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Misconceptions on Northern Pass

To the editor:

Recently, this paper covered a speech made by the president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to the Amos Fortune Forum. One of the issues discussed was the Northern Pass. Unfortunately, the article repeated many of the inaccuracies the Forest Society espouses as it attempts to sway public opinion on this project. The Northern Pass has a secure route for its proposal that shows respect for the land by mainly using existing rights-of-way, where power lines have existed for decades. In some areas, new rights-of-way were needed and these were obtained through negotiations with willing landowners. Northern Pass has also proposed burying about 8 miles of the project under public roadways. Northern Pass has never sought, nor does it need, eminent domain — a process barred by the New Hampshire Legislature for projects of this type.

The vast majority of overhead structures will be between 85 and 95 feet tall, with taller structures required in some places to cross rivers, roadways, other lines or structures, or to meet safety standards. Wherever practical, the Northern Pass route is sited in areas where the lines will be less visible.

Comprehensive reviews of the route will take place as part of the project’s federal and state permitting processes.

New Hampshire residents today live and do business alongside hundreds and hundreds of miles of transmission lines, including in popular tourism areas like the White Mountain National Forest. There has never been any evidence to validate claims that the Northern Pass would harm this vital industry.

All of New England, including New Hampshire, is facing an energy crisis. Constraints on our sources of power last winter drove the region’s wholesale power bill $3 billion higher than the year before. The grid barely avoided blackouts. Northern Pass can help by adding a clean, renewable and economic resource. As debate on this important topic continues, we ask that the public seek the facts about Northern Pass and objectively weigh the pros and cons of this critical clean energy project.

Lauren Collins

Media Specialist

Public Service of New Hampshire

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