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My Turn: Forget the film; here are three big reasons to oppose Northern Pass

Last modified: 7/30/2013 12:34:48 AM
Re “Northern Pass film one-sided, sells out theater” (Monitor front page, July 26):

Annmarie Timmins did a good job with a difficult story. Never mind the film – who could expect anyone within such a time-frame to get everything right? And whose definition of “right”? And in my book, forget the unions. Their members are bought and have no more right to profess loving our state than I do.

Eminent domain is a dead duck. Why are people still raising this? The people of the North Country, with help from kindred spirits south of the Notches, fostered a law against eminent domain for private gain. Readdressing this diverts energy and attention span. Side effects on health are also dead-duck issues. Why spend time alleging or refuting?

In the end, and I hope there’s an end, because I’m getting sick and tired of fighting phantom issues, are these:

∎ This is a for-private-gain proposal. Timmins’s story alluded to this, but this is the underlying issue. All northern New England states, save Massachusetts, export power. This is a case of running roughshod over New Hampshire to convey a surplus of Quebec power to down-country places where people want to run their air-conditioners on the cheap. There is no need. It’s all about greed, and it’s billions of dollars of greed. Numerous studies have shown that if only New Englanders could or would, with incentives from state and local government, insulate and turn off stuff and otherwise conserve, there would be no need for a surfeit of Quebec power.

∎ Hydro-Quebec, after three decades of maiming the Far North, on its federal government’s dime, is being called into account for a payback. It is a Crown corporation, given huge license to despoil the Far North. I’ve been there, fished and paddled and flown all over. I’d challenge the “clean, green, renewable” proponents to do the same and come back with their oh-so-clean stances.

∎ Finally, to reiterate some of the above, how do drowning billions of trees and untold billions of tons of other vegetation – trees, in particular, that sequester carbon and give off oxygen when living (not now) – and drowning millions of acres of wildlife habitat and displacing thousands of First People and inundating their ancestral villages and fishing places and burying grounds come across as “green?” Give me (and them, and us) a break. We are so nonchalant, here in the Lower 48. So unknowing.

I’ve been all over the Far North. What we don’t know or ask is unforgivable. Everything that we take for granted comes at a price for someone else, somewhere. Just now, all the attention is focussed on sweatshops in China. All well and good, but our look, at evaluating this horrible project, Northern Pass, should be to the north. What cost to its land and its people? What arrogance in sheer marketing? What a bottom-line misuse of the landscape?

How dare we call this clean and green?

Do I care about a wholly new scar on the North Country’s landscape? You bet. I’ve seen the scars in the Far North, and they’re not pretty. I don’t want this land that I so love to suffer the same, for someone far-off’s benefit.



(John Harrigan lives in Colebrook.)


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