For more than 200 years, the Minot family has lived and worked on a 450-acre farm just north of the White Mountains National Forest. Its rolling hills and freshly mowed fields are dotted with cows. The large red barn, white farmhouse, and swift brook running through the heart of the farm are quintessential rural New England.
“The land is very important to us,” said farm owner William Minot. “It’s the reason we do this. It’s been here all my life, for several generations, and it’s our goal to keep it that way as long as we can.”
Minot and his family grow crops and hay, run a dairy farm and produce maple syrup. Much of this work is done beneath or within view of high-powered electrical transmissions lines that have stood on the farm for decades. Minot said these lines have had little impact on his family business. To him, they are just another part of the landscape.
“Never had a bit of a problem with them,” said Minot. “I could look through those lines and I wouldn’t even see them. They’ve always been there. I kind of like to have the electricity work, so I figure we need to move a little juice through here.”
We visited the Minot Farm earlier this year to get Minot’s take on the power lines. In this video, you’ll see the scenic Minot Farm and hear about the power line’s benefits, including electricity for families and businesses like his. The video also shows that transmission lines, like those proposed by Northern Pass, can exist in harmony with the surrounding landscape.
Spring means two things in Northern New Hampshire: mud and maple. Down a long, bumpy dirt road in Pittsburg, worn rough by frost heaves, there is a newly-constructed sugar shack. It’s mid-spring and steam pours out of a metal stack in the roof. Snowmobiles are parked near a garage door, ready to skim over the slush and mud into the vast expanse of the sugar bush. The next closest neighbor is in another country—literally—a farmer across the border in Canada.
Here is where you’ll find Jules Rancourt (pictured) and his crew boiling up thousands of gallons of maple syrup—Kate & Jen’s maple syrup to be exact. Kate and Jen are Rancourt’s daughters and this is, by every account, a family business. It’s also a new phase of life for Rancourt, a friendly-faced and hardworking framer who’s ready to put down the hammer and pick up the hydrometer (though his prior craft is evident in the quirky charm of his high-tech sugar shack).
The maple business is labor and land intensive. It takes patience and a lot of land to produce enough syrup for a sugar shack to be an income source. When Rancourt did the math, he knew he needed at least 6,000 hard maple trees to clear the threshold, but the land he was eyeing had been bought by Northern Pass. His hopes were not dashed. He saw opportunity.
Within a few short weeks of contacting Northern Pass, Rancourt signed a lease that gives him access to about 3,400 hard maple trees. That brings his total tap count to well over 8,000, far above the minimum he needed to make his business a success.
This is just one way Northern Pass is working with community members to spur economic development and encourage smart use of the land. We’re pleased to help Rancourt’s burgeoning business get off the ground and wish him sweet success!
To hear Jules tell the story, please check out this video.
The project yesterday concluded a successful series of 14 open house events.
The final open house drew several dozen interested residents of Sugar Hill, Easton and neighboring towns to the Sunset Hill Inn in Sugar Hill. The open houses were focused on providing information to residents and landowners specifically regarding the project as proposed in their area.
About midway through last night’s event, A group of project opponents asked that we change the format of the open house to something similar to a town hall meeting. For our part, we indicated we would be willing to participate at such an event in the future, but that we were committed to the more personal, one-on-one format we’ve used, and has been received well, in every other town along the route. While no individuals were asked to leave, a number of attendees announced their opposition to the project and chose at that time to leave the open house.
Good and productive conversations continued with those residents who chose to remain. Our thanks to the residents, and to the innkeepers at the Sunset Hill Inn, for their hospitality. We look forward to additional opportunities in the future to talk about how we can work together to ensure that the project is the best possible for New Hampshire and the region.
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.
Recent media reports have focused on a lawsuit filed against the project and PSNH by the ownership of the Owl’s Nest Golf Club and Resort in Campton. The Owl’s Nest owners allege that the announcement of the Northern Pass proposal has adversely impacted the resort’s real estate sales. We feel it’s important to set the record straight.
PSNH has a long history of working successfully with neighbors along its rights-of-way on agreements that allow them to use the property for activities that do not affect the transmission or delivery of electricity. We believe that existing power line rights-of-way can coexist, as they have for many decades, with neighboring homes and businesses, including golf courses. PSNH owns and maintains more than 1,000 miles of transmission line rights-of-way throughout New Hampshire and has hundreds of joint use agreements along these rights-of-way with landowners, which typically allow them to make use of the rights-of-way for business or recreational purposes.
