardigan region.  That is why I am here speaking to you today. I am asking you to pass this moratorium on new wind farm projects.   My three sons and their families are in a state of limbo knowing the expansion of our farm and country store, which up to this point has been steadily growing year by year,  will be curtailed  and start to decline.  You might be thinking that is  just our overreaction, however you need to know that 75% of my customers are tourists visiting Newfound lake and hiking the 50 miles of trails of Cardigan State Park and the AMC lodge which is one of the most popular fall hikes in NH.  I found out about the first proposed wind power project  in September of 2012 and at that time began to ask my customers how they felt about turbines 454‘ tall surrounding Mt. Cardigan and the lake.  They said this would be terrible and asked why would they put them on the mountain tops of this pristine wilderness area???  One of these proposed projects will close down many of the state park trails.  I believe this will be a death blow to the AMC and Cardigan State Park and the many tourist related businesses of the Newfound Lake region.  It bothers me when they call industrial wind  “wind farms” for no farmer I know would ever treat their land as these corporations do blasting and leveling the mountain tops.

Our vision is to provide as a small agricultural business quality local foods to our neighbors and visiting tourists.  Like most farmers, it is not about getting rich, but rather taking pride in what we grow and see the customers enjoy and appreciate the “fruits of our labor”.  I know that each of you here desire small businesses such as ours to thrive.  I am concerned however that we are facing billion dollar companies pushing industrial wind who are  all about making a profit dressed up in “green energy” packaging. The long range consequences economically to our area needs to be evaluated.   May I ask you??  Where is the next industrial wind project going to assault another sensitive tourist economy based area?   Mt. Monadnock, Mt. Sunapee,  the Franconia Notch ridges? Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake or our shoreline?  Criteria has to be established for the proper placement of renewable energy facilities by the State and not by power companies.

As I delve into the workings of these corporations, and the way the power grid works many red flags go up.  We need to intelligently look at the reality of all the consequences of the “green energy” movement.  Please pass this moratorium to give our state a “time-out” so we as a state can decide what is best for New Hampshire and its people and not the unbridled foreign companies whose object above all else is to make a profit.

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NH Politics, Protecting our Environment

New Hampshire Senators Must Hear From You Now!

people on the mountainsThe New Hampshire senate will be voting on an important moratorium bill, SB 99 tomorrow in full session.  This bill will put a temporary halt to the approval of any industrial wind turbine approvals in the New Hampshire western highlands region and also, as the original bill proposed, any new transmission line projects.

The original SB 99 as proposed by Senator Jeannie Forrester (R) and Senator Jeff Woodburn (R) would have contained language referencing not only the wind industry projects but also the Northern Pass transmission line project.  As noted on our post of the 25th, Senator Jeb Bradley bowed to the wishes of PSNH and the near wholly PSNH owned Manchester Chamber of Commerce and removed language pertinent to Northern Pass from SB 99.

Action Needed:

Tomorrow the Senate will convene and voting will commence on Senate Bill 99  [note this version online does not represent the version with the Jeb Bradley amendment as passed by the Senate Energy Committee which will be what will go before the whole Senate]  as amended by Jeb Bradley, both Senator Jeannie Forrester and Senator Jeff Woodburn have amendments to return language to the bill regarding Northern Pass.  It is imperative that everyone, particularly those in the southern and eastern regions of the state call their senators and make them aware of this issue.  Please tell our Senators to support the amendments proposed by either Sen. Woodburn or Sen. Forrester.

NH Wind Watch is asking that people focus on their local Senator to educate them on the importance of this bill for the future of New Hampshire.  We will be posting testimony that was submitted from different stakeholders for your further information.  Please make yourself familiar with the wind power issue as the industry has told many myths and half-truths that are easily debunked with the facts.  We have a summary for your reference here: Top Ten Myths of Wind Power Generation. For more information on Northern Pass, refer here to our heavily linked article of June 12, 2012, Northern Pass – Not the Option for New Hampshire.

Here’s a list of some claims the industry and their supporters are making against a moratorium and our answers to that:

1.  A moratorium bill will chill business.

Answer: This claim falls down in the face of the truth that where there’s a buck to be made, there is a group ready to exploit it.  Its cynical and almost silly to propose that there won’t be an industry ready at some point to exploit a potential dollar to be made.  The moratorium will allow the state and the stakeholders on all ends of the spectrum time to develop better policy renewable energy development that balances community needs with concerning economic balance, the responsibility of encouraging conservation and how to develop green energy and most importantly, what defines green energy and how to meet the ultimate goal of reducing green house gas emissions.

