Forest Society Files Objection to Northern Pass Motion for Rehearing
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests filed a formal objection to Eversource's Motion for Rehearing that asks the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) to reconsider their Northern Pass application and reverse the decision to deny a Certificate of Site and Facility.
"In its Motion for Rehearing, Eversource demands that the SEC do things that the SEC is simply not required to do," said Jack Savage, vice president of communications for the Forest Society. "The failure of Northern Pass lies at the feet of the applicant--Eversource--to address fundamental flaws of the proposal, and now they want the SEC to fix those flaws. That's not the SEC's job."
According to the Objection, "The Applicant makes the same overall flawed arguments it made with its first motion for rehearing and request to resume deliberations. The Applicant fails to identify errors of fact, reasoning, or law sufficient to cause the Subcommittee’s decision to deny the Application to be unlawful, unjust, or unreasonable. There is no good reason or good cause to grant a rehearing or continue deliberations."
"First, the Applicant incorrectly argues the Subcommittee failed to assess the conditions proposed by the Applicant. The Subcommittee lawfully and reasonably considered proposed or possible conditions for portions of the Application where the Applicant satisfied its burden of proof and production sufficient to make consideration of the conditions relevant and fruitful.
"Second, the Applicant’s argument that the Subcommittee arbitrarily applied Site 301.15 and 301.9 such that the rules are unconstitutional as applied is without merit. The Subcommittee reasonably, methodically, and lawfully applied the standard as it is articulated by the statute and rules. In doing so, it made all factual findings it was lawfully required to make.
"Third, the Applicant claims the Subcommittee failed to adequately explain how the Applicant did not meet its burden on the orderly development standard. The Applicant also claims that in arriving at its decision, the Subcommittee ignored SEC precedent, misapplied SEC rules, misconstrued Applicant’s evidence, and did not consider other evidence in the record that were supportive of Applicant’s arguments. All of these assorted arguments do little more than attack the weight the Subcommittee placed on certain evidence. Reasonable decision-makers could disagree about the credibility, reliability, or weight that should be afforded to certain evidence. But, such determinations are soundly within the discretion of the Subcommittee, as the trier-of-fact. Furthermore, in arguing that the Subcommittee should look to other parties’ evidence or craft its own conditions, the Applicant ignores the plain reality that it had the burden to submit sufficient evidence to persuade the Subcommittee to make the requisite findings of RSA 162-H:16, IV. It is not the Subcommittee’s or other parties’ burden to fill in the gaps in the Applicant’s Application. Despite the voluminous pages devoted to these arguments, the Applicant fails to put forth good reason or good cause to warrant rehearing. Therefore, the Subcommittee should deny the Motion for Rehearing."
Other parties have been weighing in to object to the Northern Pass motion for a rehearing. The Counsel for the Public (CFP) articulates in its objection that the Applicant has “misapprehended” the actual decision made by the SEC. The CFP objection reads, in part: “Many of the Applicants’ arguments are based on a continued misapprehension that the Subcommittee made an affirmative finding that the Project would unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region, when the Subcommittee’s actual finding was that Applicants failed to present sufficient credible and reliable evidence to allow the Subcommittee to make the required statutory findings for issuance of a Certificate.”
The SEC has set May 24, and June 4 if necessary, to deliberate on all Motions for Rehearing and Objections. Click here to read the Forest Society's Objection to the Applicant's Motion for Rehearing. The full Motion for Rehearing can be read here.
This is Eversource's second attempt to get the SEC to grant a rehearing. On Feb. 28, they filed a Motion for Rehearing prior to the issuance of a formal written decision by the SEC. On March 12, the SEC declined to consider that premature Motion.
On March 30, the SEC issued it's written decision denying a Certificate to the Northern Pass project.