Forest Society Comment on Mass RFP and Northern Pass
Concord, NH Jan. 25, 2018
“Given that Eversource is directly involved in the decision-making process, the news that Massachusetts selected Northern Pass for the so-called Mass RFP is not a huge surprise.
Of course, Northern Pass is not yet permitted in New Hampshire, and it faces a steep uphill climb against overwhelming municipal and public opposition at the state Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), which will begin deliberating next week (Jan. 30) in Concord.
That Massachusetts would put all of its eggs in one basket by selecting only Northern Pass, would seem risky. There’s a good chance they’ll be meeting again in March to pick their second choice.
The Forest Society, in its post-hearing memo to the SEC, calls on the SEC to deny the application, citing the unreasonable adverse impacts of the 192-mile transmission line, and the evidence that the application itself is deficient in legally important ways. The project also failed to demonstrate that it would be in the public interest of New Hampshire.
The record in New Hampshire SEC adjudicative process was closed on Dec. 22, 2017. Presumably the news out of Massachusetts will not figure in the SEC’s decision as a result.
If it does, it may not help Northern Pass’s case, as a contract with Massachusetts further reduces the already meager public benefit to New Hampshire residents and ratepayers. The public has long argued against allowing the state to be an extension cord for the benefit of Hydro Quebec and Eversource.
At the end of the day, the fate of Northern Pass is in the hands of New Hampshire, not Massachusetts. We anticipate that decision-makers in the Granite State will pay closer attention to the adverse environmental impacts of Northern Pass, as it is New Hampshire towns, landowners and businesses that are being asked to bear the burden of more than 1,000 high voltage towers through our scenic landscape.”