Last week, a Maine-based company called Conservation Media Group released a blatantly misleading video that uses heavily doctored images in an attempt to pressure Concord city officials into opposing the project. The video does not identify who is paying for the spot. The partners in this deceptive video are only revealed by clicking on a link and scrolling to the bottom of a separate page. These partners include the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Appalachian Mountain Club.
This is not the first time professional opposition groups have produced a misleading video, but it is arguably the most egregious. A number of sections of this video are inaccurate, misleading or manipulative, including shots where existing power lines were removed from the image.
Northern Pass has hired an independent firm to prepare professional view impact assessments as part of its New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee approval process. The opposition groups that produced this latest video have made no effort to meet such professional standards.
Instead, and unfortunately, opponents have taken the unethical approach of doctoring photographs and misrepresenting facts in an attempt to further mislead the public. New Hampshire and the region face tremendous challenges in the cost of electricity, lack of fuel diversity, and dwindling energy supplies. Residents and ratepayers deserve better than to have those issues distorted for political or fundraising purposes.
Here are some examples of the deceptive nature of this latest video by opposition groups:
The scene that is apparently most intended to shock viewers also happens to be the most blatantly inaccurate. At the 42-second mark, we see a string of structures pop up around a small playground.
Truth is, as seen below in an undoctored image, that playground was built directly underneath several power lines that have been there for decades and are clearly visible today. These power lines do not appear in the video because the video producers deliberately photoshopped those lines out of the shot.
At the 15-second mark, a string of transmission structures pop up from the ground. These are not the same kind of structures that will be used in Concord, nor is it clear this land is even located in Concord. A factual representation of the Concord structures has been provided to Concord by Northern Pass and is posted on the city’s website. During the same scene, “1500 Towers” appears on screen, leaving the casual observer with the impression that this is the number of structures to be built in Concord. In fact, this is a reference to the total number of structures along the entire 187 mile Northern Pass proposed route. Not the 8.1 miles in Concord.
The New Hampshire State House is shown at the 33-second mark as the video discusses possible impact to the city, however, the Northern Pass line will not be visible from the state Capitol grounds, nor from any portion of the downtown area. The closest the project will come to the State House is 2.3 miles, and that section of the project is within a commercially developed area.
At both the 28 and 30-second marks of the video, the viewer is given the impression that the Northern Pass line will be visible from the Canterbury Shaker Village and the Tilton Arch in Northfield. Neither location is in Concord, as the text implies, and neither location will have a view of the Northern Pass line.
The video also includes images of questionable origin, including at the 1:04-mark. While we cannot definitively say where this shot was taken, we do know this is not a right-of-way in New Hampshire.