In their own words: Northern Pass requires thorough, additional federal review
New Hampshire’s congressional delegation – Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster – this week wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to voice continued concerns about the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project. Here’s what they said:
Dear Secretary Moniz: Recently Northern Pass Transmission LLC filed an amendment to their application for a presidential permit with the Department of Energy. Northern Pass is requesting the presidential permit to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a high-voltage direct current transmission line across the U.S.-Canada border. The proposed HVDC transmission line would be capable of transmitting up to 1,200 MW of power into New England.
As part of the amended permit application, Northern Pass is proposing to bury roughly 7.5 miles of the 40 northern most miles of the proposed project. Additionally, they have altered the overhead portion of the route from their original application. Despite these revisions, our offices continue to be contacted by interested stakeholders and concerned constituents stating their objections to this project.
Because Northern Pass has altered the route from their original application, there needs to be a thorough and additional review of this new route by DOE, and stakeholders need to be given the same public opportunity to comment on the new route as they were given by DOE when the original route was proposed.
The question has also been raised to our offices whether DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act process should commence prior to Northern Pass demonstrating that it has the legal capacity to construct the project pursuant to the preferred route that was submitted to the agency.
In our ongoing effort to ensure the transparency of the federal permitting process, and to ensure that the permitting process receives the full benefit of public review and input, we are requesting that you hold additional scoping hearings on all sections of the proposed routes.
Additionally, we feel that any pertinent data including, but not limited to, geographic information systems data points for the routes, wetland and wildlife impact studies, and historical, archeological and cultural heritage studies which have been relied on to determine these routes, be made available to the public prior to these scoping hearings.
Given that the revised plan includes many new elements, it is of the utmost importance to us that the public is provided an opportunity to have input on a thorough, transparent, and effective Environmental Impact Study.
Therefore, we request that the DOE provide a preliminary report detailing which alternatives will be studied, and that this report be made public after the scoping hearings and prior to the EIS study. This is critical for the integrity of the project as well as the protection of our pristine landscape in northern New Hampshire.
This project has evoked significant public concern in our state and the outcome of your department’s review of the amended application by Northern Pass is of great significance to the people of New Hampshire.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of these requests.