What the project will look like and where it will be visible are among the most common questions we hear from residents and landowners. These discussions, unfortunately, are often subject to misinformation, speculation, and inaccurate conclusions of what the actual visual impact of the project will be.
Fortunately, a process is in place to provide clear, factual answers. The state and federal permitting process require professional view impact assessments produced by independent experts. The public deserves no less than a thorough analysis done by such experts, and based on accurate data.
We raise this issue because, yet again, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is providing misleading information to the public about the potential visual impacts of the project. The AMC recently released a series of videos that claim to show the project’s visual impacts. In reality, the videos do not conform to any widely accepted visual assessment methodologies, and do not offer an accurate visual assessment of the project.
AMC suggests that the videos depict the “highest visual impacts” within a ½ mile of the project, with no qualification of the nature of that visibility, other than the potential number of structures visible. In accepted visual impact assessment methodologies, visibility alone is not considered to be an adverse or unacceptable impact. That determination is made by considering additional factors such as viewing distance, how much of the individual structures are visible, the height, type and color of those structures, the context within which the structures are viewed, and the sensitivity of the resource or viewing locations. In addition, no explanation was provided to indicate how “tower visibility” was determined or whether the video accounted for topography and tree heights (It did not).
Rather than provide this important data and analysis, the AMC video instead relies on generalities and overly broad assertions that are not supported by facts and ignore the methodologies commonly employed by visual experts.
It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that AMC has opted to again mislead the public on this issue. The organization has made its opposition to Northern Pass publicly known in many forums, and has used the project as a fundraising tool. The AMC has a clear bias and we believe it is incapable of providing a fair analysis of the project.
The federal and state permitting processes, which require Northern Pass to use professional visual experts and accepted methodologies, will provide the public with an accurate, clear, factual assessment of the visual impacts of the project.
Whether it is wind, solar, new transmission lines, or a power plant – all energy projects carry impacts of varying degrees. Northern Pass is no different, but the public consideration of the project’s impacts, including its tremendous energy, economic, and environmental benefits, must be based on facts.
Project representatives will be heading to Sugar Hill this week to meet with residents and landowners at another Northern Pass open house. This event will give residents an opportunity to speak with project representatives, including engineers, property tax analysts and environmental experts. Local officials and residents are encouraged to attend. Materials and visual simulations specific to the Sugar Hill area will be available.
Sugar Hill Open House
Wednesday, Oct. 23
Sunset Hill House
231 Sunset Hill Road
Drop by anytime between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm
For the past few months, we’ve been visiting towns along the project’s proposed route to provide residents and landowners with detailed information about the project and to answer their questions. We’ve provided visual simulations of where the lines will be located as well as information about structure design, increased tax revenue, and jobs.
At all the events, we’ve also gathered feedback from residents, local officials and landowners. Northern Pass representatives appreciate the respectful conversations we have had throughout our open house series and look forward to continuing the dialogue this week in Sugar Hill.
Northern Pass will continue to meet with residents and landowners along the proposed transmission line route this week at another one of our open houses.
Pembroke and Allenstown
St. John The Baptist Parish Hall
10 School Street
Suncook, NH 03275
Drop in anytime between 5:30 and 7:30 PM
Northern Pass open houses have been an opportunity to meet with people, talk to them about the project benefits and to answer their questions. Residents of Pembroke and Allenstown will have the chance this week to speak with project representatives, including engineers and environmental experts. They can learn about job opportunities, view visual simulations and ask questions about everything from structure design to line location.
Like all towns and cities along the proposed route, Pembroke and Allenstown will see an increase in property tax revenue from the project. Residents will also benefit from the added taxes Northern Pass will pay Merrimack County and toward state education. In addition to these benefits, Northern Pass will bring 1,200 megawatts of clean, low cost Canadian hydropower to New Hampshire and the region, enough to power 1 million homes. The project is expected to create 1,200 jobs during construction, $28 million annually in new tax revenue and reduce energy costs for New Hampshire customers by $20 million to $35 million annually.