2.  The Site Evaluation Committee does not need to stop operations in order to improve them.

Answer: While Mr. Burack, the chairman of the SEC did testify that although he had made statements in the past that reflected concern for the number of applications now coming, he carefully back-walked on these statements and said that while the committee is overhwelmed, it can still function.

Many believe that this statement alone reflects the troubling conflict of interest inherent in the structure today of the SEC.  The undo influence and pressure that the industry is able to put upon the SEC is relfected in Mr. Burack’s waffly testimony.  The SEC currently is an all volunteer group, their membership is made up mostly if former or current bureaucrats from various energy agencies in the state.  These people have a tendency by virtue of the nature of their jobs which entail continue communication with the energy industry, to have very comfortable and familiar relationships with energy industry professionals.

It is especially troubling to many that like many review agencies, stakeholders in the community do not have a place at the table, but instead are relegated to a reactionary role in the process and not empowered as equal partners.  How this process has taken place is demonstrated by the very quick slide-through of the Jericho Wind Project in Berlin New Hampshire, wherein few if any members of the public participated, only a notice in the public notices section of the paper informed on the one public hearing.  Jericho Wind was approved and the wind industry succeeded in evading the larger approval process because of the lax rules that exist today.

SEC meeting Minutes on Jericho Wind Power

What is the motivation to continue on with a process that doesn’t work? What is the motivation to continue to put New Hampshire’s fragile economy at risk? What is the motivation to pass projects that will change the New Hampshire landscape forever? Possibly we’d want to take a lesson from our country’s past when it comes to listening to or allowing industry to decide what’s best for the planet and for a region?

mountain top removal

Remnants of Virginia mountain after coal industry blasts for coal veins.

3.  The only people against wind are ignorant NIMBY’s and tools of the Koch Brothers/coal industry.

The Sierra Club, 350.org and other national environmental organizations have worked hard to support wind energy as the easy alternative to coal.  Unfortunately  wind presents its own myriad problems including serious environmental threats to delicate mountaintop ecosystems.  Land based wind has only an average 10% – 17% efficiency and thus can’t replace dependence on coal, oil or gas or even make a serious dent in use.

In addition, true conservation includes community empowerment.  What is the difference between the global coal industry that grew up with the tacit support of governments ignorant of its effects in the beginning and now dependent on its income today?  Do we want to develop a dependance on another form of destructive, poorly performing energy that will change our natural landscape forever?  Have we not learned from our past mistakes?

The mere fact that the wind industry has support from major energy producers who currently rely on coal should send a strong hint that just possibly even they don’t see wind as a threat. Instead its another area to exploit for quick profits — communities and the environment be damned: business as usual.

Please call your Senator today and tell them to support SB 99 — particularly the amended versions that will put all new transmission line construction back into the bill.

We have word that the following Senators need particular attention:

Senator David Boutin – Concerned about renewable energy and following the RPS, asked the question, “So if you’re not for wind and solar hasn’t worked in forty years, what are you for?”  This question needs your answer.

Senator Nancy Stiles – position not known at this time

Senator Martha Fuller Clark – Senator Martha Clark has a strong history of environmental concern and has been sitting on the fence on this issue.  Please call Senator Fuller-Clark and let her know that wind does not represent viable green energy and that disempowering communities is not the way to move forward on renewable energy development.

Senator Bob Odell – Mr. Odell claims confidence in the SEC process and also claims that his community has “learned to live with” the turbines in Lempster on Lempster Mountain.  We’d dispute Mr. Odell’s assessment of wind as being something people must get used to, also there’s no doubt that a difference exists between 12 wind turbines on a hill top and residents being surrounded with as many as 75 wind turbines in all directions.

Tell Mr. ODell that industry will come after the moratorium and that the democratic process for the approval of wind and energy projects is broken and needs serious fixing.  In addition, let Mr. ODell know that tourists don’t have to “live with” wind turbines — they can just choose to go somewhere else on vacation and those considering home purchases will consider other areas.

Call your senators now!  If the Senator cannot be reached, talk to their secretary as also, see if you can get their cell number.   Ask their aid where they stand on the issue.

