CLF and all stakeholders concerned about the fairness and objectivity of the environmental review process for the proposed Northern Pass electric transmission project scored an important victory today. Responding to concerns raised by CLF and others, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC has today formally requested termination of an agreement with the Department of Energy that tasked Northern Pass’s contractor, Normandeau Associates, with preparing the federal Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project. Northern Pass Transmission, LLC has requested that the Department of Energy, which is administering the environmental review as part of its Presidential Permit process, select a new contractor to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement.
In filings with the Department of Energy last month, CLF and other parties sounded the alarm about the Department of Energy’s choice of Normandeau on the grounds that Normandeau was also working for the project applicant, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC and demanded that the Department of Energy retain a different contractor without a conflict of interest. More recently, New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators added their voices to the chorus questioning the selection of Normandeau to prepare the EIS. With the pressure mounting and scoping meetings for the EIS scheduled to take place next week, Northern Pass’s action today means that the Department of Energy should now move forward with the environmental review of the Northern Pass project with the objectivity and independence that federal law requires.
As the process gets underway and a new contractor is selected, CLF will continue to advocate for an open, fair and rigorous environmental review of this transmission project, its many significant potential impacts and all possible alternatives to the current proposal.