The Forest Service says project is in “public interest” and provides “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the Forest
Manchester, N.H. (January 8, 2018) – The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has released its final Record of Decision (ROD) allowing Northern Pass Transmission to bury approximately eleven miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). The decision is the result of a thorough environmental analysis and public engagement process led by two WMNF supervisors over a seven-year period, and comes on the heels of a Record of Decision and Presidential Permit issued by the U.S. Department of Energy late last year. The USFS will issue the necessary Special Use Authorization to allow the project to be buried within the WMNF. With these approvals secured, the project is well-positioned to begin construction in mid-2018, and to bring an additional 1,090 MW of much-needed clean hydroelectric power into the region by late 2020.
“We appreciate the diligent work done by the USFS and WMNF staff over the years, and are gratified that they have concluded the benefits of Northern Pass more than outweigh the short-term construction impacts on the Forest,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan. “When we proposed an underground cable for the WMNF portion of the route, we believed it was the best option for the Forest and for New Hampshire. We’re pleased to see that the USFS agrees.”
The Forest Service notes that Northern Pass will increase the reliability of New England’s power supply, by reducing reliance on imported natural gas; help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with public policy goals and the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan; and, provide “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the WMNF.
Highlights from the Final ROD include:
In 2015, Northern Pass announced an improved route that included 52 additional miles of underground to avoid any potential view impacts in and around the WMNF or along the Appalachian Trail. The final ROD supports the project’s conclusion that burial along Interstate 93 is not a reasonable alternative, and states that the improved route “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”