Letter: Wrong assumptions on Northern Pass

Thursday, March 01, 2018
Wrong assumptions on Northern Pass

My thanks to the Monitor for presenting several different viewpoints regarding Northern Pass in the Feb. 23 edition. I take exception to Alex Ritchie’s comments on the benefits of NP.

Ritchie describes the Site Evaluation Committee during the Burgess Biomass Project and how it fairly heard all sides and provided a permit with conditions. He insists this process should have been followed with NP. Apparently, Ritchie didn’t understand the whole NP proposal or its magnitude. Several of his assumptions are incorrect.

For instance, he asserts it would bring benefits to the North Country, specifically a source of reliable energy capacity. But all the power was destined for southern New England.

Second, he says it would provide tax revenues to communities in need. He doesn’t mention the diminution of real estate values along the route, with some estimates of value loss running as high as 30 percent.

Finally, he states that after spending 27 months in the review process, the SEC should have spent more than three days deciding to deny the NP application. Perhaps Ritchie did not sit through any of the dozens of public hearings the SEC held, meetings in which the public spoke more than 11 to 1 against NP (by my estimate of the five I attended). He didn’t hear comments disparaging the trashing of New Hampshire beauty with 120-foot-high power lines. He didn’t hear comments describing businesses disrupted by torn up main streets in small towns. He didn’t hear the Pessamit Innu of Quebec state their land had been confiscated.

The SEC heard businesses and residents who would be impacted by NP and how fervently they opposed it. So, they didn’t need long to decide. As for conditions for approval: Bury it along the entire length the way TDI New England Clean Power Link has proposed.