Northern Pass representatives will have more information on hand about these benefits at the upcoming open houses. If you would like to learn more about these upcoming events, visit the open house page on our website
Last night the Department of Energy (DOE) held its first scoping meeting in Concord to collect public feedback about the project’s proposed route. We were pleased to see a broad and diverse coalition of supporters attend and voice their support for the clean, low-cost energy, hundreds of green jobs, and millions in new tax revenues Northern Pass will bring to New Hampshire.
Current and former state representatives and senators, business leaders, municipal officials, representatives from the labor community, along with regular New Hampshire citizens, were all among the large contingent of green and blue shirted supporters in attendance.
Since announcing or new, improved route in June, we’ve been working hard to reach out to residents and landowners across New Hampshire to discuss our proposal and answer their questions. Whether it has been at one of our community open houses, individual meetings with landowners, or at a presentation to a local community group, positive feedback and support for the project has been growing.
We understand the public permitting process is just beginning and look forward to the many opportunities in the future for more dialogue on our proposal and the many benefits it can bring to the state and region. We’d like to thank all those who attended and provided comments last night and we are committed to work with all residents, landowners, and stakeholders as the process continues.
People throughout New Hampshire will have the opportunity next week to share their thoughts about the Northern Pass project at a series of public forums, called scoping meetings. These meetings are hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the federal permitting process for Northern Pass.
Scoping Meetings Schedule:
•Monday, Sept. 23, from 6-9 p.m. – Concord: Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave.
•Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 5-8 p.m. Plymouth: Plymouth State University Silver Center for the Arts, Hanaway Theater, 114 Main St.
•Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 5-8 p.m. – Whitefield: Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, Presidential Room, 101 Mountain View Rd.
•Thursday, Sept. 26 from 5–8 p.m. – Colebrook: Colebrook Elementary School Gymnasium, 27 Dumont St.
If you wish to speak at a meeting, sign up with Brian Mills at the Department of Energy by calling (202) 586-8267 or by e-mail at Brian.Mills@hq.doe.gov. You can also sign up at the event.
What Happens at a Scoping Meeting
Following an open house type presentation by project representatives for the first 30 minutes of the meeting, a formal commenting session will be held where each speaker will be given three minutes to share their thoughts on the project. DOE allows for written comments as well, so if you can’t make a meeting, or prefer not to speak at a meeting, you can write a letter. Letters should be addressed to Brian Mills and can be mailed, faxed or emailed. Contact information, as well as a link to an online comment form, is on the Department of Energy’s website. Please note that all comments must be received by Nov. 5th.
For generations, New Hampshire residents have come together to discuss issues that are important to our state and communities. Please help us make sure all voices are heard by attending one of these meetings. We here at Northern Pass understand that your time is valuable and we appreciate any effort you make to contribute your comments.
Northern Pass representatives during the past month have met with hundreds of New Hampshire resident at our open houses. We have gone from Pittsburg to Concord, answering questions and offering information to people who live in towns along the proposed 187-mile transmission line route.
As we look ahead to the fall, we see there are still many opportunities for you to ask us questions and to speak with us about the project. This week, Northern Pass will host two open houses, in Campton and Ashland. The Campton open house, which is being held for residents of Campton, Thornton and Woodstock, will be this evening at the Days Inn Campton on Daniel Webster Highway. The Ashland open house will be tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Ashland Legion Post 15 on Main Street. It is for residents of Ashland Bristol, Bridgewater, Holderness and New Hampton, but like our previous open house events, all those looking to ask questions and discuss the project are welcome to attend. Guests are welcome to stop by at any time between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Northern Pass hosts these open houses to give residents and landowners a chance to speak one-on-one with project engineers, environmental experts and other project representatives. We’ve heard questions about where the route is located, what the transmission line will look like and the kind of jobs Northern Pass will create for New Hampshire residents. It is part of the project’s commitment to working with all communities along the route and addressing their questions about the project.
Next week, Northern Pass will be the subject of four U.S. Department of Energy scoping meetings. These public forums are a chance for all residents to speak about the Northern Pass project and submit their comments as part of the federal permitting process. Recently, one of the meetings was moved from Stewartstown to Colebrook, so here is an updated list of all the scoping meetings:
• Concord: Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave. on Monday, Sept. 23, from 6-9 p.m.
