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Overhead power lines are an outdated technology, bury them

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,
New Hampshire, by almost any standard you use, stands out as a special place. You name it — education, health, environment, standard of living, beautiful tourist areas, on and on — New Hampshire ranks near the top of all 50 states. I moved to New Hampshire from Kentucky many years ago and while Kentucky, unfortunately, ranks at the bottom of almost all categories, one thing even Kentucky understands is not to despoil their mountains and scenic vistas for energy production along the highway system and major tourism areas.
In New Hampshire, on the other hand, Northern Pass is proposing that the most beautiful, tourism-dependent areas of the state host 1,600 steel lattice towers (some as high as 155-feet tall) to wind their 180-mile way from Canada to southern New Hampshire. If Northern Pass gets its way, these towers and dangling wires would cross I-93 six times from Concord to Woodstock, pass through two segments of the White Mountain National Forest, the most visited national forest in America, cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and devastate many scenic villages. The visual impact of Northern Pass would be jarring and the real tragedy is it's completely avoidable.
Underground power lines down state-owned ROWs would completely eliminate this visual blight. As the Concord Monitor pointed out recently, "Ideally, the state would have created a publicly-owned energy corridor along highways and railroad beds years ago to permit the easy burial of power lines. The impact on the landscape would be minimal; the revenue received would go to taxpayers, not corporate stockholders. The Legislature is exploring the possibility of doing so, and it should act with dispatch." Unfortunately PSNH is fighting tooth and nail to block a burial mandate.
Overhead power lines are outdated technology and buried power lines are the future. Burial is being done in New York, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut, so why not in New Hampshire? Could it be that Northeast Utilities wants the income derived from using PSNH's existing ROWs? Keep in mind PSNH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities, and it appears Northeast Utilities couldn't care less about the scenic impact of steel lattice towers on N.H's property values or our tourism economy. What they do care about is the electricity which Connecticut needs and the income from using PSNH's ROWs. New Hampshire would be sacrificed for corporate interests, plain and simple!
The State of New Hampshire deserves better than to be turned into an overhead power corridor for the likes of Northeast Utilities and Hydro Quebec, especially when there's an excellent alternative. Starting August 6, a series of subcommittee meetings on burial of power lines will begin at the Legislative Office Building, Room 304, at 10 a.m. Get involved in this battle. If you love this state like I do, don't let New Hampshire be Number One in visual blight by power lines.
Pamela Martin