December 15, 2010


Files motion to intervene

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is filing today a motion to intervene with the Department of Energy (DOE) in opposition to the Northern Pass power-line project as currently proposed.

 “For more than a century the Forest Society has worked to promote the wise use of New Hampshire’s forests, and their complete protection in places of special scenic beauty,” said Jane Difley, president/forester.

 “The formal review process for deciding whether or not Northern Pass is ultimately in the interest of the public will be a long one, and there are many questions still to be answered surrounding a variety of environmental, economic, and energy-related issues,” Difley said.

 “However, the proposal to clear at least 40 miles of new power-line right-of-way through public and private forestland in the North Country, including the many conserved lands within the proposed corridor, would not appear to be in the best interests of New Hampshire’s forests nor the tourism-based economy those forested landscapes help support,” Difley said. “We will be advocating eliminating or minimizing the construction of new transmission corridors. We believe there are other alternatives that should be considered.”

 The filing notes: In the New Hampshire municipalities impacted directly by the Northern Pass project as proposed, the Forest Society holds conservation easements on 89 separate properties protecting 18,660 acres of land, and we own 18 forest reservations totaling 5,269 acres. …It is premature to determine the number of these conserved acres that would be adversely impacted by the proposed project, but it is not too early to suggest that some of these lands and the critical conservation values for which they were protected would be permanently altered by the project in ways that would violate existing conservation easements and reduce their commensurate public benefit.

 The Forest Society is also concerned about impacts from potential expansion of the existing right-of-way through the White Mountain National Forest. We believe that the multiple uses for which these lands were conserved in the public interest do not include being a host for any new commercial power projects, including 10 miles of new high elevation towers as proposed by the Northern Pass.

 The Forest Society is a private, non-profit membership organization established in 1901. It currently holds more than 700 conservation easements statewide permanently protecting 100,000 acres of New Hampshire’s landscape from further subdivision or development. The Forest Society also own 50,000 acres of land outright in 170 reservations in 95 New Hampshire communities, including the Washburn Family Forest in Clarksville and The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem.