Posted on September 19th, 2016 by

Northern Pass experts will be in Concord on Monday to answer questions about the orderly development of the project, including Northern Pass’ property tax impact and environmental issues.

The experts will appear before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee 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 project experts include:

Robert Varney, the President of Normandeau Associates, an environmental science consulting firm based in Bedford, NH.  Mr. Varney has worked on a number of climate, clean energy, and conservation initiatives throughout his career, and served as the Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for New England and as the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services from 1989 to 2001.

Lisa Shapiro is the Chief Economist at Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell in Concord, N.H., and has approximately 20 years of experience in analyzing New Hampshire property taxes.  She provided the Northern Pass Transmission Project with information on the estimated property tax payments to New Hampshire communities, and the direct impacts on local communities generated by the construction and operation of the project.

Dr. James Chalmers is the Principal of Chalmers & Associations LLC in Billings, Montana, and is an economist, appraiser, and nationally recognized expert in assessing the impacts of large-scale infrastructure projects on the value of real estate.

Mitch Nichols, the Founder and President of Nichols Tourism Group in Bellingham, Washington, has more than 20 years of experience working with and analyzing tourism destinations across the country. He has worked with numerous states, including New Hampshire, to develop a long-range tourism strategic plan and an assessment of its identity in the tourism marketplace.

Some key points regarding Northern Pass and its relation to orderly development include:

  • By using transmission corridors and existing roadways for more than 83 percent of the route and locating substantial portions of the project underground, Northern Pass is following sound planning and environmental principles that reinforces local patterns of development and minimizes environmental impacts
  • Of the 32 miles of new right-of-way (ROW) along the 192-mile route, 24 are in a working forest and forest management within this area will continue uninterrupted after construction
  • Northern Pass will improve air quality, public health and the environment, and help address climate change by reducing pollutants such as NOx, SO2, and CO2 emissions that affect New Hampshire and the New England region, consistent with national, regional, and state air quality and climate change goals
  • Infrastructure associated with Northern Pass will increase the local tax base across the 31 host communities by approximately 11 percent
  • There is no evidence that high-voltage transmission lines result in consistent measurable effects on property values. Where there are effects, they are small and decrease rapidly with distance
  • Northern Pass will not have a measurable effect on New Hampshire’s tourism industry
  • There are no published studies that address the quantitative impacts of transmission lines to a destination’s tourism industry
  • It is the collective mix of destination attributes that influences visitors’ choice of destination, and the presence of power lines is of very low importance in that mix
  • The project will not interfere with the orderly development of the region and any potential effect on land use is minimal. The project’s impact on the local economy and jobs is positive

You can find additional information about construction of the project, as well as the pre-filed testimony from the above experts, on the Northern Pass website. Technical Sessions will continue throughout September. You can find a schedule for all the Technical Sessions here.


Posted on September 19th, 2016 by

Posted In: Environment, Meetings, Property, SEC