Northern Pass – The Saga Continues

Several headlines made the front pages of the local newspapers over the past few weeks. The first; Northern Pass plan suffers a setback, reported that State environmental officials said the application filed by Northern Pass with the state Site Evaluation Committee is incomplete because the developers can’t prove they have the necessary property rights for the project. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests challenged that Northern Pass lacks the property rights to apply for this permit

Interestingly The New England Power Generators Association, a trade group representing independent power plant generators in the region advanced essentially the same argument in a November 10th letter to the SEC. While one can assume the Association is concerned about potential competition, the Society is more concerned about protecting the natural beauty of New Hampshire and duly filed a lawsuit in the Coos County Superior Court seeking to block the path of the line through a conservation area the society owns in Clarksville, near the Canadian border. Both groups have evoked wails of protest from Northern Pass.

You would think after five or so years of being consistently opposed that the proponents of Northern Pass would finally start listening and give in to the demands to bury the proposed line. At most they have thrown locals a bone by offering to bury about seven and a half miles of the line (out of the 100+ miles it wants to cover). It is perfectly doable to completely bury the line and eliminate the eye-sore towers they actually want to erect. So what’s the source of the resistance by Eversource?

Burynorthernpass blog has been documenting the controversy over Northern Pass and it’s clear money is a major factor, namely shareholder money. At a public hearing in Franconia November 18th, when asked if they made more money going down Routes 116 and 112 rather than Interstate 93, the lack of response was very telling. They all but took the fifth. One has to shake their head in amazement at the poorly concealed contempt these people seem to have for locals.

Eversource has certainly shown itself to be a very poor team player with its customers. Demanding deposits from customers, some of whom are good payers as well as some of who have trouble making ends meet, without bothering to distinguish between the two, is the unmistakable hallmark of a huge bureaucratic corporation. And these people are telling us about the bright new energy future their brobdingnagian project would bring? Excuse us for being a bit skeptical.

While we are on the downslope of peak oil , it’s past time we started looking at another option we don’t hear mentioned much these days. I’m talking of course about conservation. When was the last time you as an individual or business looked at your electrical usage and asked how much electricity do you really and truly need to have? When I drive home from work late in the evening, the road I am on is across the river from a large number of businesses which have a vast array of brilliantly glowing lights, mostly from box stores like Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart as well as a number of car dealerships. How much electricity is this gobbling up? Do they really need to have so many lights on and so late in the evening? When I drive along side streets at night, I see many houses which look like they have every room in the place lit. Now of course Christmas is nearing and the obligatory outside decorative lights are popping up. While they do look very pretty, is it really necessary to have so many? I’ve seen some places lit up like Broadway.

What about the electrical appliances you use? Will it really break your arm to use a spoon to mix with rather than an electrical mixer? Try line drying your laundry instead of using the electric dryer. Use a rake instead of a leaf blower. How about those hair dryers? Strange as it may sound, your hair has the power to dry on its own. How about going to bed a little earlier and turning out the lights half an hour or an hour sooner? You’ll be surprised at how rested you feel the next morning. Last but not least, given that the majority of TV programs are mindless drek, how about turning off the television (and the power strip it’s attached to)? You really won’t be missing anything.

If everyone makes an effort to cut back on electrical usage, utility bills will be reduced and firms like Eversource will have far less leverage when trying to push Northern Pass down our throats.