Posted on May 1st, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will hear from a panel of six experts this week about details relating to the construction of Northern Pass.

The final hearings, which began in April, will continue May 1-4 with Kenneth Bowes, Eversource Vice President of Engineering who is responsible for engineering activities for Eversource’s electric transmission and distribution system. The Construction Panel will also include Samuel Johnson, lead Project Manager for the Northern Pass Transmission project; Derrick Bradstreet, Project Manager for Burns & McDonnell Engineering and the lead design engineer for the project; Nathan Scott, Senior Transmission Engineer for Burns & McDonnell Engineering and the underground project manager and lead engineer responsible for the electrical design of the three underground segments of the Northern Pass HVDC transmission line; John Kayser, Project Manager in the Transmission and Distribution division at Burns & McDonnell Engineering; and Lynn Farrington, a licensed Professional Traffic Operations Engineer for Louis Berger of Portland, Maine, who is advising Northern Pass on traffic impacts that may occur temporarily during construction.

Key points that will likely be discussed will include:

  • The project’s objective is to provide clean, renewable, competitively-priced electricity for consumers in New Hampshire and the rest of New England
  • The project will be constructed in areas where Northern Pass will have obtained the necessary regulatory approval for use of public highways, state lands and waters, lease of PSNH ROWs, or has otherwise already secured the right to use land pursuant to leases with private landowners
  • The construction of Northern Pass will be managed and constructed by several specialty contractors who were selected through a bid process based on years of experience in managing and constructing high-voltage transmission lines and substation facilities throughout New England and the United States
  • Northern Pass and Eversource have a project labor agreement (PLA) with its contractors, which outlines their firm commitment to hiring local, New Hampshire workers first and to developing strong working relationships with both large and small contractors who are either union or non-union
  • Construction of the line and all facilities will be done in accordance with the best practices outlined by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (www.nerc.com), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), and other state and federal agencies
  • Construction of the project will occur at more than one location simultaneously and will include locations where it will be necessary to cross or work adjacent to rivers, highways, railroads, gas pipelines or other utilities. Each of these locations will be planned and coordinated with the appropriate agencies and in compliance with applicable permits, plans, specifications, codes and regulations. The work will be planned and performed by qualified contractors using appropriate procedures, equipment and personnel with the necessary technical expertise
  • Northern Pass will provide field inspectors responsible for auditing the various construction contractors who will report directly to the Project Manager of Construction, as is typical with projects of this size
  • The project has made it a priority to reach out to key stakeholders, public officials, business leaders, municipal officials, the general public, businesses and landowners along the route to discuss the project’s status, explain the permitting and construction processes, and to solicit constructive feedback on the route and other project initiatives through a variety of means. All interactions are captured in the project database and forwarded onto project team members as necessary
  • Northern Pass is dedicated to working with local communities, businesses, and the public during construction and restoration phases to explain the status and progress of the project and to resolve landowner and municipal issues if they occur
  • The design of the overhead portion of the Northern Pass line follows the height and clearance requirements of National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), which sets forth the minimum requirements for transmission lines in the United States
  • Northern Pass has created Traffic Control Plans that have been reviewed by NHDOT. The Project will work with NHDOT and local officials to implement the plans safely and communicate with the public about potential interruptions due to construction, as well as plans to manage and mitigate these effects. The project will also submit a Traffic Management Plan prior to construction and work with NHDOT and local officials to implement the plans, once approved, and communicate with the public about potential interruptions

Posted on May 1st, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on April 18th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s (SEC) final hearings on Northern Pass continue today with a look at how the project relates to public health and safety.

Today’s hearing will include Dr. William Bailey, the Principal Scientist at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Risk Assessment at Exponent, Inc., and internationally recognized expert in the potential effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs); Dr. Gary Johnson, a Senior Managing Scientist in Exponent’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science practice who modeled the electric and magnetic fields, audible noise, and radio noise from the existing lines and from the Northern Pass Transmission Project; and Douglas Bell, a Senior Principal Consultant and President at Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc., with 25 years of experience evaluating environmental sound and who conducted sound surveys along the proposed Northern Pass route.

The proposed Northern Pass project includes a 158-mile direct current (DC) transmission line that will run from the Canadian border to Franklin, and a 34-mile alternating current (AC) line that will run from a converter station in Franklin to a substation in Deerfield. EMFs are present around any electric power line, whether it carries DC or AC electricity, and today’s experts will discuss how these EMFs relate to the route’s surrounding area.

