All over my area of New Hampshire a new crop is popping out of the ground. It’s called the “NO NORTHERN PASS” sign. What is Northern Pass you ask? It’s a project by Northeast Utilities and NSTAR. These corporations want to build 180 mile line of towers, 130 feet high and a corridor to 410 feet in width through New Hampshire’s forests of 31 towns, from Quebec to Franklin, New Hampshire. The purpose is to bring hydro power to southern New England. New Hampshire will not be able to access the power running through our forest.
From my research this is what I’ve come across:
[The project is] a jointly owned venture of Connecticut based Northeast Utilities and Massachusetts based NSTAR, both public utility companies, seeks Presidential Permit approval to construct an above-ground, 140 mile long 350 kV HVDC power transmission line to transmit up to 1200 MW of hydro-electric power generated by Hydro-Quebec, located in Canada, to a power converter station located in Franklin, NH. The HVDC will then be converted to AC and connected to a network power distribution grid in Deerfield, NH for further distribution. Pursuant to 18 C.F.R. § 385.214 and the Application for Presidential Permit-Northern Pass Transmission LLC, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) respectfully moves to intervene in opposition to the Application as submitted in the above-captioned proceeding. (source)
The transmission line would enter NH from Quebec near Pittsburg, NH, requiring 45 miles of new corridor; traverse approximately 10 miles of the White Mountain National Forest, crossing the Appalachian Trail and passing within 4 miles of Lonesome Lake Hut and within a 1/2-mile of Eliza Brook shelter; (source).
A paper published by Robert Johnson of Smarter Grid Consulting*, a consulting company dedicated to fact based research and analysis, states this about the Northern Pass project, “The bottom line is a private company is asking New Hampshire to provide a right of way through its National Forests and wild lands, diminishing its economically important tourist trade and depriving citizens of their lands; to what end?” (source)
There is lots of opposition to Northern Pass for a variety of reasons. Many feel it’ll be a scar on the landscape thus reducing tourist dollars (the second largest employer in NH). Some oppose because the power companies will be able to use eminent domain to acquire the properties along the route. Opposition also comes from those who use the land to employ themselves such as loggers. Still more opposition comes from those who feel the US should not rely on foreign power as will be the case. Me? Well, I oppose it for all the reasons above. And because it’ll run through my place of worship: the northern woods.
I stated all this when I called my elected officials last week. First I touched upon how it’ll run right through my town, how it’ll create short term jobs but not long term ones, be a scar on our landscape, and how I feel getting off our electric addiction is important. One official asked me what my solution is to the US’ increased power needs so I explained how all our electronic gadgets are not necessary, they are desired to keep up with the Jones’ and that the answer is LESS not MORE. (Sound a little familiar? Need and want: This discussion fits nicely into that post!)
Mostly, however, “it would destroy my place of worship. No one would think of putting a tower on Saint Paul’s in Franklin” I said “why would you think of putting a tower in the place I commune with my deities?” Not one official had a response to that.
At the same time, I responded to Northern Pass EIS’ online survey:
I oppose the Northern Pass.
Aside from the fact New Hampshire will not benefit from the electricity carried through to southern New England states, and aside from the fact 140 foot towers will be built to suspend the lines in the air, and aside from the fact my property will be affected, I think it’s high time the US starts solving their own damned energy problems instead of relying on foreign energy to power our PDAs, cellphones, TVs, computers, and other electric devices such as dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, and blow dryers.
Local power sources, including water, solar, and wind are the answer to the power riddle. And, more importantly, reducing corporate, governmental, and individuals power needs is really what our planet and local fauna and flora need not 180 miles of towers defiling our planet.
This project will not just scar New Hampshire. It’ll scar Quebec also. And, if an alternative route is taken to build the towers, then Vermont may well be damaged. I don’t want an alternative route because I don’t want to see any of our landscape desecrated. Rather, I would like to see this project scrapped all together. Reducing our energy needs is the answer not increasing them.
Lots and lots of resources for you to peruse:
Town of Holderness (PDF)
Northern Pass YouTube
Edited to add: if you are looking for No Northern Pass signs and other paraphernalia, please contact Atta Girls Record. They have all the swag you need to oppose Northern Pass.