On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released their Scoping Report Alternatives Addendum, marking another important step in the rigorous permitting process for the Northern Pass project. The document lists alternatives to the currently proposed project that DOE will evaluate and address in its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The agency has indicated it plans to issue this draft EIS by December of this year.
DOE’s comprehensive list of alternatives reflects the many public comments the agency has received. The careful evaluation of these alternatives helps to ensure a robust review of the Northern Pass project and moves the region closer to addressing its critical energy needs. We appreciate DOE’s thorough consideration of public comments, environmental issues and alternatives, and look forward to seeing them addressed in the draft EIS.
In the meantime, we continue to meet with New Hampshire residents and stakeholders to solicit their input, and to work responsively on concerns they may have. A recent state-wide issues survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire for the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce shows an all-time high level of support for the project, and indicates that the increase in support is directly related to increasing familiarity with the Northern Pass.
Yesterday’s announcement by DOE reemphasizes just how thorough the agency must be in order to accurately assess the environmental, technical, and economic impacts of various construction options. We continue to believe that the currently proposed route for the Northern Pass is the best option which uses existing transmission corridors for almost 80 percent of the route. In the northern-most part of the state where a new 40 mile corridor is needed, the project is proposing eight miles of underground construction, with the remaining 32 miles to be built using structures that are designed and located as much as practicable to minimize visibility (e.g., behind the tree line).
We are encouraged to see the process is moving forward and is mindful of the public’s input. We remain confident that the Northern Pass will meet the high standards for both federal and state permitting, and, in a few years, will be in a position to help solve the emerging energy crisis in New Hampshire and the region.