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Hassan to nominate third public member to Site Evaluation Committee

Last modified: 12/3/2014 12:51:10 AM
Gov. Maggie Hassan will today nominate a third public member – environmental science assistant professor Rachel Whitaker – to serve on the state committee charged with permitting large-scale energy projects in New Hampshire.

The Executive Council will vote today on the two other public committee members Hassan has already nominated, Patricia Weathersby of Rye and Roger Hawk of Concord.

The Legislature recently reworked the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, slimming it to nine members from 15, and adding new public representation to the group that is primarily made up of state agency officials. One of those new public members must be an attorney.

The public members Hassan has previously nominated to the committee, which is in charge of permitting Northern Pass and future wind projects, have faced pushback from local activists.

Hassan originally named outgoing state Sen. Bob Odell, a New London Republican, and outgoing state Rep. Amanda Merrill, a Durham Democrat, to represent the public on the Site Evaluation Committee. New Hampshire Wind Watch criticized those nominations, saying the public members were meant to be residents affected by energy projects, not legislators.

At the last council meeting, Hassan withdrew Odell and Merrill in favor of Weathersby and Hawk.

Hawk is a former community development director for the city of Concord who now owns his own consulting business focused on community planning and economic development. Weathersby is an attorney who owns a firm focused on zoning, planning and real estate issues.

Hassan will nominate Whitaker – who is from Dummer and represents the North Country – to be an alternate member with a four-year term. Whitaker is an assistant professor of environmental science at White Mountains Community College.

“Rachel Whitaker brings varied experiences in environmental sciences and programs that will help her represent the public’s interest with an open and fair-minded approach to each potential project, and I thank her for her commitment to undertaking this important work,” Hassan said in a statement yesterday. “The new makeup of the Site Evaluation Committee is critical to ensuring that the siting process for new energy projects is impartial, balanced and includes perspectives of all stakeholders.”



(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)


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