Also, for further information you can talk directly to the sponsors of the original SB 99:

Senator Jeannie Forrester : Her office aid Liz in Senator Forrester’s Concord office is very knowledgeable and helpful as well.  Senator Forrester comes from the Newfound Lake region and represents land owners and businesses that thrive and prosper on the pristine environment of the western highlands and Newfound Lake region.

Senator Jeff Woodburn: A man represents the largest district in New Hampshire encompassing Coos County and more communities than any other senator, Sen. Woodburn has been out in front in the battle against Northern Pass and joins the effort against the onslaught of the wind industry as well.

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NH Politics, Protecting our Environment

Jeb Bradley Hikes With Eyes Closed

jeb bradley stampAn email we received from the kind folks at Bury Northern Pass reference the moratorium bill, SB-99.   Apparently the well known, avid hiker of the White Mountains, Jeb Bradley has decided that as long as he doesn’t have to live with giant high tension power lines in his backyard and he closes his eyes while hiking, he won’t have to see the results of his handiwork.  Hey as long as you can notch off another peak and claim yourself a member of the 4,000 footer club, who cares if transmission lines spoil the mountain experience?

Because of course, getting the support of PSNH, NSTAR and Hydro-Quebec, three of the large corporate utility companies frothing at their mouths at the potential profit for Northern Pass, is more important than representing the poor little people of your state, amirite?  According to the folks at DownWithTyranny, rubber stamping corporate agendas at the behest of the people’s interests and just generally being a corporate whore is nothing new to ‘ole Jeb.

SOMETHING’S ROTTEN IN CONCORD – A TRILOGY
 
POLITICS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE SINKS TO A NEW LOW! – PART ONE
 
by 
 
The Alliance against Northern Pass

CRONYISM REARS ITS UGLY HEAD –This past Wednesday, March 20th at the State House in Concord, honest, transparent  governance, what New Hampshire used to be famous for, took a back seat to cronyism.  Jeb Bradley, a member of the Senate Energy Committee considering Senate Bill 99 slipped a decidedly underhanded maneuver past the public and his fellow senators on the Committee using questionable, disrespectful parliamentary procedures.   In doing so, Bradley ignored the wishes of tens of thousands of Granite State citizens who wanted SB 99 passed in order to implement a one year moratorium to slow down the current breakneck pace of approving huge elective energy projects like Northern Pass and the proliferation of gigantic wind turbine fields.  The moratorium, if passed, was designed to give our state’s regulators the time and resources needed to properly vet these projects.  Our state needs to be sure that ALL optional energy projects, not needed to keep the lights on, truly provide a net benefit to New Hampshire’s businesses and residents, not just the energy companies’ stockholders, before they are given a green light by the state’s regulators.

WHAT’S AT STAKE? –It’s our state government’s obligation to make sure that the unblemished character of our state, especially north of Concord, so critical to our tourism based economy, is protected from an unsightly proliferation of wind turbines, power towers and cables that, once erected, will wreak havoc with the reasons why tens of millions of people come to visit our lakes, hills, rivers, mountains, and forests every year.  Tourism and its many components make up our state’s largest single industry.  Why mess up the beds we sleep in by destroying the magical nature of our surroundings that stimulate people to come here year after year after year?  The notion of messing up our landscapes with projects like Northern Pass for no net benefit to our state is tantamount to sheer, utter lunacy.
THE “FIX” WAS IN –One purpose of this news release is to make as many people in New Hampshire as possible, aware of how certain politicians in Concord are doing business, but this article is also meant to reach the Committee that heard Senate Bill 99 this past Wednesday.  Another objective is to call attention to the actions of one individual on that Committee, Senator Jeb Bradley, who was the person primarily responsible for the shameful performance that went on in Room 103 under the guise of being a so-called Committee Hearing.  Apologies in advance to the rest of the SB 99 Committee members who were hopefully not complicit in the pre-planned deceit and subterfuge that was inflicted on those members of the public who drove many miles, perhaps hundreds of miles in some cases, to attend a hearing where there was no intention by Bradley from the outset to pay any attention to what the voters had to say because “the FIX” was in before the meeting ever started.

(Part Two of the Three Part Trilogy Coming Soon)

FOOTNOTE – The title to this trilogy, SOMETHING’S ROTTEN IN CONCORD, is a phrase lifted from Shakespeare’s, “Hamlet” in which Marcellus says, “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” In modern days, the phrase has come to mean “things are unsatisfactory; there is something fundamentally wrong.”

