HB 626's Passage Provides Sound Structure for New Energy Siting
On April 28, the N.H. Senate approved HB 626, legislation that will designate optional energy infrastructure corridors in our state. As we have noted before, this bill establishes four utility corridors along State owned transportation rights of way -- Interstates 89, 93, 95 and Route 101 between Manchester and I-95 -- and invites energy developers to partner with the State in a process by which developers can use these routes to site large-scale energy projects.
HB 626’s ride through the Legislature has been similar to that of a bumper car. The House Committee Science, Technology and Energy initially voted to kill the bill. The full House of Representatives overturned the motion to table it and then approved an amended version. It has since faced further hearings before the House Finance Committee, additional amendments in the House, and another vote in the full House before reaching the Senate, where it was amended yet again.
The fact that HB 626 is on the verge of becoming law reflects the expertise of Rep. Suzanne Smith, its prime sponsor. We want to thank her, as well as Rep. Howard Moffett, Rep. Gene Chandler, Rep. Sue Ford, Sen. Jeannie Forrester and Sen. Jeb Bradley for steering it through all the left and right turns in the legislative maze. The bill gives our state a sound structure for balancing energy development with natural resource protection and demonstrates a long-term vision on how we can properly accommodate regional electricity and natural gas transmission projects. Given the strong push policy makers in southern New England are making right now to bring more hydropower and natural gas into the region, HB 626’s passage is especially timely and critical.