• Plymouth: Plymouth State University Silver Center for the Arts, Hanaway Theater, 114 Main St. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 5-8 p.m.
• Whitefield: Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, Presidential Room, 101 Mountain View Rd. on Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 5-8 p.m.
• Colebrook: Colebrook Elementary School Gymnasium, 27 Dumont St. on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 5–8 p.m.
Supporters of Northern Pass are invited to speak at these scoping meetings or submitting written comments to ensure the Department of Energy hears the voices of those who want to see clean energy, jobs and more tax revenue come to the state. You can find more information about the meetings, how to sign up to speak and where to submit written comments on the DOE website.
Northern Pass has invited residents and landowners in Concord and Canterbury to our next open house in Concord this evening at the Holiday Inn on North Main Street in Concord. Visitors can stop by anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to discuss the project with engineers and experts from our team.
Our open houses are informal gatherings where people can view informational materials and speak to representatives at their own pace. There are different booths set up around the room that provide information about jobs and tax benefits, information structure heights and locations, the construction process and even visual simulations of what the project would look like from various vantage points. Open Houses are a voluntary effort on the part of the project to share information with local residents and landowners, and we’ve enjoyed the events we’ve held thus far.
The proposed route of the project runs through the western side of Canterbury for roughly 6 miles along an existing right-of-way before it crosses the town line. In Concord, the proposed route will travel along an 8 mile stretch of an existing right-of-way, also currently home to existing power lines
As part of our efforts to address concerns over potential visual impact, our engineering team redesigned a 17-mile stretch of the proposed route between Franklin and Concord, which resulted in reduced structure heights. We first announced this redesign in June as part of our route announcement and are looking forward to sharing the details of these changes with residents this evening. This redesign reduces the most common structure heights along this section to 80 feet and means 92 percent of structures will be 100 feet or less, where previously only 51 percent of structures were 100 feet or less.
Communities will also see a financial benefit from Northern Pass as the infrastructure improvements the project makes within each community will translate into more tax revenue for those towns. In Concord, the project is estimated to create more than $540,000* in municipal and local education tax payments and in Canterbury, the project is estimated to create more than $400,000*. Overall, Northern Pass is expected to bring an estimated total of $28 million in new local, county and state taxes annually.
Whether you are looking to learn about the project’s proposed design in your community, sign up for our jobs notification list, or want to know more about Northern Pass’ clean, renewable energy, please feel free to stop by the Canterbury and Concord open house this evening or upcoming events as we continue to talk to residents throughout the state about New Hampshire’s energy future.
*Based on current tax rates
In last week’s Colebrook Chronicle, Coos County Treasurer Fred King detailed his thoughts on the Northern Pass project, our revised route in the North Country, and the recently announced Jobs Creation fund.
From Mr. King’s letter…
“…a positive reaction from the utility has been the proposal to provide a substantial contribution to communities in Coos County impacted by the new transmission line by offering to fund economic development with millions of their dollars. Some call this a bribe. I prefer to think that PSNH, as they looked at the economy in Coos County, at last recognized that there was a need for assistance for our communities in order to restore our job base.”
Mr. King also discussed his thoughts on hydropower as part of our future energy portfolio…
“…if there were no hydro generation on the Connecticut River there would not have been a need for a First Connecticut Lake or Lake Francis in Pittsburg or a Lake Umbagog in Errol to store water until it is needed by downstream power producers. In this case it is Canadians who have developed a huge, well-planned facility that has expansion capability. So what should we do as we consider this proposal to bring hydro power from Canada to southern New England through or North Country?
We must first remember that our Seabrook nuclear plant, like the one in Vermont, has a limited life expectancy, coal as a fuel is very unpopular and the natural gas supply is limited. However, water will run downhill forever.”
The full letter can be viewed on page 23 of the most recent issue of the Colebrook Chronicle.
