CLF Challenges Seacoast Reliability Project in Federal Court

Appeals U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for project

Little Bay

Kayakers enjoy Little Bay. Photo: Melissa Paly

August 21, 2019 (CONCORD, NH) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging a key permit for the Seacoast Reliability Project. The proposed project would construct electric transmission lines across New Hampshire’s Little Bay, part of the Great Bay estuary.

“Little Bay is a unique resource that is already threatened by water pollution and the climate crisis,” said Tom Irwin, Vice President and Director of CLF New Hampshire. “The project would severely disrupt this sensitive area and cause unacceptable and unnecessary harm to the bay. The Army Corps was required to fully assess the impacts of this project, and it has failed to fulfill that critical duty.”

The 13-mile Seacoast Reliability Project would include the burial of three electric transmission lines in Little Bay. The lines would be buried using a “jet plow,” which would release significant volumes of sediments, adversely affecting water quality and shellfish, and placing critically important eelgrass habitat at risk. The project would also install several thousand square feet of concrete structures in the bay, permanently scarring the area and interfering with the public’s use of Little Bay for boating and aesthetic purposes.

CLF’s lawsuit claims that the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant the project a permit violates the National Environmental Policy Act because it failed to prepare an environmental impact statement and also failed to properly assess both the need for the project as well as other alternatives. The lawsuit also alleges that the decision to grant the permit violates the Clean Water Act, and seeks to halt construction until Eversource has obtained a valid permit.

You can read more about CLF’s work challenging the Seacoast Reliability Project here. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, and a copy can be found here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.