People from across New Hampshire came out this week to share their thoughts about the Northern Pass project at a series of four U.S. Department of Energy scoping meetings. Dozens of people spoke and many different ideas were presented. Both project supporters and opponents showed how passionate they are when it comes to Northern Pass.
New Hampshire has long been a place that values public engagement and open discourse about important issues. We appreciate that so many participated in the exchange of ideas.
We would like to thank all of those who came to support the Northern Pass and share with their fellow Granite Staters the many benefits of the project. In the coming weeks we will be hosting another round of open houses to speak with residents and answer questions they may have about the project. Please continue to check our Northern Pass website for dates and times.
The U.S. Department of Energy has been holding a series of public forums this week, called scoping meetings, as part of Northern Pass’ federal permitting process. Two meetings have already been held and the two remaining scoping meetings will be held tonight in Whitefield and tomorrow in Colebrook. These meetings are an important step for the project, but they are also just part of a long process of careful review and scrutiny Northern Pass must undergo before gaining approval.
In October 2010, Northern Pass filed its initial application for a Presidential Permit, which will allow Northern Pass to build a transmission line for the import of Québec hydropower across the Canadian border into the United States. Amendments to the application have been made since then, including one that outlines the new proposed Northern Pass route announced in June.
The DOE will conduct two evaluations, one on environmental impact and another on Northern Pass’ impact on energy reliability. For the Northern Pass, this will include a full Environmental Impact Statement as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The scoping meetings are focused on gathering information from the public, which will then be used to determine which issues should be studied as the DOE develops its Environmental Impact Statement, and ultimately whether to grant the permit.
The project also submitted an application for a Special Use Permit, which requires specific review of the portion of the proposed line that would travel along an existing 60-year-old utility corridor within the White Mountain National Forest.
Once the environmental analysis and evaluation of the electric reliability criteria is completed, the DOE must obtain a favorable recommendation from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense before a permit may be issued.
As the Presidential permit process continues, Northern Pass will undergo another rigorous review before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. This group of state officials is tasked with ensuring that Northern Pass is in the public’s best interest and that it is designed, built and operated in a manner that will protect and preserve New Hampshire’s high quality of life.
Both the state and federal permitting reviews are well-established methods designed by law to extensively examine new power generation and transmission projects. We hope to see a large number of people participate in the scoping meetings and are eager to keep the conversation going about the benefits Northern Pass will bring New Hampshire.
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.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it will hold four more public scoping meetings in September. These meetings are in addition to the seven previous public scoping meetings DOE held in 2011. See below for specific dates and locations, as posted on the DOE website:
DOE Issues Amended Notice of Intent
The Department of Energy has issued an amended Notice of Intent for the Northern Pass project announcing additional scoping meetings and the close of scoping. The Department will be holding the following additional scoping meetings:
For additional information, please view the Federal Register notice.
In related news, the project has submitted a revised Special Use Permit (SUP) Application to the U.S. Forest Service. This amendment to the project’s original application, submitted on June 28, 2011, requests authorization to construct the Northern Pass transmission line in portions of the White Mountain National Forest where a right-of-way and transmission lines already exist.
The existing corridor within the WMNF was developed more than 60 years ago in order to supply electricity to areas north of the forest. From the DOE website:
The U.S. Forest Service—White Mountain National Forest, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—New England District, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—Region 1 (New England) are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.
The EIS will provide the analysis to support a Forest Service decision on whether to issue a special use permit within the White Mountain National Forest. The responsible official for the Forest Service is the Forest Supervisor for the White Mountain National Forest.
The revised application and accompanying exhibits are available in our document library.
The Northern Pass announced its new, preferred route on June 27, 2013 and we have now submitted to the Department of Energy an amended application for a Presidential Permit. The amended application reflects key developments in the project since the filing of the original application on October 14, 2010, including:
The amended application has been structured to allow DOE, cooperating federal agencies and interested members of the public to find in a single document both previously submitted and new information relevant to the project as reconfigured. The amended application thus can be used in place of the application that we originally submitted on October 14, 2010, and supplemented on February 15, 2011, and April 12, 2011.
It’s unfortunate but not surprising that the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) continues to mislead the public on the Northern Pass project. The project has previously responded to CLF’s delaying tactics and its flawed study questioning the environmental benefits of hydro power.
Continuing on its mission to obstruct, delay, and mislead on Northern Pass, CLF has now attacked the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the process used to select its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) contractor. CLF complained last week that the Northern Pass project influenced the selection of the DOE contractor.
In reality, CLF’s claim is a baseless attempt to distort the truth and mislead the public. In a letter filed today with DOE, Northern Pass sets the record straight on the process used to select the contractor, and exposes CLF’s flawed claims. The letter makes clear the following:
In support of these points, the Northern Pass letter to DOE relies on the same documents (exhibits) cited by CLF in its complaint. Upon review, it is clear that CLF selectively quoted from a skewed choice of documents in an attempt to support its goal of discrediting the DOE process.
A review of the facts clearly shows that there is absolutely no merit to CLF’s “complaint.” We are pleased to see that DOE has responded to CLF’s outrageous claims and has set the record straight.
The Northern Pass project remains committed to delivering significant energy, environmental, and economic benefits to the New Hampshire and the region and we will continue to work with regulators, policymakers, communities, and other responsible stakeholders as the project moves forward.
Northeast Utilities (NU), the parent company of Northern Pass Transmission LLC, today announced that the project has acquired, or has under agreement, about 99 percent of the property necessary to announce a new proposed route; and, that the project team expects to amend its permit application at the U.S. Department of Energy by the end of the year and announce a new proposed route in the North Country.
Northeast Utilities executives today expressed confidence that the Northern Pass project is on track and moving forward.
In a call with financial analysts, NU noted that significant progress has been made working with landowners to identify a new route north of Groveton, and that a filing with federal regulators is expected by the end of the year.
The project plans to increase and intensify its community outreach process to complement that filing.