ACT, AMC, CLF Weigh in at SEC on Northern Pass


Jack Savage | January 12, 2018

The following is the Summary of Argument from the NGO Intervenors at the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee Proceedings Concerning Northern Pass





The project proposed by Northern Pass Transmission LLC and Public Service Company

of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource Energy (jointly, “Applicants”) would change the character,

landscapes, and environment of New Hampshire forever and bring few if any benefits to the

state. A petition for certification must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence1

 that the proposed project would not have unreasonable adverse effects or unduly interfere with the

orderly development of the region, and is in the public interest.

To the contrary, the Project as proposed fails each of these tests.

The 192-mile project proposed in this proceeding would traverse the entire state of New

Hampshire, imposing adverse impacts on a scale that New Hampshire has never seen before

from a single energy project. Credible evidence adduced by Counsel for the Public, Society for

the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF), Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and

numerous other Intervenors, as well as thousands of New Hampshire residents and others via

written comments and oral testimony, establishes that the Applicants have both grossly

undercounted and undervalued the scenic resources that will be affected by the Project and

grossly understated the Project’s impacts on aesthetics, communities, and the environment.

The Applicants attempt to downplay the massive scale of impacts throughout the length

of the state, and instead of addressing or mitigating those impacts, they offer a red herring – they

claim that the state will reap benefits in terms of capacity market price reductions and

greenhouse gas emissions reductions. As this memorandum demonstrates, together with the

memoranda and exhibits of Counsel for the Public and the New England Power Generators


 Site 202.19. See also 102.37. 2

 NH RSA 162-H:16; Site 301.14-16.


Association (NEPGA), these so-called benefits do not exist and should not be accorded value by

the Committee as a counter-weight to the heavy adverse burden of this project.

In petitioning their case for the so-called “Northern Pass” project, the Applicants have

failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that construction and operation of the Project will

not have an unreasonable adverse effect on the natural environment. The Project would

seriously degrade two exemplary rare natural community occurrences and create severe forest

fragmentation by construction of 32 miles of new powerline right-of-way through some of New

Hampshire’s most extensive unfragmented forest. The Project will diminish the state’s native

biodiversity and permanently reduce the extent of interior forest habitat in the North Country,

and have a severe and long-lasting unreasonable adverse effect on the state’s natural


The Applicants have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that the Project will not

unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region. The regional capacity market and

greenhouse gas impacts alleged by the Applicants have been disproven and fail to establish

benefits to employment or the economy. On the contrary, if completed the project would likely

have negative impacts on the orderly development of the region by displacing or deferring the

development of local clean energy resources. In addition, the proposed decommissioning plan

fails to comply with Site 301.08(d)(2)b.

And the Applicants have overwhelmingly failed to meet their burden of demonstrating

that the Project is in the public interest with regard, inter alia, to the welfare of the population,

air and water quality, or the overall economic growth of the state. By offering no more than an

unsubstantiated red herring—the false promise of capacity market price benefits and greenhouse

gas reductions that are not documented and will never materialize—the Applicants hope to tempt

the state to make a bad deal. Ultimately, the cumulative negative effects of the Project lead to

the conclusion that the Project is not in the public interest.

The Committee should reject this bad deal for New Hampshire.