Site Evaluation Committee Unanimously Rejects Northern Pass Application

SOURCE: Concord Monitor
AUTHOR: Michael Casey

State regulators unanimously rejected an application for a hydropower project that would have provided clean energy to Massachusetts but was seen as an eyesore by critics who feared it would tarnish scenic views and damage New Hampshire’s tourism industry.

The Site Evaluation Committee voted 7-0 against the project over concerns about its impact on local business, tourism and development in the region, especially in the northern part of the state. The decision, which can be appealed, is a stunning setback for a project that first was proposed in 2010 and, after countless hearings and protests, appeared to be a done deal.

The $1.6 billion plan was set to bring hydropower from Canada by creating a transmission line through New Hampshire for customers in southern New England. The surprising decision comes a week after the project was selected from among dozens of bids to supply renewable energy in Massachusetts. It would have transmitted enough hydropower for about a million homes.

“We’re pleased, to say the least,” said Jane Difley, president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “This stands as a great victory for New Hampshire, our forests, and our landscape. It’s been a long, arduous battle, but New Hampshire has always been worth it.”

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