Raising awareness of Northern Pass
PETERBOROUGH — The Northern Pass project has become an especially controversial issue in New Hampshire’s north country. Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian power company, and Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Public Service of New Hampshire, are proposing to run 180 miles of power lines through northern New Hampshire to Concord and on to Deerfield.
Proponents say Northern Pass will bring jobs and tax revenue to the towns where the lines will be built, while opponents say it will violate conservation easements, scar the landscape and have a negative impact on tourism.
Since 2011, the utility companies and opponents, led by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, have been battling over what routes the lines might take and whether they should be buried.
Much of the focus has been on the project’s impact on the northern part of the state, but Peterborough resident Kathy Manfre hopes to draw more local attention to the issue.
“We don’t think about Northern Pass that much in our area,” Manfre said. “It’s not in our backyard, but really all of New Hampshire is our backyard. We should care about the White Mountains and should know more about this plan.”
Manfre has arranged a screening of a film about the project called “Northern Trespass,” which will be shown on March 5 in the Parish Hall at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Peterborough.
Manfre says the film was produced by filmmakers Jan Marvel and Michelle Vaughn, who live in the White Mountains. The movie, which was made in 2013 before some of the proposed routes were changed, focuses on opposition to the project, including the questions of who will benefit from the power generated and where it will be used.
“I moved to New Hampshire in 1984 to get away from sprawl and pollution,” Manfre said. “People need to be aware that [Northern Pass] is still a possibility. We need to take care of our state. This will have an unbelievable damage to tourism.”
The screening is free. Following the film, Jack Savage, vice president for communications and outreach at the Forest Society, will conduct a question-and-answer session.