Northern Pass responds to lawsuit filed by N.H. forest society

Last modified: 12/3/2015 11:35:02 PM
Responding to a lawsuit, Northern Pass said Thursday it has the right to bury its transmission project beneath a public roadway in Northern New Hampshire.

Northern Pass is proposing to run a 192-mile transmission line through the state to bring more than 1,000 megawatts of Canadian Hydropower to the New England region.

The company plans to bury roughly 60 miles of the project.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests recently filed a lawsuit against Northern Pass, saying the company doesn’t have the right to bury the transmission line beneath 600 feet of its conservation land in Clarksville.

On Thursday, Northern Pass filed a response in Coos County Superior Court disputing the premise of the suit and asking the court to expedite its consideration of the issue.

Up for debate is who controls the land around Route 3, a state roadway that runs through a property owned by the Forest Society known as the Washburn Family Forest.

The forest society said because it owns property surrounding Route 3, Northern Pass can’t bury the transmission line beneath the roadway without the organization’s permission.

But Northern Pass counters in its petition filed Thursday that the department of transportation oversees the road, and has power to authorize utility pole installation. The petition argues Northern Pass doesn’t need permission from the Forest Society to build.

The forest society has been a vocal critic of the Northern Pass project, which is currently seeking state approval.

“Despite repeatedly calling on Northern Pass to bury the transmission line, (the forest society) is employing this lawsuit in an attempt to keep the project from being buried within a public right of way,” Martin Murray, a spokesman for the project, said in a statement.

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