MEREDITH — "It's a good start to get them to do more," said State Senator Jeannie Forrester (R-Meredith) in response to the Tuesday announcement by Eversource Energy Transmission Ventures, LLC that the Northern Pass project has been reconfigured to include more buried transmission lines, fewer utility poles and less transmitted power. "I look forward to the next new route," she remarked.
Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire said yesterday that another 52 miles of transmission line through the western reach of the White Mountain National Forest between Bethlehem and Bridgewater will be buried along state highways. With a stretch of eight miles between Clarksville and Stewartstown also underground, the company proposes to bury 60 miles of the 192-mile project. Some 400 poles would be eliminated and instead of carrying 1,200 megawatts of power, the line would carry 1,000 megawatts.
"I appreciate the Northern Pass Project's effort to honor and protect New Hampshire's scenic landscapes with this latest route proposal, which buries more miles of transmission lines," Forrester said in a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, this latest route still seeks to build 40 miles of new power line that cuts through some of New Hampshire's most treasured landscapes," she continued. "Northern Pass also continues to seek authority to build power lines on private property without permission from the landowners. It's a good start, but I look forward to a future route proposal which will not infringe on property owners' rights or New Hampshire's scenic views," she said.
With 19 of the 31 towns in her Senate district affected by Northern Pass, Forrester has been in the forefront of resistance to the project for the past five years. In particular, she was the prime sponsor of legislation to strengthen the eminent domain statute to forestall the acquisition of private property for the project and has consistently called for burying the transmission lines.
State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia), whose district includes Franklin where a terminal to convert the current from DC to AC would be built, welcomed the announcement.
In a prepared statement he said that "today's announcement by Northern Pass is a great step forward and I am pleased to offer my support for the project. In addition to the tremendous energy benefits this project provides to our state's economy," he continued, "this project will provide a transformational opportunity for the city of Franklin, create hundreds of jobs in our region, and provide a great boost to our local economy."
"I have long supported the opportunity this project brings to Franklin, but I have been concerned that other communities' needs also be considered," Hosmer said. "Today's announcement shows that the company has listened and I am pleased that many of the concerns have been addressed. I encourage Eversource and abutting landowners to continue to discuss opportunities to reduce the impact of the project and I look forward to a thorough evaluation of the project at the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee."