Show Up and Speak Out at the Final Round of Public Scoping Meetings for Northern Pass

Christophe Courchesne

During the week of September 23, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has scheduled four additional public scoping meetings in different communities in New Hampshire as part of the scoping process for DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern Pass transmission project.

As with the well-attended meetings more than two years ago, these new meetings are a vital opportunity to explain your concerns about the project to DOE officials. These meetings are the last in-person moments to influence DOE’s decisions on the scope and content of the draft EIS, including the environmental and social impacts of the project to be considered and the alternatives to be seriously studied. Those decisions will have lasting ramifications as the federal and state permitting processes continue. Here is the schedule:

  • Monday, September 23, 2013, 6–9 p.m., Grappone Conference Center, Concord, NH (map)
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 5–8 p.m, Plymouth State University, Silver Center for the Arts, Hanaway Theater, Plymouth, NH (map)
  • Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 5–8 p.m., Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, Presidential Room, Whitefield, NH (map)
  • Thursday, September 26, 2013, 5–8 p.m., Colebrook Elementary School, Colebrook, NH (map) (this meeting was moved from a smaller location in W. Stewartstown)

Each meeting will include both an “informal workshop” and a more formal session where the public will have the opportunity to make brief statements. In the 2011 meetings, speakers were limited to 3 minutes. If you want to speak, we advise that you reserve a slot in advance by emailing DOE’s Brian Mills at Brian.Mills@hq.doe.gov. The formal portion of the meeting will be transcribed by a stenographer, and all public testimony will be included in the official administrative record of DOE’s review of the project.

Even if you aren’t interested in making any remarks in the formal session, please attend and bring your neighbors, friends, and family. The turnout at these meetings is important to the course of the permitting process, and many will be watching to gauge the public’s reaction to Northern Pass’s revised route. Showing up matters!

public-scoping-meeting

(photo credit: flickr/Christchurch City Libraries)

You can also weigh in with written scoping comments on DOE’s EIS website. The deadline for these comments is November 5, 2013. (The deadline to file comments with DOE on the amended application and to “intervene” remains September 18.)

What should you say or write? Any reasonable concern or question about the proposed Northern Pass project and alternatives is relevant to the scoping process and will help inform DOE’s decision-making. As a starting point, it may be helpful to review the maps of the project route prepared by Northern Pass Transmission LLC in its amended permit application; both the maps and the application are available at DOE’s EIS website. CLF’s Northern Pass site, our detailed 2011 scoping comments, and three years of our Northern Pass blog posts are also at your disposal. Consider submitting comments on the potential impacts of the project on communities, the White Mountain National Forest, the climate, wildlife, forest resources, wetlands, recreation areas, the renewable energy sector, the local economy, and natural resources in Canada.  And don’t hesitate to tell DOE, once again, that its review of the project needs to be more fair, transparent, and objective than it is now. Note also that Northern Pass’s many rejections of potential alternatives to the project, including in its permit application, aren’t the final word, and DOE must conduct a rigorous review of all reasonable alternatives, including not building the project, and alternative routes and project designs that may have fewer impacts. It’s well settled that an objective and comprehensive analysis of alternatives is an ironclad legal requirement and, indeed, the heart of the federal environmental review of the project.

Show up and speak out!

Focus Areas

Climate Change

Places

New Hampshire

Campaigns

Northern Pass

4 Responses to “Show Up and Speak Out at the Final Round of Public Scoping Meetings for Northern Pass”

  1. Roger Dennison

    To protect our planet from catastrophic climate change, fuel-fired power generation must be phased out as quickly as possible. Doing so is wholely dependent on bringing on line cost-effective alternatives. Hydropower from Canada is far and away the most cost-effective form of non-carbon energy available to New England. It is both disappointing and puzzling to find CLF siding with people in the fuel-fired power generation industry to scrape together arguements against this promising effort to cut New England’s carbon emissions.

  2. Roger Dennison

    Mr. Courchesne – Thank you for your detailed response to my comment. I have read the Synapse Energy report and noted its conclusion that the emissions from newly-flooded boreal reservoirs are significant but “much lower than for fossil fuel technologies”.

    Given this, one would hope to see CLF advocate in favor of the power-line project, and make the public understand that the environmental consequences of the power line would be limited and indeed trivial when set against the impending consequences of climate change.

    • Mark Orzeck

      The issue with Northern Pass is not the need, it’s the suggested method. Both NY and ME have found ways to go completely underground for ~$6M/mile, yet NP says to go underground in NH it would be 4-14 times that amount. Also noted, that is an estimate on their part, they neither have real data to back that up, nor will they fund a study to provide that data.

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