Senate Passes Eminent Domain Bill (HB648)

January 24, 2012

The New Hampshire Senate today voted 23-1 to pass HB648, clarifying that private powerline companies may not apply to the Public Utilities Commission to be able to use eminent domain in siting transmission lines such as the proposed Northern Pass project.
"This is a huge victory for New Hampshire homeowners and landowners," said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. "It's also critically important for the ongoing protection of existing conservation lands like the 5,800 acres surrounding the Balsams in Dixville Notch. On behalf of our members and the majority of New Hampshire landowners who joined us in the support of this bill, I commend the Senate for their willingness to understand the issues and come to a near-unanimous, bi-partisan consensus. Today they voted to uphold the rights of landowners who pay property taxes, protect water quality, often allow recreational use of their lands and provide jobs through sustainable forest management.
"HB648 still needs to be agreed upon by a Committee of Conference between the House and the Senate, but we are extremely pleased that the Senate has joined the House in speaking loudly and clearly on the sujects of which kinds of projects have access--and which do not have access-- to eminent domain under Article 12a of the New Hampshire constitution."