Northern Pass Easements

SOURCE: Caledonian Record
AUTHOR: Kris Pastoriza

Eversource has applied to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for permission to lease to Northern Pass its easements on which the Northern Pass project would be sited. Approximately 700 landowners in New Hampshire own land that would be affected by this lease if it is permitted. Eversource has not informed these landowners of its application to the PUC, nor has the PUC required notification. Those of us who received the “Dear Landowner” letters five years ago know that NPT has the names and addresses of everyone on their proposed route and that lack of notification of their application with the PUC is a deliberate attempt to keep these landowners ignorant and therefore unable to intervene in the PUC hearings.

The easements that Eversource wants to lease to NPT were obtained by purchase or eminent domain for $20 per acre many years ago by PSNH because the easements were necessary to bring electricity to rural New Hampshire. The easements were never intended to provide a “corridor” for the construction of a massive and unnecessary transmission project to import electricity to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut from Canada.

Typical wording on those deeds granted PSNH “the right to erect, repair, maintain, rebuild, operate and patrol electric transmission and distribution lines, consisting of suitable and sufficient poles and towers, with suitable foundations, together with wires strung upon and extending between the same, for the transmission of electric current, together with all necessary cross-arms, braces, anchors, wires and guys, over and across a strip of land…”

What is alarming is the broad rights granted in the lease Eversource has written for Northern Pass; far broader than those in the original easements granted to PSNH by landowners many years ago.

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