The intervenor group from Pittsburg, Clarksville and Stewartsown submitted a 21-minute video as their pre-filed testimony about why they oppose the Northern Pass Transmission project.
The video offers sweeping aerial views of the area – some in full fall foliage — at the northernmost tip of the proposed high-voltage power line that would run 192 miles from Pittsburg to Deerfield. Much of it was videotaped using a drone.
“We feel it is critical that the Site Evaluation Committee receive a clear view of the natural beauty in our three towns. This landscape will be permanently destroyed if this project is permitted as proposed,” said Bradley J. Thompson, spokesman for Group I North in a letter submitting the video to the state Site Evaluation Committee that was released on Friday.
“First, it is intended to act as a guided-tour of Northern Pass’s proposed route, entering the United States at Halls Stream, Pittsburg, and leaving Stewartstown to the east of Sugar Hill, and entering the Wagner Woodlot in Dixville,” Thompson said.
The group also wanted to impress the importance of tourism in the North Country and the critical importance to the present and future economy of the region, Thompson wrote.
“It is refreshing to note that all seven participants in the video were speaking from their hearts,” he said. “There was no coaching, no pre-filming strategies, no crib sheets or view screens.”
Northern Pass spokesman Martin Murray couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Michael Iacopino, attorney for the Site Evaluation Committee, said the filing isn’t the first time video has been submitted, but it is not common. The next step in the process is to hold more technical sessions, which haven’t been scheduled.
“The intervenors have filed their pre-filed testimony and at the technical sessions, the applicant can ask questions of them,” Iacopino said.
The adjudicative process that resembles a trial also hasn’t been scheduled. The SEC subcommittee that will ultimately approve or deny the application must make its final decision by Sept. 30, 2017.
Writer John Harrigan of Colebrook is quoted in the video as he walks along an old road that was laid out for ox-carts.
“If anyone was proposing this kind of job anywhere around Concord through a landscape like this, people would be out with torches and pitchforks by the thousands,” Harrigan said.
“What makes it so hard for me to believe is that New Hampshire is taking this thing not only lying down, but looking at it as a bonus of some sort, some kind of godsend.”
Northern Pass and Eversource Energy filed a joint application with the state Site Evaluation Committee to bring 1,090 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec through New Hampshire to the New England grid.
Northern Pass says it will create jobs and reduce electric rates, but opponents doubt there will be a true rate decrease and say the jobs will last only during construction while the devastation to tourism and real estate values will be permanent.