View Full Version : Northern Pass Power Project in the Whites - why you should care

07-24-2015, 16:53
There is a proposal for a major electric power line running from the Canadian Border to southern NH. In the way is the AT and WMNF. NH is net exporter of power currently so the power on this line is just heading through the state on its way to southern New England. There are a couple of options, the cheap one involves cutting a 300 foot wide strip through the state where there isn't a right of way and widening an existing right of way where there is one and putting in far higher more obtrusive towers. The more expensive one buries the line along existing road ways. The burial option also keeps the lines safe from New England Ice Storms which are happening with more frequency. The cheap way happens to run right through the White Mountain National Forest and across the AT just south of South Kinsman (actually just south of Eliza Brook Shelter). The cut swath will be visible from numerous spots on the forest. It also has the highest short term and long term impact to the woods. The line is in violation of several USFS management goals and will requires changing the forest plan to allow it. The burial option runs along the Franconia parkway and crosses the AT next to the highway. Its impact will be fairly minimal compared to the South Kinsman above ground crossing.

A competing project through Vermont buries the line either under Lake Champlain or next to roads, its is being permitted with little controversy and the developer is making long term commitments to the state to share some profits with the state of VT. The NH project has been playing dirty with back room deals the norm with the utility's owner somehow keeping the revenue away the ratepayers who bought the existing right of ways through their power bills (and one major bailout of the utility with another one starting soon).

These two projects are in excess of billion dollar projects but the potential revenue is significant as it pumps Canadian hydro into the grid. Hydro is usually regarded as one of the cleaner power sources but the Hydro Quebec projects are regarded as "brown" power by many as they effectively flood large areas of northern Quebec and the native tribes who live there.

Here is link to the draft EIS, http://nhpr.org/post/feds-release-first-look-environmental-impact-northern-pass its a beast but with a bit of searching in the appendixes you can see the impact to the AT and WMNF.

Anyone can comment but the comment period is short, 90 days. The hope is that if enough comments are received, the line will at least be buried in the whites and areas where right of ways don't exist.