Posted on September 20th, 2016 by

Northern Pass experts will be available on Tuesday to answer questions about how the project relates to the local and regional environment. They will discuss environmental studies related to the project as well as how Northern Pass is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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, is President of Normandeau Associates, an environmental science consulting firm based in Bedford.  Mr. Varney has worked on a number of climate, clean energy, and conservation initiatives throughout his career; and he 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.

Jake Tinus is Project Manager in the Environmental Studies and Permitting Global Practice for Burns & McDonnell Engineering and has 15 years of experience related to permitting and monitoring projects that involve altering and restoring wetlands, water bodies, and other natural resources. He has previously consulted on these issues for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

Lee Carbonneau is Senior Principal Scientist in the Wetlands/Terrestrial Group and assistant project manager for Normandeau Associates, where she also serves as the permitting lead for Northern Pass. She has worked in the natural resource field for her entire professional career and has worked on more than100 projects with Narmandeau Associates. Ms. Carbonneau is a Professional Wetland Scientist with the Society of Wetland Scientists, and a Certified Wetland Scientist with the New Hampshire Association of Natural Resource Scientists.

Dennis Magee is Vice President at Normandeau Associates and conducted analysis on the potential impacts Northern Pass could have on rare plants and rare or unusual natural communities. Mr. Magee has more than 40 years of experience as a botanist, has authored four reference books on vegetation, and has been a principal investigator or program manager on several hundred projects occurring in offshore coastal, intertidal, riverine, lacustrine, freshwater wetland, and terrestrial environments.

Dr. Sarah Barnum is a Senior Wildlife Ecologist at Normandeau Associates and holds a Ph.D. in Planning, with an emphasis in conservation. She has more than 20 years of professional experience, including working on the Deer Project for Vermont Fish and Wildlife, as an environmental planner for the Colorado Department of Transportation, and as the Vice President of Conservation for New Hampshire Audubon. She is author of the report “Northern Pass Transmission Project Wildlife Report and Impact Assessment October 2015.”

Hydropower from Canada is one of the lowest greenhouse gas-emitting energy options available. Emissions from hydropower are similar to those of wind energy, 5 times less than solar, 50 times less than natural gas, and 70 times less than coal. Other key points about the environmental impact of Northern Pass include:

  • 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
  • More than 83 percent of the proposed route will be along existing transmission corridors or will be buried under public roadways, thus resulting in reduced potential environmental and visual effects
  • Northern Pass has planned, routed, designed, and engineered the project to protect water quality by carefully avoiding resource impacts, and minimizing impacts where total avoidance is not possible. The project will follow NHDES and EPA requirements regarding water quality, and employ best management practices
  • Avoidance and minimization of impacts to wetlands, streams, vernal pools, and other natural and cultural resources was an essential element of route selection, project design, and developing the construction management plan
  • Northern Pass is focused on avoiding and minimizing potential impacts to wildlife throughout the course of route selection, siting, and design. The project has developed extensive wildlife impact avoidance and minimization measures, and will comply with any additional permit conditions. These conditions will be included in the project plans and construction management plans, and environmental monitors will be responsible for ensuring that construction contractors abide by these measures and conditions
  • Unavoidable impacts to habitat resources will be mitigated through habitat restoration, conservation, and protection, including proposing to place parcels with wildlife habitat value under conservation easements

If more time is needed, the panel of environmental experts will meet again on Thursday, September 22. You can find additional information about the environmental aspects 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. View a schedule of all the Technical Sessions here.

Posted on September 20th, 2016 by

Posted In: Environment, Meetings, SEC