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Application for Transmission Lines Denied

The proposed Northern Pass transmission line would include towers up to 155 feet tall. (Seregei/Pixabay)
The proposed Northern Pass transmission line would include towers up to 155 feet tall. (Seregei/Pixabay)
February 5, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. — The application to construct Northern Pass, a major electric transmission line project, has been rejected. New Hampshire's seven-member Site Evaluation Committee voted unanimously to deny the application.

The committee said the project developers had not shown that the proposed line wouldn't unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region - one of four standards any project must meet to win approval. According to Jack Savage, vice president for communication and outreach at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, approval on other criteria was unlikely as well.

"We imagine that there was a very good chance that they would fail on the third and fourth standards, relative to unreasonable adverse impacts on the environment and public benefit,” Savage said.

A spokesperson for Northern Pass said the evaluation process did not comply with New Hampshire law, and did not reflect the evidence. Once the SEC issues its written decision, Northern Pass will have 30 days to ask the committee for a rehearing.

Savage noted that much of the above-ground portion of the transmission line would consist of towers substantially taller than the forest canopy, cutting through conserved forest reservations, historic sites, towns and small neighborhoods.

"Up and down the line, we found communities who were bound and determined not to let this happen,” Savage said. “And that influenced the SEC in the end. They are required to take into consideration the views of municipalities, and they did."

If the application is denied again, it could be appealed to the state Supreme Court. But Savage said he believes even if an appeal was successful, the court would be likely to send the case back to the SEC.

"If Northern Pass appeals and tries to come back to the SEC with the same project, I think chances are slim-to-none that they will get very far,” he said.

The Northern Pass line was designed to bring hydroelectric power from Quebec through New Hampshire, to Massachusetts.

More information on Northern Pass project is availabe here.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NH