Key points that will likely be discussed will include:

  • The project will have no unreasonable adverse effect on public health and safety
  • Since the 1970s, numerous scientific studies have examined the potential for long-term effects of exposure to EMFs with frequencies of 60-Hz in North America and 50-Hz in Europe. None of the reviews conducted by the following agencies concluded that exposure to static electric and magnetic fields and space charge at levels associated with the proposed project would pose a likely health threat to the public:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)

International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES)

National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB)

Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)

S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • At the edges of the right-of-way and beyond, the levels of static fields and 60-Hz EMF levels are within the range of levels commonly encountered from other sources, and are all below applicable limits in guidelines designed to protect public health
  • Neither the AC nor DC portions of the Northern Pass line will create EMFs, space charge, radio noise or audible noise that will exceed relevant guidelines or have an unreasonable adverse effect on public health and safety
  • If proper protocols are observed, project noise will not have an appreciable impact at sensitive receptors during construction and will comply with SEC precedent.

Posted on April 18th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on April 12th, 2017 by

Final hearings on the Northern Pass begin tomorrow, launching the last phase of the state permitting process before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) returns its decision on the project.

The final hearings will begin with testimony from Bill Quinlan, the Eversource President of NH Operations, who will discuss the considerable benefits Northern Pass will bring to New Hampshire, including economic development and jobs programs, energy savings, tax revenue, an increase in New Hampshire’s GDP, as well as significant environmental benefits.

Other project details that will be discussed include:

  • Northern Pass is designed to bring a reliable source of competitively priced, clean, renewable hydropower into the region, thereby delivering energy savings as well as environmental and economic benefits to New Hampshire and the New England region
  • Northern Pass is committed to a “New Hampshire First” approach, which will ensure that new jobs created by the project are made available to New Hampshire workers first
  • The project will improve the Coös Transmission Loop, which will enhance the electric system in the North Country and unlock up to 100 MWs of existing and future sources of renewable energy for the state and region
  • As part of the Forward New Hampshire Plan, Northern Pass has made a commitment to provide $200 million in funding over the first 20 years of operation to the Forward NH Fund in support of economic development, community betterment, tourism, and clean energy innovation, with particular emphasis on host communities and the North Country. Northern Pass has made a few advance funding commitments to time-sensitive projects that are aligned with the purposes of the Forward NH Fund
  • The Forward NH Fund Board of Directors and Advisory Boards will include municipal, community and business leaders, representatives of clean energy and environmental organizations, and North Country leaders.
  • NPT has conducted extensive outreach to communities, landowners and businesses along the route, and will continue this outreach throughout the construction process.
  • Northern Pass and Hydro-Québec anticipate submitting a proposal to the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP. Regardless of the outcome of the solicitation, New Hampshire customers will not bear any of the expenses but will still experience substantial benefits from the project
  • The project, as proposed, provides the appropriate balance among several important considerations, including project costs, public concerns over iconic view sheds, environmental and economic impacts, as well as technical feasibility and the availability of land rights necessary to support the project

Posted on April 12th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on March 29th, 2017 by

The Northern Pass permitting process continues to advance, with final hearings beginning in two weeks, on April 13.  The hearings are conducted by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and are the last step in the state siting process before the SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass.  The final hearings follow the recently completed “discovery phase,” which involved several months of technical sessions.

The final hearings are formal legal proceedings, during which testimony will be presented by Northern Pass and project experts to the SEC, including data on benefits, construction procedures, environmental impact, and other aspects of the project.  The Counsel for the Public and interveners will also provide witness testimony at this stage.  Witnesses for all parties will be subject to cross-examination. The dates of the final hearings are available on the SEC website under the Northern Pass docket.

The commencement of final hearings in April follows a series of important milestones and achievements for Northern Pass, which include:

