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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Site Evaluation Committee Won’t Decide Whether to Reconsider Northern Pass Until May

SOURCE: New Hampshire Union Leader
AUTHOR: Michael Cousineau

A state committee isn’t likely to decide whether to resuscitate the proposed Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project until sometime in May, the committee’s attorney said Monday.

The Site Evaluation Committee deferred making a decision on requests to reopen deliberations on the proposed project after rejecting it in February.

The committee also voted Monday to suspend its Feb. 1 oral decision to reject the proposed $1.6 billion project until the committee issues its written decision sometime this month.

Committee attorney Michael Iacopino said after the half-hour hearing that filing deadlines likely would push the timeline into May for the committee to reconvene to decide on any motions, including any requests to throw out the committee’s verdict and resume deliberations.

Monday’s committee vote means Northern Pass can’t move forward with its proposed 192-mile project.

“This essentially means they’re kicking the can down the road,” project foe Jack Savage said afterward.

The SEC denial — and now the committee putting off any decision on reopening deliberations — puts into question whether Northern Pass can finalize a 20-year deal with Massachusetts officials by late March to supply hydropower and give the project a guaranteed buyer for its electricity.

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Sununu Blasts SEC On WTSN: Northern Pass Was ‘Railroaded’

SOURCE: InDepthNH
AUTHOR: Nancy West

As Massachusetts scrambles to proceed with its major clean energy project after Northern Pass’s application was recently denied, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu took to the radio on Friday to blast the Site Evaluation Committee’s unanimous 7 to 0 vote against building the controversial 192-mile powerline from Pittsburg to Deerfield.

Sununu said he was frustrated with the process in that the committee had four criteria to decide by law and chose to only look at one or two before voting it down in a surprise move on Feb. 1.

John Harrigan of Colebrook, a 50-year veteran newsman, called Sununu “the great disappearing governor.”

“It has been obvious for some time for going on eight years now that Sununu knew little or nothing about the project,” Harrigan said. “He demonstrated this time and again by displaying ignorance and arrogance about the North Country’s beautiful landscape and its fiercely independent people. The governor has been a no-show on this the whole time.”

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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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Anti-Northern Pass Video to Be Shown at SEC Hearing; Featured Foes Must Testify

SOURCE: InDepthNH
AUTHOR: Nancy West

Rod Mcallaster milks 80 cows twice a day on his Stewartstown farm, but he’ll be heading south to Concord next Friday to a Northern Pass hearing to testify that he was indeed featured in a video opposed to the project.

State regulators ruled against Northern Pass and ordered the video be shown at the adjudicative hearings, but said all 10 people featured in it must be available for cross-examination as lawyers for the project had insisted.

It will be quite an outing for the 65-year-old Mcallaster. This will be his first trip to Concord; he’s been too busy with the farm and chores to have ever driven farther south than Littleton.

“The whole project in general stinks,” Mcallaster said in a phone interview Friday night. “Having to go down there is small price to pay if we can stop it.”

So he and nine other people who are featured in the 21-minute video called “Negative Impacts of the Northern Pass Transmission Line” will journey south for Friday’s adjudicative hearing on Northern Pass’ application before the Site Evaluation Committee subcommittee hearing the case.

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