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Northern Pass to Department of Energy: Reveal alternative routes

The company behind a project to run 187 miles of electrical transmission lines from Canada through New Hampshire has asked the federal government to publicly identify all the alternative routes currently under review.

Northern Pass Transmission sent a letter Thursday to the Department of Energy saying the company agrees with the state congressional delegation’s request that the routes be made public. The delegation made the request Jan. 14.

“To help assure the public that the environmental review that DOE has under way will be as robust as it can be, Northern Pass believes it would be desirable for DOE to disclose the alternatives that it intends to evaluate and to ensure that the range of alternatives considered fairly reflects the comments submitted by New Hampshire citizens and other interested parties,” said the letter written by Jerry Fortier, project director.

It was addressed to Patricia Hoffman, the energy department’s assistant secretary in charge of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. A call to the office was not immediately returned yesterday.

Michael Skelton, a spokesman for Northern Pass, said the company doesn’t believe publicizing the alternative routes that were proposed during the public comment period will slow down the permit process or further stir up opposition to the plan.

“We believe our proposed route is a sensible one that is respectful of the land and its neighbors,” said the letter from Fortier to the DOE.

The DOE is preparing an Environmental Impact Study on the proposed Northern Pass, a $1.4 billion project that would transmit 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec into New England.

Opponents worry the project will damage the environment, while supporters point to job creation and to cleaner, renewable hydropower that can help stabilize the New England energy market.

The current route proposed by Northern Pass goes from Pittsburg in the far north at the Canadian border to Deerfield in the southeast and includes 8 miles of buried lines. Project opponents want the whole route underground, and the state House last week approved a measure directing the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to give preference in issuing permits to privately funded energy projects if they bury their transmission lines.

Legacy Comments4

Why no coverage of the 2/4/14 page A3 article about the DOE's refusal to answer any questions about alternative routes raised by both our Senators and Congresswomen? The article quoted the DOE as saying they were unable to answer any questions but didn't give any reasons why. Seems like news to me.

It doesn't matter where they put it! I have over $2,000 in energy bills for January for my modest home and small office. We need to face the situation and stoke the coal power plants, bring in the Canadian power and eliminate the ridiculous regulations that keep the cost of propane and oil higher than we can afford. If Obummer and his minions are not neutered quickly, there will be no economy left in New England.

What part of "competitively priced power" don't you understand? No. pass doesn't promise cheaper rates. Their original figures, which are surely overblown, show an average savings of one dollar per month on your bill. Don't spend it all in one place and sure, that's worth trashing the state for.

Does the DOE wait until they get the OK from no. pass before they respond to the NH Senators and Congressional delegation request. This is their second request. The first was also ignored. Now, no. pass is giving the DOE permission? Is that how it 's supposed to work? Does the fact that no. pass hired the former head of the DOE to be their attorney in Washington have any influence on the matter? We all know how concerned no. pass is about how the people of NH feel about this proposal.

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