Will Request Additional Steps by Department of Energy to Seek Public Input
CONCORD, NH March 14, 2011 – Continuing to hold the Northern Pass Transmission Project to rigorous procedural standards, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) will participate in the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) public scoping meetings for the environmental review of the project. The first meeting is scheduled for this evening from 6-9 p.m. in Pembroke, NH. The scoping hearings will continue throughout the week at locations across New Hampshire.
According to the prepared remarks of Staff Attorney Christophe Courchesne, CLF will call on DOE to conduct a world-class, scientifically-sound assessment of the impacts of the proposed project on New Hampshire’s environment and communities, and on New Hampshire’s and New England’s energy future. In addition, CLF will call for a rigorous and meaningful comparison of potential alternatives to the project, including use of the existing high voltage direct current (HVDC) right-of-way in Vermont and burial of the transmission lines, that will ensure that the selected alternative will result in minimal environmental and socio-economic impact and promote a clean energy future for New Hampshire and New England.
CLF also will request at the meeting that DOE release for public comment, well before it issues a draft EIS for the project, its proposed decisions on the issues and alternatives that will be studied in the EIS. Although DOE has not yet committed to taking this step, it is necessary to ensure that DOE receives and incorporates public input on its approach to the EIS before preparation of the draft EIS begins in earnest.
Courchesne, who will speak on CLF’s behalf at tonight’s hearing, said, “DOE must conduct a wide-ranging, independent, and rigorous review of the project. A world-class, in-depth analysis is the only way that DOE’s decision on the project will reflect the ‘hard look’ at impacts and alternatives that the law mandates.”
CLF is working to secure a clean energy future for New Hampshire and New England – one in which our energy system is cleaner and less carbon-intensive, provides reliable power with minimal environmental impact and at reasonable cost, and is supported by a robust, local clean-energy economy built on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. CLF is working to ensure that the Northern Pass project moves us toward – and not away from – this future. We are dedicated to promoting fair, well-informed, and rigorous environmental permitting processes to achieve:
- A solution with minimal impact on the environment and communities;
- Equitable sharing of benefits and burdens;
- Displacement of dirty power; and
- A market that encourages energy efficiency and provides a level playing field for local renewable energy.
The Northern Pass proposal consists of a 180-mile electric transmission line from northernmost New Hampshire, through the White Mountain National Forest, to Deerfield, NH. It proposes to import 1,200 megawatts of energy generated by Hydro-Quebec, in Canada.
The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. Using the law, science and the market, CLF creates solutions that preserve natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy region-wide. Founded in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.