Owl’s Nest is a good example of such an arrangement. In fact, the resort’s website explains that it has been voted the best golf course in New Hampshire notwithstanding the existing transmission lines and right-of-way over the property. The power line easement and transmission lines at that location existed for decades before the Owl’s Nest’s purchase and development of the golf course.
In the years after the Owl’s Nest purchase of the property, the resort requested permission from PSNH to expand its operations and development within the power line right-of-way. PSNH agreed and worked cooperatively with Owl’s Nest on several occasions to permit the resort to use portions of the right-of-way for golf course operations, including a request to move a portion of the right-of-way in 2007 to accommodate the resort’s expansion. This 2007 agreement expressly recognized PSNH’s right to construct and install additional transmission lines, poles, towers, and related electric transmission equipment and facilities within the power line right-of-way; a provision that Owl’s Nest was fully aware of. In this lawsuit, the owners of Owl’s Nest claim that they were misled by PSNH about the terms of the 2007 agreement and its intended use. This claim is not only untrue, but is incredible in light of the clear language of the 2007 agreement.
Any allegation that the announcement of the Northern Pass project in late 2010 triggered the decline in Owl’s Nest real estate sales is simply wrong and has no basis in fact. Publicly available data clearly shows that the resort has suffered the effects of a deep recession that began well before the Northern Pass project, significantly impacting the New Hampshire real estate market. It is unfortunate that Owl’s Nest, like many others across our state and the rest of the country, has been impacted by this economic downturn.
We remain open to continuing our cooperative dialogue with Owl’s Nest to address any legitimate concerns they may have with our proposal; however, the claims now being made ignore or misstate the facts.
For our part, we are focused on continuing our landowner outreach efforts and working to address legitimate concerns with our proposal through open, thoughtful, and fact-based discussions. We are confident the project can be sited in a responsible manner that ensures New Hampshire can benefit from clean, low-cost hydro power, hundreds of jobs, and millions in new taxes Northern Pass will provide.
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
A series of public meetings were held last month to give New Hampshire residents the chance to share their thoughts on the proposed Northern Pass transmission line project. These events, called scoping meetings, were just part of the ongoing public input process. Many people have already registered their comments through emails and letters. If you haven’t made an official comment on Northern Pass yet, you have just a few more weeks to do so.
From now until Nov. 5, the U.S. Department of Energy will accept written comments on the Northern Pass transmission line.
Here in New Hampshire residents have discussed both sides of this issue with friends, at the corner store and on the editorial pages of our local newspapers. Those discussions are now headed to the Department of Energy and our elected officials in the form of letters and emails. If you support Northern Pass and the clean energy, jobs and economic benefits it will bring New Hampshire, we ask you consider writing a letter to the Department of Energy, our governor and our Congressional delegation.
We understand many of you are busy and may not have much time to submit a comment. However, these letters don’t have to be lengthy; they can be a few short messages about why you favor the project. We appreciate any time and effort you make to show your support.
Below you will find the addresses for the Department of Energy, Gov. Maggie Hassan and our Congressional leaders. We ask you send a copy of your letter or email to everyone on this list to ensure our government and elected officials know that New Hampshire residents want to see more jobs, lower energy rates, more tax revenue and a cleaner energy future.
Northern Pass encourages supporters to let their voice be heard and we thank you again for whatever time you give.
Letters to the Department of Energy can be sent by mail, email, fax or through the online comment form
Senior Planning Advisor
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20)
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20585
Gov. Maggie Hassan
Office of the Governor
State House, 107 North Main St.
Concord, NH 03301
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
520 Hart SOB
Washington, D.C. 20510
Sen. Kelly Ayotte
144 Russell SOB
Washington, D.C. 20510
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster
137 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
1530 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Northern Pass team will continue to meet with residents and landowners along the proposed route next week at two open house events.
Tuesday, October 8 – Deerfield
American Legion Hougue-Batchelder Post 103
37 North Road – Deerfield, NH
Thursday, October 10 – Franklin/Hill/Northfield
Franklin Elks Lodge No. 1280
190 Central Street – Franklin, NH
Drop in anytime between 5:30 and 7:30 PM
Open houses are part of the project’s commitment to working with communities and residents to answer and address questions about the project. Up until now, many of our open houses have been held in the northern part of the state. These events next week give people who live in central and southern New Hampshire an opportunity to speak one-on-one 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.
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 in new tax revenue and reduce energy costs for New Hampshire customers by $20 million to $35 million annually. Like all towns and cities along the proposed route, Deerfield, Franklin, Hill and Northfield will see an increase in property tax revenue from the project. Based on 2011 property tax rates, Deerfield could see more than $1 million in additional revenue, while Franklin could see more than $6 million.
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.
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.