Last week the project held the first in a series of Northern Pass community open house events. These open houses are being held to provide residents and landowners with the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback in a personal, one-on-one environment with project representatives. These events are a voluntary effort by the project to provide meaningful opportunities for dialogue between residents and landowners and Northern Pass.
The format of each open house features a series of information booths on different topics, including the construction process, permitting requirements, environmental considerations, and project benefits. Each booth is staffed by project representatives with expertise in that specific subject area. For example, in the “My Community” booth project engineers (using interactive maps) are available to share with landowners structure location and height information specific to their property.
For a more detailed look inside a Northern Pass open house, we’ve posted a video walk-though of the event held last week in Millsfield. We’d like to thank the 60+ residents and landowners of Millsfield and Dixville who attended the event and we appreciate their feedback on how the project can better address their concerns. Direct feedback from local residents is invaluable to the project and greatly helps our efforts to further refine and improve our design and ensure that our proposal is the best possible project for New Hampshire.
Although these events are not a requirement of the permitting process, the project is committed to holding open house events along the entire length of its proposed route. Each open house will have information and data, like maps and tax benefits numbers, tailored to the communities that event is serving. While any interested member of the public is welcome to attend any open house, priority at each event will go to serving local residents and landowners first. Creating an open, comfortable environment at these events is critical and the project is focused on ensuring that attendees get the information they need in a welcoming setting. Attendees are encouraged to complete comment cards to ensure that all their thoughts, feedback and questions are captured and can be responded to by project representatives.
The current schedule of open houses is posted on our website and will be updated soon with additional dates and locations of future events.
A notice published today in the Federal Register announces that the U.S. Department of Energy has extended the comment, or “scoping,” period for the project.
The extension is in anticipation of a new route being identified for the area from Groveton to the international border with Canada. We acknowledged in a filing in April that we will work to identify a route in that area that has support of property owners.
The scoping period extension allows us to continue that work. In its extension notice, the DOE indicated that the scoping/comment period will remain open for at least 45 days following the filing of a new route.
We haven’t seen an official posting in the Federal Register yet, but NH Public Radio is reporting today that the US DOE will extend its comment period on The Northern Pass, in anticipation of a new route being proposed for that portion of the project north of Groveton.
We acknowledged in a filing in April that we will work to find a route that has the support of property owners.
Some of you may have noticed that we recently enabled comments on the Project Journal. Yesterday, we upgraded the commenting software to one that uses Disqus, a popular online commenting system.
As we move forward with the project, we’ll continue to use this Project Journal to provide news, opinion, FAQs, and other project updates. We look forward to your comments and questions about these posts. We cannot respond to each and every one of these comments, but encourage discussion among community members. We will review all comments before they are posted. While we’ll try to do this as quickly as possibly, it may take a day or two for your comment to appear on the page.
Please keep your comments on-topic and civil. Those that use profanity or abusive language, engage in personal attacks, or are otherwise off-topic aren’t likely to be approved. Disagreements are fine, but we expect everyone to treat each other with mutual respect.
Please do not include information that you would not want to be made public on the Internet. Those with questions and concerns that are specific to personal property or individual needs should call or email the project team directly.
We look forward to the ongoing discussion and hope you do too.
It is noted that today Senator Kelly Ayotte and Congressman Charlie Bass submitted a letter to the Department of Energy that expresses their concern with The Northern Pass project as it is currently proposed.
We appreciate the comments offered by Senator Ayotte and Congressman Bass, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to address their concerns with the initial proposal as this project moves forward. We are in the very early stages of a rigorous, comprehensive, and multi-year review process, and we expect there will be both challenges and changes along the way. The Northern Pass project team remains committed to working collaboratively to address these issues for the good of all of New Hampshire.
Toward that end, it is our hope that the substantial economic benefits of this project for New Hampshire in the form of good paying construction jobs, $25 million in new annual tax revenue, and competitive and clean energy for NH are not overlooked. Many of the communities who stand to benefit from this project, like the City of Franklin, are struggling to provide basic services to their residents, including keeping their schools open and adequately staffed, and providing sufficient public safety resources. The unique opportunities that The Northern Pass project will provide should not be lost as all factors are considered.