Great Bay Advocates Appeal N.H. SEC Approval Of Eversource Power Line

Mar 6, 2019

The map for the Seacoast Reliability Project, proposed by Eversource.

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee will decide next week whether to reconsider its approval of a new power line on the Seacoast.

Opponents of the Eversource proposal, called the Seacoast Reliability Project, appealed the SEC's December ruling Monday.

The appellants include the Conservation Law Foundation and the town of Durham.

They say the board didn't fairly consider the downsides of the project – especially a plan to bury part of it beneath Little Bay.

"We're very concerned with the water quality and habitat impacts that that process will cause,” says CLF New Hampshire director Tom Irwin.

Advocates also want more consideration given to how much local towns have recently invested in cleaning up the watershed.

"It’s a significant project that will have an impact on the Great Bay Estuary and on our community, which we have worked so diligently to protect from development that is so inconsistent with our local zoning as articulated in the local Master Plan," Durham Town Manager Todd Selig said in a statement.

The SEC must consider an energy project's impact to the environment and orderly regional development, among other criteria.

“We don't believe that this project passes the test,” Irwin says.

The SEC has set a public meeting to consider the appeals on Monday, March 11, at the Public Utilities Commission offices in Concord.

If the regulatory board rejects the appeals, the case could go next to the state Supreme Court.

That's what happened with the Northern Pass project, which the SEC rejected and Eversource appealed in 2018. It's due for a Supreme Court review this year.