Editor’s note: InDepthNH.org takes no position on the Northern Pass Transmission project. As a public service, we do offer the opportunity for people in favor and opposed to the proposed 192-mile high-voltage transmission line to voice their opinions in occasional op-eds. We reserve the right to edit for length. InDepthNH.org cannot guarantee the accuracy of information contained in opinion pieces. We also cannot guarantee that all submissions will be posted. We appreciate all civil discourse. Send op-eds to email@example.com. Thanks. Nancy West, executive editor.
By Pamela Martin of Plymouth
It is absolutely pathetic that the Union Leader editorial staff cares so little about the state beyond the Manchester environs that they have written such a simplistic misinformed editorial such as “Northern Pass: It’s all about aesthetics.”
In fact, it reads as though Eversource public relations actually wrote it themselves. If the Union Leader truly wanted to know what Northern Pass is all about they could have attended some of the endless DOE meetings throughout the state over the past seven years. They could have attended this summer’s SEC meetings and listened to the refuted testimony of Eversource’s paid consultants and the over 28 hours of public comments to the SEC.
They could have attended the public meetings in Plymouth, Concord and Nashua where members of the Pessamit Innu Band Council explained how Hydro Quebec’s industrial hydro has devastated their homeland and the fish and wildlife of Northern Quebec. They could have read the approximately 2,000 public comments on the NH SEC website which are running approximately 12 to 1 against Northern Pass.
They could have read in their own newspaper the countless letters to the editor by members of the public who are opposed. If they had done even a few of those things they would know that Northern Pass is not “all about aesthetics” as they framed it in their one-dimensional thinking.
Scientists, environmentalists and faith-based organizations have condemned industrial hydroelectricity as devastating to the ecosystem. Industrial hydro releases methyl mercury poisoning fish and the people who live off the fish. It also releases methane into the atmosphere which is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.
Northern Pass is about property rights. The buried portion of the line will significantly impact narrow country roads in Coos and Grafton County, in addition to wells, ancient stone foundations, stone walls, homeowners’ trees and landscaping. Northern Pass has been misrepresenting the width of the ROW and ignoring the fact that the ancient roadbeds they wish to use are simply not appropriate for cable burial. Northern Pass could single-handedly take the personality and character right out these quiet country roads.
Northern Pass is about the towns of Plymouth, Franconia and Woodstock which would be enormously impacted as Northern Pass plans to bury their cable right through the middle of these towns causing headaches for visitors and loss of business for Main Street merchants not to mention Plymouth State University, the NH Music Festival, Polly’s Pancake Parlor, the Flying Monkey, The Silver Center, sporting events, school graduations, emergency vehicle, countless restaurants and other downtown activities. The Northern Pass consultant testified that, yes, these particular communities might be hurt, but the rest of the state wouldn’t suffer, so just too bad for them.
What Northern Pass is not about is saving money on our electricity bills. The Union Leader printed an article in June stating that an economist for the Northern Pass Project predicts the annual savings for an Eversource customer using 300 kilowatts of power per month would be $18 a year between the years 2020 and 2030. That means for 10 years a residential customer would save a $180. Are you seriously willing to sell New Hampshire that cheaply? Shame on you.
By the way, the aesthetics that you condescended to and dismissed in your editorial are the second highest source of income for the state. Beautiful breathtaking views are why visitors come to the Granite State, and that’s why they’ll stop coming if we despoil that beauty with giant steel transmission towers. Even the proposed towers and lines in existing Eversource rights-of-way to the south would rise far above the surrounding forest canopy, making all of these industrial structures visible to residents and tourists for miles. If you don’t think New Hampshire is worth protecting and preserving, you really should get out of Manchester more often and experience the best New Hampshire has to offer before Eversource and Northern Pass destroy it.
For a respected newspapers like the Union Leader to reduce the last seven years of debate and controversy over the Northern Pass project to basically name calling opponents “Nimbys” diminishes you and insults the intelligence of your readers.