$7.5 million to directly support new jobs in Coös County
Lancaster, NH. August 19, 2013 – The Northern Pass project, a proposed transmission line carrying low-cost renewable hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and New England, today announced the creation of a $7.5 million jobs creation fund aimed specifically at increasing employment in the state’s North Country.
An advisory group made up of Coös County business and economic development leaders and elected officials will soon be formed; and it will ultimately decide what jobs creation efforts will be funded, and at what amounts.
“It is absolutely essential that we create real, full-time jobs here in the North Country,” said realtor and former state senator John Gallus of Berlin. “This fund must be controlled by local residents who are best positioned to know where investments should be made to help create new jobs.”
Following months of discussions with local leaders and business people about economic challenges in Coös County, the emphasis of the fund will be on the direct creation of jobs in the county. The sole focus will be working locally to support existing businesses that are expanding or renovating, or helping attract new businesses to the county.
“Over the years, a lot of money meant to help businesses sustain or create jobs is lost in writing studies and other efforts that don’t actually create jobs for the people here. The unique aspect of this fund is that it will help assure that the jobs it creates are held by people here in the North Country, and not consultants studying the issue,” said Allen Bouthillier, of A.B. Logging, Inc., Lancaster.
“Nothing is more important to Coös County then creating good jobs with benefits for the people that live here,” said Coös County Commissioner and Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier. “This fund will help create an environment that supports businesses and job creation.”
The fund will receive $1 million at the time Northern Pass receives acceptable federal and state permits and actual construction commences, and $500,000 each year thereafter, until it has received $7.5 million total. In the meantime, Northern Pass has agreed to provide the local advisory group with up to $200,000 in seed money to begin its work.
“In our discussions with the residents of Coös County, it’s clear that they believe creating a strong economy in northern New Hampshire will involve a variety of approaches,” said Gary Long, President – New Hampshire Renewable Energy Policy Development at Northeast Utilities. “These efforts may include supporting efforts to create small businesses, providing the infrastructure to support larger businesses, and investing in the local tax base to make the area attractive for business creation or relocation. Northern Pass is part of that effort, and this separate jobs initiative, led by North Country residents, will offer great assistance in achieving their long term goals.”
The Northern Pass project recently announced a new proposed route in the North Country and has submitted an amended permit application to the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2014, a permit application will be filed with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee which will initiate a separate permitting process. Meantime, the project has scheduled a series of Open House events in towns near and along the route. Details on the project can be found at northernpass.us.