Letter: Cultural genocide

Published: 8/8/2017 12:01:45 AM
Cultural genocide

Most objections to Northern Pass focus on the huge, ugly towers that will scar the North Country and later, Concord, to deliver “sustainable” energy to New England. The towers will be large enough to be seen over much of our small city. The opposition predicts that these will discourage tourists and therefore harm our economy. Many opponents insist that the lines be buried. Other naysayers insist that burying the lines in towns will disrupt businesses and force their closure.

​I agree that the towers would be hideous, but I do not think that burying the lines will solve all the problems presented by Northern Pass. First, burying the lines will itself create environmental damage. Second, the energy of Northern Pass is not sustainable and therefore not consistent with the policies recommended in New Hampshire’s 2014 Energy Plan. The Energy Plan talks about renewable and distributed energy, solar, wind and biomass. It favors local energy sources, so that New Hampshire money does not leave the state. Northern Pass will generate millions of dollars for Eversource and Hydro-Quebec. Hydro-Quebec created this electricity by flooding millions of acres of forest, destroying rivers and emitting greenhouse gases from rotting vegetation. Large hydro projects, recent studies show, are not sustainable.

​On July 20, the Site Evaluation took public comment on Northern Pass. One group who testified were the Pessamit Innu, a group of 1st Nation people who used to live in the area now largely flooded by Hydro-Quebec. This group described a former life living off the land, hunting and trapping in the winter and then coming back to their river to fish in the summers. They describe being able to sustain themselves in this way and basing their culture on what the woods and river would provide. But in the 1950s, Hydro-Quebec began to flood their land. They show contrasting photos of the apparently clean river before the flooding began and the now sediment-heavy water that is left to them. They state the management of the water is such that the salmon cannot reproduce and are going extinct. Moreover, if Northern Pass receives its permits, they believe that more land will be flooded and the salmon in their area will become extinct.

There is nothing sustainable about the story they present. They appear to be losing a way of life. One might even call it cultural genocide.




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