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Find out where Northern Pass would cross Concord, Canterbury

Northern Pass is not just a North Country project, and tomorrow night, folks in Concord and Canterbury can learn where the proposed hydropower line would run through their communities.

Northern Pass officials will be at the Holiday Inn in Concord from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. answering questions about the project and using maps to show residents whether the line would go near their properties. There is no formal program, so visitors can come at any time, said project spokesman Michael Skelton.

In Canterbury, the proposed line would stretch about 6 miles, across the golf course; near Cambridge Drive; and near housing developments off Hoit Road. In Concord, the nearly 8 miles of proposed line would run parallel to Mountain Road; behind the McKenna’s Purchase condo development; over the big box stores on D’Amante Drive and near the airport.

Detailed satellite maps of the proposed route are available at northernpass.us under “In My Town.”

Concord city officials have shared concerns about the proposed hydropower line with the federal environmental agency reviewing the project. In a June 21 letter to the U.S. Department of Energy, City Manager Tom Aspell said city administrators, the conservation commission and the planning board are worried about the potential impact the project would have on the city’s “character and property values.”

Aspell cited an Applachian Mountain Club study that concluded Concord would have more visible towers per acre than any other community on the 180-mile route.

Aspell told federal officials the city wants the line buried, especially where it comes near residential areas. Northern Pass officials have said putting the line underground is too costly but recently offered to bury some of the line in Stewartstown and Clarksville.

If the project is approved as designed, the line through this area would run within the existing power line corridor operated by Public Service of New Hampshire. The new towers holding the hydropower line would be taller than the existing utility poles, most of which are 43 feet high, according to the project website.

In Concord, the new towers would range from 50 feet to 120 feet, with the most common being 80, 90 or 100 feet, the website said. In Canterbury, the proposed towers would range between 65 feet and 110 feet, with most being 80 feet.

Northern Pass is a partnership between Northeast Utilities, PSNH and Hydro-Quebec to bring hydropower from Canada, through New Hampshire and into the New England energy grid. The project still needs federal and state approvals.

Northern Pass officials predict the project would bring Canterbury about $467,000 annually in property taxes and Concord about $629,000 annually.

Tomorrow night’s meeting is open to anyone, but the materials available will relate only to the Concord and Canterbury locations of the proposed line. The line, which would enter the state in Pittsburg, would also cross through Franklin, Northfield, Pembroke, Allenstown and Deerfield. Skelton said Friday there will be additional open house meetings between now and October for the other communities along the power line’s proposed path.

Skelton said nearly 340 people have attended the previous open houses held in the northern part of the state. Some project opponents have complained in letters to newspapers that police officers or sheriff deputies have been posted outside those open houses. They’ve also said visitors have been turned away if they did not live in the community where the open house was being held.

Skelton said Friday that project officials have hired local law enforcement to “ensure a safe environment” for the public. He disputed the characterization, however, that there had been “armed guards” at the entrance of open houses. He also said only one couple was asked to leave an open house and that was because the pair was not from the community being discussed and was making it difficult for the locals to get information about the project.

Skelton said the couple was invited back into the open house once all local visitors had come through. He said everyone is welcome to the open house in Concord tomorrow night even though the focus will be on Concord and Canterbury because the Holiday Inn can hold a larger crowd.

(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323,
atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)

Legacy Comments18

Hydro Quebec is not our friend. They created excess power by drowning Native lands and now look for where to send it. They couldn't have chosen a worse route and were surprised when we didn't all dance with joy because our property taxes would be reduced. In my town we already have properties that can't sell because the lines MIGHT come through their back yards. Shades of the Durham oil refinery proposal. Where is Dudley Dudley when we need her?

Not just the North Country! Wake up, NH! The Northern Pass is all about PROFIT for Hydro-Quebec, whose sole shareholder is the Québec government, Northeast Utilities based in Hartford CT, & PSNH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northeast Utilities! Overhead transmission lines are outdated, ugly & unnecessary!

Then bury it.

You do realize we are not called the GRANITE STATE for nothing. Burying power lines everywhere would be quite costly and the only result would be large increase in power bills due to recapturing the cost.

I thought the big benefit of Northern Pass is supposed to be that Hydro Quebec pays the construction costs. Are you saying that those costs would be passed on to NH ratepayers instead? That sounds like another PSNH boondoggle to me.

No one is suggesting "burying power lines everywhere" - just these huge large scale transmission lines and burying them beside the interstate highways where the blasting has already been done and they will be far less vulnerable to a long list of potential problems while providing a more direct and efficient route.

The same folks who are against Northern Pass, which is renewable hydro power ( but a dam might inconvenience a fish) are also against wind turbines, ( tweety bird might fly into a blade) biomass, (never harvest timber anywhere, anyhow) and solar, (ugly panels all over the place.) Perhaps they prefer nuclear (gasp!) natural gas, (does the word "fracking" come to mind) or coal? Not to worry, Obama declared war on coal and all the jobs mining provides. Where would you Northern Pass opponents like to see our electricity come from??? Interestingly enough, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, which has used Northern Pass as a fund-raising tool, spent a boat load of money which was donated for forest protection on a full page ad concerning this meeting in the Sunday Monitor. Enough already! We need the electric power, the jobs and the tax revenue now.