ALLIANCE AGAINST NORTHERN PASS
C/O POST OFFICE BOX 1732
CAMPTON, NH 03223
603-759-2510, Phone; 603-726-4897, Fax
CONTACT: Thomas N.T. Mullen, tntmullen@owlsnestgolf.com

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Economics, NH Politics, Protecting our Environment

Worthy of a Repeat

Although from March 15, this editorial by Nancy Martland deserves repeating in the “My Turn” section of the Concord Monitor deserves repeating in light of the controversy surrounding wind energy proposals in the western highlands of New Hampshire.

“My Turn: Let’s make state energy policy fair”

By NANCY MARTLAND
For the Monitor
Friday, March 15, 2013

A March 11 Monitor editorial, “Planning New Hampshire’s energy future,” stated:
“Above all, lawmakers would be foolhardy to grant cities and towns veto power
over state approval of wind farms and transmission lines.”

Really? Most people I talk to at first refuse to believe me and then are shocked
and outraged to learn that towns have no decision-making role in the state
energy regulatory process. Or that a Site Evaluation Committee permit preempts
all local ordinances and regulations.

The very idea that a state agency can permit a project over towns’ objections
while excluding them from participation in the decision goes outside what most
people understand as democracy.

It would be one thing if the process were perceived to be fair, but many argue
that the rules and process currently in place are stacked in favor of big
corporations and that the present system is fundamentally unjust. Why? Because
towns have no decision-making role and opposition therefore involves legal
action. Who is best suited to wage legal warfare, small towns with limited
budgets or big corporations who have fleets of lawyers at their command? The
term “railroaded” is especially apt, since the doctrine of preemption originated
with 19th-century railroad barons who did not want to deal with localities while
acquiring land.

Surely the Monitor is not in favor of big corporations riding roughshod over
local communities that seek to protect themselves from damaging energy projects.
Surely some formula which allows affected towns a role in the decision-making
process is only fair. Surely the Monitor does not suggest that simply because a
project is proposed, it should be allowed to proceed even if the process is
unfair and a remedy is available.

Which is more important: a streamlined regulatory process or a fair shake for
everyone?

Incidentally, the state of New York “changed the rules with the game under way”
by removing eminent domain when New York Regional Interconnect, a proposed HVDC
line similar to Northern Pass, was on the table. The project was withdrawn,
since it could not complete its route with taking land forcibly. Guess what?
Champlain Hudson Power Express was proposed soon thereafter. Anybody who thinks
Hydro Quebec will let a little thing like a rules change stop it from selling
the United States its power needs to pay more attention. It’s amazing how
adaptable businesses can be when there’s a lucrative product to bring to market.

(Nancy Martland lives in Sugar Hill.)

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NH Politics, Protecting our Environment, Public Health

Western New Hampshire Mountain and Lakes Region Still Under Threat

In voting that wasn’t a surprise to most people involved closely in the issue of encroaching wind power and transmission line projects, the NH House Science, Energy and Technology Committee voted to retain most of the bills related to those projects.

Garnering the most controversy and attention lately was House Bill 580 that would have stopped all power infrastructure construction in the state immediately upon passage.  Representative Rappaport requested an “ought to pass” on the bill with vocal support from Representative Khan, Representative Bradley and Representative Vadney.  While Representative Babar spoke of reservations about the wording of the bill, but the most vocal resistance to the moratorium idea came from Representative Nicholas Levasseur.  Levasseur seemed to speak a straight industry line, saying that the moratorium will “send a bad message” to businesses that New Hampshire is “fickle” in their support of business decisions.

Representatives Bradley, Khan and Vadney spoke in favor of the bill.  While some said that they felt that retaining the bill for study over the summer will give the legislators time to consider the issue of wind power more carefully, many reps disagreed.  Rep. Vadney said that  prime New Hampshire areas, such as the Newfound Lake region are currently threatened with pending turbine construction that without a moratorium, could in fact come online very soon.  He said that he has his doubts that without the moratorium there would be any way to stop such activity, “I worry it will be too late before we come up with an energy policy if we retain, important sites are under threat now.”

Rep. Bradley also weighed in on the issue, speaking from his military background saying that one thing he learned was the value of deadlines and also the value of delay, that when in doubt oftentimes a delay is the best option to avoid mistakes.

