Jane Difley: Forest Society Takes Northern Pass to Court
On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Forest Society announced that it was taking Northern Pass to court. These are President/Forester Jane Difley's comments:
“The Forest Society has advocated against Northern Pass as proposed for nearly five years. Our Board of Trustees took this position in large part because we have a legal and ethical obligation to defend existing conserved lands from commercial development such as Northern Pass.
“We have not taken a position against the idea of making it possible for Hydro-Quebec to transmit more electricity to the southern New England market. Rather, it has been and remains our position that if Northern Pass is to be built, it should be done in a way that respects New Hampshire’s communities, scenic landscapes, conserved land, and the interests of landowners. More specifically, our board has advocated full burial along appropriate transportation corridors if such a transmission line is to be built through New Hampshire.
“Unfortunately, Northern Pass has chosen not to listen to us, nor the dozens of communities, nor the thousands of other stakeholders who have objected to an overhead transmission line scarring our state. Instead, they are attempting to permit a transmission line that would be overhead for 132 of 192 miles. And in its application to the Site Evaluation Committee, Northern Pass seeks a permit to build a private transmission line on conserved land we own in Clarksville, NH, known as the Washburn Family Forest, without our permission. Their proposed use of our land would facilitate miles of overhead transmission lines and towers where there are none today.
“As a consequence, today we sued Northern Pass in Coos County Superior Court.
“We are asking the Court to find that Northern Pass’s proposed use of land known as the Washburn Family Forest is unauthorized and improper, and to issue a permanent injunction against Northern Pass.
“We believe the principles behind our defense of these property rights are of interest to every landowner in New Hampshire.
“Also today, we have filed a Motion asking the SEC to declare the Northern Pass application incomplete because the applicant cannot show that it has the property rights it would need in order to build the proposed project, and the SEC does not have the authority to resolve any dispute over those property rights.