  • The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) issued four key approvals of the project, pertaining to the Wetland, Shoreland and Alteration of Terrain permits, and the 401 Water Quality Certificate.  The approvals are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the SEC, and according to DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application
  • As part of the permitting process for the Northern Pass transmission project, the NH SEC has held 40 technical sessions – these sessions are an informal opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state review process to ask and answer questions
  • Northern Pass submitted an updated economic analysis to the NH SEC showing that the project will reduce wholesale energy costs in New England by more than $600 million annually, and eliminate more than 3 million tons of carbon emissions in the region each year
  • Northern Pass secured a key regulatory approval as ISO New England officially determined that the clean energy project can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission granted Northern Pass utility status, determining that the project has the technical, managerial, and financial expertise to operate as a public utility once the project is fully permitted, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so
  • Eversource and Hydro-Québec filed a power purchase agreement (PPA) that ensures Eversource customers in New Hampshire will receive a substantial supply of clean energy from Northern Pass
  • Northern Pass and its contractors completed engineering, or geotechnical, field investigations along the underground portions of the proposed project route – a required step in the permitting process to support the progression of a project’s design
  • Northern Pass submitted an advanced design to the NH Department of Transportation for the portions of the project that will be buried under or adjacent to the roadway
  • Northern Pass secured agreements with a highly experienced team of contractors and material suppliers who will execute the engineering, design and construction of the transmission line
  • The NH SEC and the U.S. Department of Energy held a series of public meetings across New Hampshire to gather feedback as part of their respective permitting processes
  • Business leaders from across the state announced their support for Northern Pass in a joint statement to the NH SEC. The diverse group of New Hampshire businesses, including some of the state’s largest employers, urged elected officials to join them as they support the Forward NH Plan, and the “direct economic and unparalleled environmental benefits it will provide to the people and businesses of New Hampshire”
  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in favor of Northern Pass – confirming that the proposal by Northern Pass to use public highways for underground installation of electric transmission lines is clearly allowed under state law

 

 


Posted on March 29th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on March 16th, 2017 by

There has recently been inaccurate information initiated by opponents of the project regarding the agreement between Northern Pass Transmission and Hydro‑Québec. The information below is intended to set the record straight.  As we have stated previously, New Hampshire consumers will not pay for any costs associated with the project.

  • The Transmission Service Agreement (“TSA”) between Northern Pass Transmission, LLC (“NPT”) and H.Q. Hydro Renewable Energy, Inc. (“HQ”), which specifies the terms for recovery of costs as well as the rights and obligations of each of the Parties to this Agreement, for each project phase (from project development through to construction and use) of the proposed Northern Pass transmission line, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) and remains in full force and effect today.
  • The term of the TSA began on the original execution date of October 4, 2010 and continues 40 years from the time NPT begins commercial operation, unless it is terminated earlier.
  • The Forest Society is incorrect in alleging that the TSA expired on February 14, 2017. That date was an Approval Deadline that could be extended by mutual agreement of all parties. In fact, the Approval Deadline was extended earlier this year by written agreement between NPT and HQ. Accordingly, the extension of the Approval Deadline was fully consistent with the terms and conditions of the already approved TSA.
  • Recognizing the large and growing demand for clean energy in the region, New England states have recently been seeking long-term contracts for clean energy resources. The next significant opportunity will occur this spring when Massachusetts will seek proposals for large quantities of clean energy that can be delivered to customers. Through this RFP process, successful projects will receive contracts with Massachusetts utilities. Depending on the outcome of the MA RFP, the TSA will be modified and/or complemented by one or more other agreements. However, it is premature to speculate further until the RFP outcome is determined.

Posted on March 16th, 2017 by

Posted In: Updates

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Posted on March 7th, 2017 by

Volunteers participate in the Buckthorn Blitz at College Woods on the UNH Durham campus.

Volunteers participate in the Buckthorn Blitz at College Woods on the UNH Durham campus.

Annual report shows results of conservation and restoration projects throughout the state

The eight conservation and restoration projects funded in 2016 by Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife are boasting significant results, according to the initiative’s 2016 annual report. The local organizations that received grant funding last year have opened 148 miles of streams, removed eight barriers to fish passage, assessed nearly 11,000 acres of forest, and restored 1,431 acres of forest. The effort also utilized the help of 230 volunteers, making these more than grant projects, but also community conservation programs.

Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife is the result of a partnership involving Eversource, Northern Pass and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Eversource, through its subsidiary Northern Pass, has committed $3 million to conservation and restoration of key habitats and species. Through Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife, NFWF works with a variety of stakeholders — private landowners, government agencies, academic institutions and conservation groups — to cultivate science-based conservation strategies and cost-effective on-the-ground projects. Since launching in 2015, Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife has funded a total of 17 projects that, including NFWF and grantee matches, resulted in $4.7 million dedicated to conservation and restoration in and around the state.

The 2016 projects include:

Restoring stream banks and improving forest management to benefit Eastern brook trout in Belknap County
Improving habitats for pollinators, including the monarch butterfly and various species of bees in transmission line corridors
Analyzing young forest restoration and management to ensure best practices are being used to protect conservation-priority species, including New England cottontail, golden-winged warbler, prairie warbler, blue-winged warbler, Eastern towhee and brown thrasher The Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife Annual report is now available online at http://www.nfwf.org/eversourcepartners. It includes a summary of all the 2016 grant initiatives. Later this year, the Partners will also include information about 2017 grants, made available through a request for proposals (RFP) process.