Representative Nicholas Levasseur made the final weigh-in, responding that the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) mandate may not be met, that business will lose interest in investing in the state and that the SEC process will assure that delicate regions will not suffer damage or destruction.

All bills relating to the electrical power infrastructure in the state were referred to retention which means that the bills will remain within the committee for study.  There was discussion of setting up a sub-committee to take on the task of doing more research on the issues that the bills bring up and formulating more substantial bills or one bill to handle these contentious issues.

The following is a summary of the bills and some of the discussion that went before related to electrical infrastructure development, specifically wind power and transmission lines.  The respective votes up or down are listed as well.  Each bill is linked for further information:

HB 166 – “An act requiring the public utilities commission to make specific findings as to the public need for proposed transmission lines.”   Motion to retain – passed unanimous

HB 449“…requires the site evaluation committee to consider economic impact and findings and recommendations from local planning boards or governing bodies prior to issuing a certificate for an energy facility.”   Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley voting no

HB 484“requiring public approval prior to issuance of certain site evaluation certificates…” Motion to retain – passed with Rep. Bradley and Rep. Calli-Pitts voting no

HB 568requiring new elective transmission lines in New Hampshire to be buried.  Rep. Rappaport moved for “ought to pass”, Reps Khan, Murotake and Bradley voted yes.  Rep. Nicholas Levasseur, Rep. Vadney and Rep. Pasteur urged a no-pass saying the issue needed more study.  Motion for passage defeated.

Rep. Townsend made motion to retain the bill – passed with no votes from Rep Khan and Bradley

HB 569requires that all electric transmission lines in the state of New Hampshire be placed within state transportation rights-of-way to the extent possible.” Motion to retain – passed, Reps Bradley, Khan, Murotake and Reilly voted against.

HB 580establishes moratoriums on the construction of wind turbine plants and on electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan.”

Motion to retain by Backus who said, “I believe that issues that underlie this bill merit consideration and retention.”  Reilly, the author of the bill said he supports retention to avoid a possible loss on the whole floor.  Vote was taken, motion to retain passed with the following voting against retention: Rep. Khan, Rep. Rappaport, Rep. Vadney, Rep. Bradley.  Rep. Babar made the general statement, “citizen input is important” possibly in reference to wanting to hear more from his constituents on the issue.  Rep. Richard Levasseur wanted to know if the reference to power lines in the moratorium included Northern Pass or if it just referred to power lines related to the wind turbines.

HB 586establishes a one-year moratorium on new and pending applications for certificates for electric transmission facilities.”   Motion to retain – Rep. Khan, Bradley, Borden and Vadney voted against, motion passed.

At this point the committee will be in session tomorrow to discuss options such as setting up a sub-committee to work the bills.  This is the time to call your representative in your area, to discuss the importance of preserving the western highlands of New Hampshire and the White Mountain region.  The link below will get you to your representative.  Also important is to talk to members of the committee that are on the fence on this issue and let them know how that you cannot destroy the environment in order to save it.

NH General Court – Who Is My Representative?

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International, Protecting our Environment, Public Health

Burn for a Buck

A wildfire in Australia crosses the Princes Highway on Tuesday. No deaths related to the fires have been reported in the country.
HELL ON EARTH: AUSTRALIA FACES UNPRECEDENTED WILDFIRE “CATASTROPHE”

Proving that the in-your-face reality of unfettered climate change is not about to recede in the new year, a national disaster is unfolding only days into 2013 in Australia, where rampaging wildfires are burning huge swaths of the country. Australians are used to the annual “bushfire season,” but the recent string of massive fires that have charred millions of acres and killed dozens of people are unprecedented and only getting worse thanks to climate change. Now the nation faces a fire “catastrophe”; not just a lurid term of description, it is an official designation of the most destructive and serious level of wildfire. This year’s violent eruption of blazes are fueled by temperatures quite literally never seen before in Australia, with all-time record heat baking the country.

(Mother Jones)

`

SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS OF SEA LEVEL RISE MAY HAVE BEEN “SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATED”

Holding nearly 100 percent of the world’s glacier ice, Greenland and Antarctica are the “air conditioners” of Earth and also a ticking time bomb of potential devastation. This is because of climate change and the rapid polar warming now being recorded that has surpassed many previous estimates of what was possible. With temperatures rising faster and instances of massive ice melt already experiences this past year, scientists now say that global sea level rise from ice loss in these two regions has been “seriously underestimated.” The total melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice would boost global sea levels by over 200 feet. While no one expects that apocalyptic catastrophe, experts now confirm a sea level rise of several more feet than previously anticipated is likely by 2100, causing immeasurable damage and disruption across the world.

