DOE Releases Summary Of Comments On Northern Pass

Mar 14, 2014

Comments were gathered at public hearings or sent directly to the the Department of Energy. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR.

About 6,400 people, businesses or organizations, with about 68 percent from New Hampshire, filed comments with the US Department of Energy about the controversial Northern Pass project and now the federal agency has issued a summary of the concerns.

The Department of Energy sought the comments as it considers whether to allow Northeast Utilities, the parent of Northern Pass, to bring electric power from Canada.

The largest number of comments dealt with why the lines couldn’t be buried instead of using overhead towers that would run almost the length of the state.

According to the report, Many of the commenters wanted to know why burying the lines would be quote “cost-prohibitive and gave examples of where this alternative has been employed.”

Northern Pass officials have said burying the lines would be too expensive but they have never provided an analysis of that cost.

Another major concern was an adverse impact on the economy.

That includes tourism, possible decreases in the value of homes located near the power lines and skepticism about the number and quality of promised jobs.

There were also concerns about whether there is a need for the project, why New Hampshire residents should bear the brunt of the impact to provide energy to other regions, whether the DOE’s process is fair and transparent and possible health issues for those living near the overhead lines.

The comments were made at public hearings last year or sent directly to the DOE.

The DOE continues work on an environmental impact statement with a draft report expected later this year.