The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued an order yesterday outlining procedures for the rest of the Northern Pass hearing schedule that could affect the date of the final decision. We appreciate the SEC’s efforts to ensure the remainder of the hearings are not, as they state, “bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.” The SEC further concludes that it would be “unreasonable” to accept the amount of time requested by interveners. We are encouraged that the SEC is taking steps to ensure efficiency for the balance of the proceedings and remain hopeful that the process will be complete earlier than the recently announced March deadline.
Excerpts from the procedural order:
- “At the third prehearing conference, the intervenors indicated a desire to conduct cross-examination for 235 hours–the equivalent of 39 additional hearing days. The intervenors’ estimates suggest that there is an intention to engage in improper friendly cross-examination.”
- “Something must be done, however, to ensure that the proceedings are not bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”
- “In some types of matters, friendly cross-examination is used to repeat points made in prefiled testimony or to provide a witness the opportunity to testify about matters not addressed in the prefiled direct testimony. In this case, however, both tactics are unnecessary to ensure a full and true disclosure of facts.”
- “…it is unreasonable to accept the estimates provided by the intervenors for friendly cross-examination of the witnesses for a number of other parties.”
- “…the presiding officer may limit ‘irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious cross-examination or cross-examination that is not required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.’”
- “…the hours of the day may be extended in the Chair’s discretion.”