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.
The U.S. Department of Energy this week posted to its project website two new documents which may be of interest:
The U.S. Department of Energy has extended the public comment period on The Northern Pass project to June 14, 2011. The DOE notice was published recently in the Federal Register, and includes details on how to provide comments to the DOE.
In our April 12 filing to the DOE, Northern Pass had requested an extension in order to explore additional routing options that would be more acceptable to residents and communities.
An extension of the comment period had been requested by others, as well, including NH Rep. Charlie Bass and Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
We’ll post or link to a copy of the filing when it is available.
Northern Pass has no objection to such an extension, which will permit more time for citizens to provide to the DOE comments regarding what they believe the agency ought to consider as it develops an Environmental Impact Statement.
The scoping meetings were very well attended and we heard many good suggestions to the DOE regarding areas to study, and alternatives or mitigation factors to consider, including the suggestion that the project not go forward at all.
Now it’s time for the department staff to do its work, to respond to the issues that were raised and to determine what specific factors and alternatives ought to be studied.
We heard and appreciate all the opinions voiced during the meetings, including those who oppose the project.
For our part, we continue to believe The Northern Pass offers tremendous benefit to New Hampshire and New England as a significant source of clean, low-cost energy.
While the DOE goes to work in earnest, we, too, will reflect on the many important comments offered.
It is certainly possible that the project may ultimately change, from that which was initially proposed, as a result of the suggestions and concerns raised. We remain committed to working toward a solution that earns the favor of the people of New Hampshire.
As of midweek, the U.S. DOE has conducted three scoping meetings, the latest Wednesday evening in Lincoln, NH
Still to come – meetings in Whitefield, Plymouth, Colebrook and Haverhill. A complete schedule and description of the process is available on the DOE project website, here.
The meetings are part of the DOE’s development of a required Environmental Impact Statement.
A Concord Monitor news article regarding the meetings can be found here.
The project today asked the US Dept of Energy to end the role of Normandeau Associates as the DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement contractor and to terminate the Memorandum of Understanding that outlined that role.
In it’s letter to the DOE, the project acknowledged some public expressions of concern regarding the use of Normandeau in developing a single body of environmental data for both the federal EIS process and the state permitting process. The project had responded to those concerns in a February 16th letter to the DOE, and said today that “…(w)hile we do not believe that the concerns … are well-founded, we … have concluded that it is desirable to terminate … so that the EIS can be prepared free of the public concerns that have been voiced…”
The project also requested DOE’s assistance in promptly identifying and transitioning to a new EIS contractor.
A total of 7 public “scoping” meetings on The Northern Pass project have now been scheduled by the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE recently added a meeting in Haverhill, to be held March 19.
Check the DOE Northern Pass project website, for a full listing and explanation of the meetings!
The US Department of Energy (DOE) website focused on the Northern Pass project is now up and running. The DOE develops websites like this for projects that require an Environmental Impact Statement.
The website does not have much information at this time, but will soon include the DOE Notice of Intent, which will include a schedule for a series of scoping hearings that will be held in New Hampshire communities—likely in mid-March.
You can “subscribe” to the website or its RSS feed to ensure that you are made aware of any updates. Also—be sure to take a look at this brochure, which provides an overview of the process DOE is following.