Mr. King’s letter follows a recent post detailing several other positive letters to the editor we’ve been seeing in newspapers around the state.
We recently hosted open houses throughout the North Country, answering questions and talking to residents and landowners about the benefits of the project. Next week, we take our open houses further south with an event at the Holiday Inn in Concord.
Through these discussions we’ve learned there are many people who support Northern Pass or are at least seeking further information in order to inform their opinions. We hope to continue these discussions and are pleased to see more people speaking out about the benefits of Northern Pass.
We noticed recently that a number of local leaders and citizens have sent letters to the editors of New Hampshire newspapers discussing the project’s many upsides. The need for jobs is a top issue for New Hampshire residents. A major theme in these letters is that the 1,200 jobs created during construction are much needed, as well as the many long-term jobs the recently announced $7.5 million North Country Jobs Creation Fund will create in years to come.
Others wrote about the increased tax revenue, not just for cities and towns, but at the county and state level, as well. There were also letters about the need for more clean, renewable energy projects like Northern Pass. We wanted to share with you what people in your community are saying about Northern Pass, and have included some highlights below.
Temporary Construction Jobs Can Turn Into a Career, by Norman Brooks, Colebrook
“It’s truly a bonus when you can build something that creates jobs and helps the environment. … We need a source of low-cost power to bring manufacturing back to our state. The Northern Pass will help do just that.”
North Country Needs Jobs, by Donald Dostie, Colebrook
“Last week I went to a meeting with about 40 other local businesspeople from Colebrook, Pittsburg, Stewartstown, Clarksville and other area towns with officials from Northern Pass. There was a lot of information shared. We asked questions about the project and local jobs. There were questions asked that they didn’t have answers to, and Northern Pass committed to getting back to us with information. It was a calm, informative discussion.
Contrary to what we have been told about Northern Pass, I found the people representing Northern Pass to be honest, factual and forthcoming with information. I look forward to this discussion continuing and getting more information about the project.”
Project Could Ease Strain on Coos County Taxpayers, by Paul Grenier, Berlin
“The estimated Northern Pass annual tax payment is approximately equal to the cost of all county workers’ salaries in the sheriff’s department, register of deeds and corrections department combined. It would cover roughly half the annual cost of salaries for all nurses at the West Stewartstown nursing home.
Debates about the future of the county farm, county jobs and other services become less challenging with economic growth and an expanding tax base. Most important, an expanding tax base reduces the financial pressure on existing taxpayers.”
We Don’t Need ‘None of the Above’ Energy Policy, by Landon L. Placey, West Stewartstown
“Whether the Northern Pass gets approved will be determined through open debate – and I look forward to that debate. But at a time when we need good jobs and a long-term energy solution, I really hope that we build Northern Pass and get New Hampshire back to work.”
We’ve updated our schedule of community open houses with additional meetings along the project’s proposed route. Newly scheduled open houses include:
Concord & Canterbury – Wednesday September 4th
172 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Bethlehem, Dalton, Whitefield & Lancaster – Tuesday September 10th
Cabot Inn & Suites
200 Portland Street / Route 2
Lancaster, NH 03584
Easton, Lincoln, & Sugar Hill – Wednesday September 11th
The Mountain Club on Loon
90 Loon Mountain Road
Lincoln, NH 03251
Campton, Thornton & Woodstock – Tuesday September 17th
Campton Days Inn
1513 Daniel Webster Highway
Campton, NH 03223
No RSVP is required and residents can drop by anytime from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
This week we hosted two more open houses in the North Country, adding to a total of five over the past three weeks. To date, open houses have been held for the communities of Millsfield, Dixville, Stark, Dummer, Stewartstown, Clarksville, Pittsburg, and Groveton.
Open houses are part of the project’s commitment to working with communities and residents on answering and addressing questions about the project. At each event local residents are able to speak one-on-one with project representatives, including engineers and environmental experts, view visual simulations, and ask questions about everything from structure design to line location.
Our goal throughout this process is to work with every town’s citizens to understand their issues, collect feedback on our proposal, and to make every effort to reach agreement on how best to move forward.