Posted on September 15th, 2016 by

Northern Pass experts will be available to answer questions on Thursday about their research of the historical and archaeological resources along the 192-mile Northern Pass route. The research includes an inventory of historical buildings, archaeological surveys, and other studies.

The experts will appear before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) as part of its ongoing review of the project, known as Technical Sessions. These informal hearings are an opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state review process to ask questions of the project.

The two experts are scheduled to speak Thursday are:

Cherilyn Widell, President of Widell Preservation Services in Chestertown, Maryland, who has worked in the field of historic preservation throughout the United States and internationally for 40 years. Among her work, Ms. Widell served as the federal preservation officer for the Presidio Trust—the federal agency responsible for the conversion of the Presidio of San Francisco from an Army post to a National Park. She conducted assessments of the potential effects that the Northern Pass project may have on above-ground historic properties and cultural landscapes in New Hampshire.

Dr. Victoria Bunker is the owner and principle investigator at Victoria Bunker, Inc., archeological consultants in Alton, NH. She has more than 35 years of experience in New England archeology, and is listed as qualified to conduct archeological surveys in New Hampshire by the NH Division of Historical Resources. In her career, Dr. Bunker has conducted regional research surveys in the Lamprey, Merrimack, Pemigewasset and Mad River Valleys and throughout the White Mountain National Forest. Dr. Bunker conducted archaeological assessments for Northern Pass.

The review of the potential impact of the Northern Pass project on historic and archeological resources is required under the state’s energy project siting laws, and also by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Key points of Widell and Bunker’s findings include:

  • The project will have no unreasonable adverse effect on historic resources
  • The experts’ assessments have been used in the planning process by project engineers to help avoid and minimize the impact to historic resources
  • Widell assessed the project’s potential effect on historic resources, working closely with Preservation Company of Kensington, NH, mapping and cataloguing 1,284 properties within the project’s Area of Potential Effect for the overhead portion of the route
  • 194 of those properties were then subject to more intense analysis because they met the National Register of Historic Places age and integrity eligibility criteria and are potentially in view of the project. Of these properties, 12 might be adversely effected by the project, mostly indirectly
  • Northern Pass will not create an adverse effect of the National Historic Landmarks, the Webster Farm and Daniel Webster Family Home. The project will have indirect visual effects on the Weeks Estate, but that will not cause it to be removed from the National Register of Historic Places because of a loss of integrity
  • Victoria Bunker, Inc. has assessed the entire project route to identify archeologically sensitive areas and archeological sites. Bunker has concluded that the project has substantially avoided impact to archeological resources, and that there will be no unreasonable adverse effect to such resources
  • To address any impact, Northern Pass will undertake all mitigation measures as required by the SEC and DOE, in consultation with NH Department of Historical Resources and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as part of the Section 106 process

For more information, you can view Widell and Bunker’s pre-filed testimonies in Northern Pass’ application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee. Technical Sessions will continue throughout September. You can find a schedule for all the Technical Sessions here.


Posted on September 15th, 2016 by

Posted In: Meetings, SEC