 

Updated Analysis of Northern Pass

An update to the Northern Pass economic and environmental analysis shows that the project will reduce wholesale energy costs in New Hampshire by $63 million annually, and eliminate up to 3.2 million tons of carbon emissions in the region each year. The wholesale energy price reductions will ultimately flow to customers as retail energy cost savings. The significant reduction in emissions will help New England states achieve clean air goals.

“…LEI’s modeling update demonstrates that Northern Pass will deliver significant benefits to ratepayers in the form of lower electricity costs, carbon emissions reduction, and a more efficient system…”
London Economics International Updated Analysis, February 2017

The study, done by London Economics International (LEI) and filed with the NH Site Evaluation Committee as part of the project’s ongoing state permitting process, provides an update to a 2015 LEI study that showed similar CO2 emission reductions and average regional economic savings of about $800 million annually.

 

Quick Facts

New Hampshire consumers will:
• Not pay any costs associated with Northern Pass
• Receive hundreds of millions of benefits unique to NH
• Save about $63 million

 

Increase In CO2 Emissions Shows Need For Low-Carbon Power

ISO-NE report reveals closing of nuclear plants caused increase in fossil fuel use

For nearly a decade, New England had been making strides in reducing air pollution and lowering carbon emissions from power plants. Adding more generation powered by natural gas, which has lower emissions than other fossil fuels, as well as using more renewable sources of energy, had helped in the decline. But a study released recently by the regional grid operator, ISO New England, shows that the trend in reducing carbon emissions has begun to reverse, largely due to closing nuclear plants and using natural gas and other fossil fuels to replace the low-carbon power source.

Between 2014 and 2015, New England saw a 15 percent decrease in production of low-carbon energy. This drop is due to the loss of more than 600 megawatts from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. During that same period, natural gas-fired generation increased by about 12 percent. While natural gas has lower emissions than some other energy sources, a lack of supply of natural gas during winter months forced the grid operators to turn to higher-emitting sources. This includes oil-fired generation, which increased production by 10 percent last year and contributed to the up-tick in CO2 emissions.

“The increase (in oil-fired power) came largely in January, February, and March — the same months that natural gas-fired generation made its lowest contributions for the year,” ISO New England said in a statement. “This phenomenon largely reflects winter-time constraints on the interstate pipelines bringing natural gas into the region.”

Northern Pass has long advocated for the addition of clean, base load power from Canadian hydropower to offset the loss of generation the region has seen in recent years and to diversify its energy mix. Northern Pass will ensure a constant flow of power when New England needs it, including during winter months when natural gas supplies are strained.

For more information on the increase in carbon emissions and the state of the regional grid, go to the ISO New England website.


Posted on March 7th, 2017 by

Posted In: Updates

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Posted on March 28th, 2016 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued a Notice and Order on Friday announcing a hearing on April 12 in Lincoln to discuss pending motions on Northern Pass before the SEC.

The SEC is currently reviewing the Northern Pass application as part of the state’s permitting process. This process also includes a number of hearings, such as next month’s hearing on three pending motions. These motions include:

  • All Requests for Review of the Order on Petitions to Intervene under RSA 1 62-H:4, V
  • Applicant’s Request for Partial Waivers Under the Newly Adopted SEC Rules
  • Applicant’s Unassented-To Motion for Protective Order and Confidential Treatment

At the hearing, the Subcommittee will allow parties that filed written motions and/or objections regarding the above matters to supplement their written motions or objections with oral argument, if necessary. After that time, the Subcommittee will consider and deliberate on the pending motions.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at the Loon Mountain Resort, 60 Loon Mountain Rd., Lincoln. You can read the SEC’s order online here.


Posted on March 28th, 2016 by

Posted In: Filings, Meetings, Uncategorized, Updates

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Posted on March 15th, 2016 by

Developer Les Otten recently testified in support of Northern Pass at the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee public information session in Coös County. In his remarks, he spoke not only about his proposed redevelopment of The Balsams Resort in Dixville and the opportunities this will bring to the North Country economy, but also about the economic and clean energy benefits that Northern Pass offers to New Hampshire. Otten is a strong supporter of renewable energy, having a wood pellet business among his portfolio of ventures. He believes the Northern Pass is a critical source of affordable, low-carbon energy that will help move our region toward our clean energy goals, while also bringing jobs and economic activity to communities along the route.

We at Northern Pass also want to see an economic revival in the North Country and believe it’s critical that The Balsams redevelopment stay on schedule. That’s why we’re pleased to advance $2 million from the Forward New Hampshire Fund to ensure that the project breaks ground this summer. The plans for The Balsams are precisely what we envisioned when we set the goals for the Forward New Hampshire Fund.

