Northern Pass Opponents Ask Supreme Court To Dismiss Appeal, Uphold Rejection

Aug 30, 2018

Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR

Several groups are asking the state Supreme Court to uphold regulators' denial of the Northern Pass project.

Towns and nonprofits that oppose the transmission line proposal filed their motions with the high court Thursday.

(Read one of the motions, filed by the McKenna's Purchase development that abuts the project route.)

They want the justices to issue what’s called a “summary affirmance” of the Site Evaluation Committee's rejections of the project, without having to hear out Eversource’s recently filed appeal in court.

"We understand that the Supreme Court doesn't often do this,” says spokesman Jack Savage of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, one of the groups filing a motion. “But we think that the ask is appropriate because their appeal is so weak.”

The utility has argued the SEC didn't fill its legal duties in how it rejected the project earlier this year. But Savage says the utility hasn't proved there are any facts or laws in dispute.

"And that's the case we're making to the Supreme Court,” he says. “They can dismiss this because there isn't really anything for the Supreme Court to determine."

In a statement, Eversource spokeswoman Kaitlyn Woods says the utility remains committed to its appeal.

"We do not appeal to the Supreme Court lightly and only do so when we have merit and strong conviction," Woods says. "We believe the SEC erred in its interpretation and application of the NH siting statutes and regulations." 

She says they still believe Northern Pass can succeed in increasing clean energy use and lowering the region's high electric rates.

If the high court does take up the utility's appeal, it could tell the SEC to reconsider the project.

This story has been updated to include a statement from Eversource.