We in NH have seen for decades how committed psnh of CT is to wind and solar power [none] as the toxic mercury from their coal plants has rained down on us. They fought the scrubber for years and when finally forced to clean up their act, they doubled the price and did unauthorized upgrades to be able to keep burning coal. They spent more to keep burning coal in a 50 year old power plant than a brand new state of the art clean burning natural gas plant would have cost. They don't care because they don't live down wind of the plant and they not only want ratepayers to reimburse them $500 million for the costs, they get 50 million a year more in "return on assets" - what a racket! They fought biomass, a NH renewable resource, and went bankrupt on nuclear leaving ratepayers to foot the bill for decades. Now, in the last throes of a financial death spiral as customers flee the previous monopoly for some American competition thanks to deregulation, they are proposing another get rich quick scheme at NH's expense. This proposal reminds me of those who would pick your pocket and try to sell you your wallet. I hope NH donates more to the Forest Society so they can afford more full page ads that truly educate people. No. pass has had ads in multiple papers almost every day off and on for years. This is only the second ad I've ever seen from the Forest Society. Bury it - all the way - or forget it.

Why are the people of the State of NH letting this happen to them? This power that it will be generating isn't even for the people of NH,it is for Conn. They are going to put up those large poles and ruin the scenery,with no benefit for NH. I don't understand why the NH House is letting this go through.

"This power that it will be generating isn't even for the people of NH........" Well the Keystone Pipeline is so the crude can be exported, not for our consumption, and that cuts across the whole country. So that argument is really pretty petty.

This has nothing to do with the Keystone pipeline. No one in the midwest is trying to justify the Keystone pipeline because some failing utility is trying to exploit NH with a proposed overhead transmission line whose power we don't need. If you have an issue with that proposal, write a letter to the editor - in Omaha.

It's not just the scenery. What about the decreased property values for those within sight of these huge towers? [up to 150 feet] What about the health and safety risk to people from huge towers [what goes up...] that don't have an adequate "fall zone" or the risks associated with such strong electromagnetic radiation? Every environmental group in the state along with every town on the proposed route [except Franklin - although many Franklin residents rightly oppose no. pass] and according to the article - the Concord City Manager, City Administrators, Conservation Commission and Planning Board are all opposed to the project as currently proposed. NH's Washington delegation, both Democrat and Republican recently contacted the DOE to question the process. Name one other issue in NH that has united people from across the political spectrum. We all want renewable energy but not at any price. Insist on underground all the way - they did it in VT and NY. Do they think we're stupid? Don't go to see where the towers would go - Go and tell them we don't want any towers and either bury it all the way or forget it - then shoot a quick email to your Reps. and Senators that rely on public feedback from their constituents.

In order to fit its overhead line into the already crowded PSNH easement in Concord, Northern Pass would have to replace and relocate 111 existing PSNH wooden poles with taller steel structures (monopoles) up to 120' high and as close as 30' to the easement boundary. In Canterbury, Northern Pass would have to replace and relocate 64 existing PSNH wooden poles with taller steel structures (monopoles) also up to 120' high. This is part of the 90 miles of replaced/relocated PSNH poles that would be necessary throughout NH to fit the proposed overhead Northern Pass line into the existing easement. None of it would be necessary with a buried Northern Pass line. Who has regulatory oversight over this SECOND replaced/relocated line? The DOE? The NH PUC? Anyone?

NP is crucial to our National Security as is the Keystone pipeline. BUILD IT NOW

The only ones the Keystone Pipeline is important is the Canadians that want to get the crude exported. National Security my backside. When do you get this cockamamie information from?

it is not surprising why a democrat would not understand - national security has never been their forte

Why? Is Canada going to export their hydro power to China if we don't buy it? Are they going to use towers to get it there? I think burying it all the way is the least they can do for NH. Psnh of CT can pound sand for all we care. Their long history of ratepayer abuse speaks for itself. We don't need psnh of CT's proposed "no. pass". The original Champlain Hudson project [completely underground] called for two lines but was reduced to just one. It goes to the area that needs power - Southwest CT/NYC. Just add the line that was dropped and NH won't have to be trashed and your National Security Baloney is solved. - or - bury it by the interstate where it would be safe and sound and where it can provide the revenue our state deserves for playing host to such a line that delivers power that we don't need since we generate twice as much power as we consume and play host to another HVDC line from Canada to Massachusetts already. no. pass is corporate welfare at NH's expense.

The turnout has been so low thus far - only 340 people from 8 towns - because most NH residents understand that Northern Pass's open houses have no regulatory bearing in the approval process. (Actual DOE scoping meetings on the amended application will come up soon.) And most of the info is already on the website. These meetings are essentially trade shows that pitch the same old baseless "zombie" talking points about benefits that we've heard for literally almost three years now. And you'd think if there has been no reason to post the armed guards in the last 5 shows - yes, they are armed and they are privately hired guards - Northern Pass would drop the offensive show of muscle at the door. There are more guards at a Northern Pass trade show than in the Capitol building. But Canterbury and Concord residents might want to go tomorrow night anyway. For both towns, Northern Pass is proposing TWO new power lines within the same PSNH ROW. The first is the Northern Pass line itself. The second is the relocated, replaced PSNH line that would have to be moved in order to shoehorn in NP's line in an already crowded easement. The structures would be considerably higher than the poles that are there now, over 100'. Project officials will say the second line is not a "new" line. Technically, it's not. But a line that used to have 40'-50' poles and would have to be rebuilt with steel structures over 100' will affect residents as surely as a new line would. Setbacks from the easement edge for the replacement line would be skimpy at best, e.g., a 100' structure only 30' from a residence in the Concord area. The AMC study of visual impact was based only on the Northern Pass line data. Hold on to your hats when the PSNH replacement line data is factored in. Ask your project representative how close the new lines would be to edge of the ROW. Ask your rep if burying the Northern Pass line wouldn't remove the need for rebuilding the PSNH line with taller towers so close to the edge. But don't push too hard or you'll find a Northern Pass "minder" appearing to tell your representative that he or she really has to talk to so-and-so over there . . . right now.

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