(UK Independent)

(All via Principled Progressive)

Of course where the picture comes from (CBS News online), the Australian weather change is referred to “milder”.  Obviously that’s an understatement as we can see here.

Of course here in New England, in the middle of January, the one layer of snow fall we’ve had is already melting down to reveal soft, unfrozen earth underneath and we’re expecting higher spring-like temperatures this weekend:  5-day

Yes, there are idiots who will chime in, “Well I’m just enjoying the good weather!”  apparently completely oblivious to the natural life cycle up here that depends on freezing ground, snow cover and long term cold in order to prepare for a good spring and summer season following.  It seems that the average American has begun to think that the earth and seas are as solid and dead as a slab of concrete or asphalt, but they aren’t.

Not only could (or does) climate change radically change environments by killing off species of animal or insect life, it also dramatically changes agricultural production and existing plant-life because of the lack of the old “killing frost”, as biologists said in an abstract for an article available here, “The main effect of temperature in temperate regions is to influence winter survival; at more northerly latitudes, higher temperatures extend the summer season, increasing the available thermal budget for growth and reproduction.”

The intro to a World Bank sponsored report on climate change and its effects on world agricultural production are telling and this was written in 2003:

“Climate change is widely agreed to be already a reality, and its adverse impacts on the vulnerability of poor communities are superimposed on existing vulnerabilities.  Climate change will further reduce access to drinking water, negatively affect the health of poor people, and will pose a real threat to food security in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  consequently, the World Bank is moving towards mainstreaming climate risk in all its work, and integrating climate-change adaptation, where appropriate, in projects, strategies and policies. We believe this is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of our investments in poverty eradication and sustainable development.”

This report ironically was written in America by mostly Yale academics; America, where we still consume nearly the majority of the world’s resources and participate in the global financial machinery that runs the consumptive engine that drives global warming.

Here in New Hampshire, as reported often, but not often enough for people to listen, such projects as the Northern Pass electrical line project and the proposal to sit windmills on the western mountains do not feed existing need.  They exist to provide the forecast infrastructure that will arise out of increased global warming.  Yes, that’s right.  The power lines and the windmills all will exist to provide for anticipated increased demand in electrical service.  (Read here for extensive information and research documentation or our past article on Northern Pass) Increased demand specifically anticipated for the “cooling season” when people will be baking under the increasingly heated earth.

What happened to the idea that capital will make us all safe and sound? Where’s the invisible hand to sweep in and save us from burning up slowly, starving to death, watching our towns drown in the sea or scrambling with thousands of fleeing refugees?  At what point will capital come in and bring some sense to the shareholders who sit at the boards of these corporations who decide that their dividend share means more to them than the public welfare?

While the majority of the world lives on a small fraction of what the developed world lives on and while we know that most of what we use and consume we really don’t need, we continue on our path.  We have been sold a bill of goods; that mindless consumption feeds our economy and that our economy feeds the economy of other countries because we put people to work.  But the facts tell a different story; that our needless consumption in piles of plastic throw-away goods, needless travel in individual gas-powered vehicles and the northeast’s stubborn refusal to give up fossil fuel based heating are killing billions of people and the planet.

But of course the money pumped by capitalists to provide disinformation campaigns serves to obscufate and confuse the issue and the people who will suffer the effects of global warming if nothing is done to change the current trajectory.  The bleating of the combined efforts of the oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy consortiums usually go something like this headline and tagline from a article out of the Spectator on 1/04/12:

“Wind farms vs wildlife: The shocking environmental cost of renewable energy

Why is the public not more aware of this carnage? First, because the wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological organisations) has gone to great trouble to cover it up – to the extent of burying the corpses of victims. Second, because the ongoing obsession with climate change means that many environmentalists are turning a blind eye to the ecological costs of renewable energy.”

Because of course, renewable energy hurts more than the fossil fuel consumption now currently in use.  Again, where is the invisible hand?  Locked behind someone’s back and wrapped around a bundle of currency we’d hazard to guess.

Capitalism represents an outdated, outmoded and now nearly out-run system that threatens to slowly strangle us in our own capital based consumption, unless of course we as a people begin to take the steps to change their habits and their priorities.  Capital will not save us; we will.

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