Letter: Onassis and Eversource

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Onassis and Eversource

The 7-0 decision by the SEC to reject Northern Pass is the greatest victory New Hampshire has seen since the 1974 defeat of Aristotle Onassis’s plan to build the world’s largest oil refinery in Great Bay.

The 1974 refinery project was pushed hard by then-Gov. Meldrim Thomson. All that stood in its way were citizens, led by Save Our Shores and Rep. Dudley Dudley, whose legislation gave Durham a veto over the project.

Durham voted no. And we are forever in their debt. Without them, we would no longer have the Isles of Shoals or our “small, but very pristine coastline” as Gov. Chris Sununu recently called it. And the tourist industry on the coast would not exist.

Like the 1974 refinery battle, today’s fight over Eversource’s Northern Pass will shape New Hampshire’s future. A final defeat of Eversource will protect our White Mountains, vibrant tourist industry and property values. An Eversource victory will bring damaging industrial development to the White Mountains, with access roads and barren stretches for transmission lines, with the rest of route marred by giant transmission towers.

Like Thomson for Onassis, Sununu has been a fierce advocate for Eversource, which has donated more than $40,000 to him. This time, no town had veto power. But No To Northern Pass, many citizens, and cities and towns along the route stood up. And the SEC listened.

But Eversource will appeal, with Sununu’s support.

I hope Sununu will come to recognize that like our “pristine coastline,” the unique beauty of our state shouldn’t be forever sacrificed for the profit of his big corporate donors. And if he doesn’t, we should find a governor who does.