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My Turn: Northern Pass opponents have picked the wrong target

Opponents of Northern Pass: You are going after the wrong target! A principal argument against Northern Pass is the disturbance in the lovely skyline profiles of distant mountains, spoiling the view for hundreds of thousands of tourists. While you’ve been agitating cancellation of the project (or at least burying the lines), I took a trip to Dixville Notch and noticed several wind turbines up on the ridge. My reaction was, “How did they get there?” I had seen no publicity concerning them.

I was in Plymouth recently and noticed the large number of wind turbines on and near Tenney Mountain. Later as I drove towards the White Mountains, I could see in my mind’s eye wind turbines on every ridge. I was not looking at the whiteness of each tower, I was seeing red! If you think you are going to lose tourists because of a power line, you will lose many more if the construction of wind turbines on the ridges of New Hampshire continues.

The problem with the wind turbine is that the blades move. Even when you are not looking at them directly, you are always seeing movement in the corner of your eye. They can be distracting from noticing more critical movement, such as a car coming the other way. I invite you to take a five hour drive to Chateauguay, N.Y., located not far beyond Lake Champlain. Located on both sides of Highway Route 11 are more than 200 wind turbines. Stop your car among them and decide whether this is what you want for New Hampshire, especially up on the ridges.

Except for a gentle sway in the breeze, high voltage power lines do not move. They do not distract. Many of you have driven on Interstate 89 under the power lines located a few miles west of Concord. Did you know they that they extend from Woburn, Mass. (near Boston), all the way up to the Moore Dam near Littleton? They have been there for more than 50 years. No one seems to be protesting the existence of these lines today.

Continue to oppose Northern Pass. But I hope you will spend more energy, more time and more money opposing wind turbines up on the ridges.

(Brent Scudder lives in New London.)

Legacy Comments5

Mr Scudder, thank you for writing this letter and bringing attention to a major problem in NH that must be fixed. This problem is an out-of-date state site evaluation process. It may have served well originally, but today merchant utility developers see instant gold in "them thar hills," meaning, our NH hills, and they have set their sights on us because we have the weakest siting criteria of the New England states. These developers are not "regulated"; their projects have not been requested by regional authorities as "needed." They are just looking to reap available subsidies and make money for their investors and themselves as quickly as possible. Sprouting wind turbines and elective transmission lines are everyone's problem in NH, not just ones for those in the affected communities to take care of. I hope you plan to participate in one of the citizen workshops on revising the SEC process. They are scheduled for Dec. 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 in five different statewide locations. There will be one near you. Check the NH Office of Energy and Planning (OEP) website for exact times, dates, and preregistration info.

The opponents of no. pass - all the people of NH and beyond who aren't feeding from the psnh of CT trough - have not picked the wrong target at all. There are certainly other issues that should be addressed but I suggest that those who feel strongly about them do the needed research and present their evidence and alternatives to the public and the appropriate officials. Pitting one against the other would only weaken both. Wind power has a place but just where that place is should be determined by more than just wherever developers choose. The transmission of the power is just as important as the tangle of overhead lines from the Tenney project has been described as far worse than the turbines themselves. Due to a complete lack of regulation in this area, predatory developers have set their sights on NH and we are all in the cross hairs. Call or email your representatives and tell them of your concerns for the future of our state if something isn't done. Those who seek to benefit from the exploitation of our state have already passed laws in their own state that outlaws such activity.

the visual purists are simply NIMBY's and unpatriotic to boot

Wrong on the first point, since my only property is far west of Concord and unaffected by the project, and don't question my patriotism without even knowing me and how deep that runs.

Many of us were indeed opposed to the turbines in the Millsfield area (as well as the Tenney project), but I suspect because it did not impact the Whites themselves, there was far less publicity. I wince every time I see those turbines (more so when they aren't even turning). The Northern Pass agreement with Bayroot (aka Yale University), who owns much of the land north of Dixville Notch, allows for even more turbines in the Corser Brook region. This area to me is one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the state. Many MET towers are already in place measuring the wind speeds, so if Northern Pass goes through, it is almost certain that even more of these unsightly inefficients beasts will be appearing.

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