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N.H. House panel delays vote on five Northern Pass-related bills

A House committee has delayed voting on five bills that appear aimed at restricting or stopping projects like Northern Pass.

The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee was scheduled to vote yesterday on the bills, none of which mentions Northern Pass by name though all appear to target it and similar projects.

But an earlier hearing ran long, and Rep. David Borden, a New Castle Democrat and the committee’s chairman, recessed the executive sessions on the bills until Tuesday afternoon.

Borden said the five bills will be taken up then, along with two similar pieces of legislation.

Northern Pass is a $1.2 billion plan to transmit 1,200 megawatts of hydropower from Quebec to the New England power grid along 180 miles of transmission lines through New Hampshire.

Opponents of Northern Pass have been vocal about the project, especially in the North Country. But at a Feb. 12 hearing, the five bills drew opposition from unions, businesses and residents of Franklin, which stands to gain tax revenue from the project, as it is the planned site of a converter terminal.

The five bills would:

∎ Let the Public Utilities Commission order transmission lines to be buried if they aren’t “necessary for the public good.”

∎ Lnstruct the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to consider local recommendations when approving new energy facilities.

∎ Require new “elective transmission lines” (private, for-profit lines that aren’t
needed to maintain the reliability of the power grid) to be buried.

∎ Require new transmission lines to be located in state transportation rights of way “to the extent possible.”

∎ Place a one-year moratorium on new electric transmission facilities.

All five will go to the full House for a vote after the committee makes recommendations on them.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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