Eversource Nears Final OK For 'Jet Plow' In Little Bay, But Obstacles Remain

Oct 9, 2019

Barges held construction equipment on Little Bay in September as Eversource tested its "jet plow" cable burial method.
Credit Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state says Eversource should be allowed to proceed with a controversial plan to bury a new transmission line under Little Bay -- but it's not the last hurdle the utility must clear before construction begins.

Eversource wants to bury a mile of its 13-mile Seacoast Reliability Project power line underwater, between Durham and Newington.

Its proposed method is called "jet plowing." Environmental groups fear it will do irreparable damage to the fragile bay ecosystem.

The utility got approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project. Now, after a recent test of the jet plow, the state Department of Environmental Services says it recommends the work be allowed to proceed.

But, Eversource is still waiting on permitting approval for what it describes as a slight change to the cable’s underwater alignment – so it can't begin just yet.

The utility is also facing a federal lawsuit under the Clean Water Act that seeks to block the jet plowing.

A ruling in the latest injunction requested as part of that suit, filed by the Conservation Law Foundation, is expected by early next week.