NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Dozens of activists from New Hampshire and the Yale community on Thursday delivered an open letter to the Yale University Investments Office calling on the university to stop the controversial Northern Pass powerline project.
Yale controls 24 miles of the proposed route. With this open letter, major organizations from New England and Quebec are calling on Yale to Stop Northern Pass.
The letter brings together a coalition of environmental, conservation, community, and governmental organizations including the Appalachian Mountain Club, the New Hampshire Sierra Club, the Yale Student Environmental Coalition, Beyond Extreme Energy, the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, the Ammonoosuc Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New Hampshire Community Rights Network, and two New Hampshire Select Boards.
Indigenous groups and advocacy organizations, including the Council of the Pessamit Innu and the Association of Native Americans at Yale, also signed the letter.
“Opposition to Northern Pass in New Hampshire is fierce,” said Rick Samson, District 3 Coos County Commissioner. “Nearly all the communities along the proposed route have voted against it.”
According to the petition, Yale is a 98.8 percent owner of Bayroot LLC, which has leased 24 miles of Northern Pass’s proposed route to the developers of Northern Pass. Yale argued in a June 20 statement that it has limited power to influence decisions about the management of the Bayroot land. The letter responds, “Yale owns this land, and cannot shield itself from the consequences of this investment by hiding behind the decisions of a contracted investment manager.”
The letter’s signatories cite environmental and social consequences in New Hampshire and Quebec. “Northern Pass would add more than 1,100 new transmission towers up to 165 feet tall cutting through the heart of New Hampshire’s iconic natural landscape, marring scenic vistas and harming our vital recreation and tourism industry,” said Susan Arnold, Vice President for Conservation at the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Qubec’s Pessamit Innu First Nation tribe has sued Hydro-Qubec for displacing their members with no input from or compensation to the Pessamit themselves. “There are 13 hydroelectric power stations located and operated illegitimately on Pessamit’s traditional territory,” says Rene Simon, Chief of the Pessamit Innu. “Twenty-nine percent of the electricity that Hydro-Quebec intends to transmit with Northern Pass has been forced on us without our agreement or compensation. By agreeing to allow the project to cross its land, Yale University in effect joins in these violations of our rights and those of nature.”
Elizabeth Wyman, a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, who recently returned from a visit to Pessamit lands, said “The energy produced by Hydro-Quebec’s massive dams is not green energy. The sprawling reservoirs release methane and mercury into the environment and have compromised the culture and livelihood of the Pessamit.”
The demonstration coincided with a talk at the Yale Forest Forum by Dan Hudnut, Vice President of Wagner Forest Management, which signed the lease with Northern Pass on behalf of Yale.