Site Evaluation Committee Rejects Northern Pass Appeal for New Hearing

SOURCE: New Hampshire Union Leader
AUTHOR: Dave Solomon

There will be no reconsideration of the Northern Pass by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.

The committee charged with ruling on the controversial hydroelectric project has decided it will not reconsider its February decision to deny the application by Eversource, the state’s largest utility, for the 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg to Deerfield.

The seven members of the committee assigned to the Northern Pass hearings reaffirmed their unanimous rejection of the $1.6 billion project on Feb. 1 and their written decision of March 30 after a day of deliberations on Thursday.

An appeal to the state Supreme Court is now the most likely option for the project.

“We will pursue all options for moving the project forward,” said Eversource spokesman Martin Murray. “We don’t take lightly an appeal to the Supreme Court. It’s a rare occurrence and one we take only when we have strong conviction and confidence that we will prevail.”

In its motion for reconsideration, Eversource pointed out that the SEC only deliberated on two of the four criteria for project approval before its February denial.

The majority of committee members on Thursday agreed that project approval would have required consideration of all four criteria, but denial could be made on the basis of only one.

The four criteria required for approval were: the project will serve the public interest; will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety; will not unduly interfere with the region’s orderly development; and the applicant has adequate financial, technical and managerial capability to assure construction and operation.

All seven members of the Site Evaluation Committee agreed that Northern Pass had not met its burden to show the proposed transmission line would not “unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region,” and denied the permit on that basis alone.

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