The Forward New Hampshire Fund is a cornerstone of the Forward New Hampshire Plan, announced by Northern Pass last August. The $200 million we have committed to this Fund is aimed at supporting economic development, community betterment, tourism, and clean energy initiatives in the cities and towns along the route, especially those in the North Country. There is perhaps no single effort at this time that supports these goals more than the current plans to redevelop The Balsams and return it to a world class destination resort. Like Northern Pass, The Balsams redevelopment has the opportunity to be transformative for the North Country, bringing jobs, economic development and injecting a much needed boost into the area’s tourism industry.

The Northern Pass has already supported several key initiatives aimed at supporting New Hampshire communities and the environment, including the Coos County Job Creation Association, the Morse Mountain cell tower, and the Partners for New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife. Northern Pass and The Balsams both present significant opportunities for Coös County, the state, and beyond. We’re pleased to support the redevelopment of this North Country showpiece.


Posted on March 15th, 2016 by

Posted In: Community, Project People, Updates

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Posted on February 4th, 2016 by

You will have an opportunity to participate in the Northern Pass’ state permitting process in March. The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued an order this week announcing that it will host five public hearings on the project next month.

State law requires the Site Evaluation Committee to hold at least one public hearing in each county where the proposed facility will be located within 90 days after acceptance of an application for a state permit, known as a Certificate of Site and Facility. The public hearings will be joint hearings with representatives from state agencies that have permitting or other regulatory authority over issues regarding Northern Pass. The public hearings will also provide the public with information on the proposed project, an opportunity to submit both oral and written comments, as well as ask questions.

Two of these events – Colebrook and Concord – will be conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and will serve as a public hearing for both agencies. The DOE will host two additional meetings on its own during the week of March 7 to take comment on its draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Northern Pass project.

The dates and locations of the March SEC hearings are as follows:

 

Belknap County

Tuesday, March 1, 5 p.m.
Mill Falls at the Lake
Church Landing
281 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith

 

Coös County (co-hosted with DOE)

Monday, March 7, 5 p.m.
Colebrook Elementary School
27 Dumont Street
Colebrook

 

Merrimack County (co-hosted with DOE)

Thursday, March 10 at 5 p.m.
Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Ave
Concord

 

Grafton County

Monday, March 14 at 5 p.m.
Plymouth State University
Welcome Center at the Ice Arena
129 NH Rt. 175A (Holderness Rd.)
Holderness

 

Rockingham County

Wednesday, March 16 at 5 p.m.
Deerfield Fair Pavilion
34 Stage Road
Deerfield

 

The SEC hearings, as well as the DOE hearings scheduled for the week of March 7, are just two ways in which the public can participate in the permitting and review process. If you cannot attend the hearings in person, you can still submit a written comment to the SEC. Written comments can be sent by mail, email or fax to:

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee
Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10
Concord, NH 03301

Tel. (603) 271-2435
Fax. (603) 271-3878
E-mail: Pamela.Monroe@nh.gov


Posted on February 4th, 2016 by

Posted In: Meetings, Updates


Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by

Five hearings provide an opportunity for residents to participate in the State permitting process

Today the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) scheduled a series of five Public Information Sessions. The Public Information Sessions are another step forward for Northern Pass as it makes its way through the state review process.

The locations, dates and times of these sessions are listed in an order and notice issued by the SEC, as well as a separate procedural order. Under state law, Public Information Sessions must be held in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located within 45 days of a project’s application being accepted. Similar to the Public Information Sessions held in September, they give residents another opportunity to participate in the state approval process.

“The purpose of the public information session is to provide the public with information on the proposed Project, to provide an opportunity for comments and questions from the public, and to explain the process the Subcommittee will follow in reviewing the application,” states the public notice issued by the SEC today.

Before and during the Public Information Sessions, Northern Pass will also host an Open House for residents who wish to learn more about the project and meet with project representatives one-on-one. Open Houses will begin at 5 p.m. at each of the venues listed below.

Merrimack County: January 11, 2016 at 6 p.m., Franklin Opera House, 316 Central Street, Franklin, NH

Rockingham County: January 13, 2016 at 6 p.m., Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH

Belknap County: January 14, 2016 at 6 p.m., Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, 62 Doris Ray Court, Laconia, NH

Coös County: January 20, 2016 at 6 p.m., Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, 101 Mountain View Road, Whitefield, NH

Grafton County: January 21, 2016 at 6 p.m., The Mountain Club on Loon Resort and Spa, 90 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, NH


Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by

Posted In: Community, Filings, Meetings, Updates


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