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NH SEC Adjudicative Hearings – Day 48

Lawyers question witnesses during Site Evaluation Committee

The Site Evaluation Committee met at 1 p.m. to hear from witnesses from various groups trying to block the Northern Pass project. The purpose of these hearings is for lawyers for both sides to ask questions about the witnesses’ pre-filed testimony, or to get new information in the form of expert opinion and analysis. At numerous points during today’s proceedings, SEC Chairman Martin Honigberg found that the Counsel for the Public, as well as lawyers for the project opponents, were essentially delaying the proceedings by asking questions that simply expanded on the anti-project witnesses’ pre-filed testimony, and stopped them from doing so.

Chairman Honigberg also sustained objections to questions from anti-project lawyers to their own clients asking them to speculate on topics for which they have no expertise, such as property values or impacts of the construction project on wetlands. Rather than being able to provide any new information on these topics, Honigberg found the anti-project witnesses were simply there to reiterate their opposition to the project.

On several occasions, the Counsel for the Public asked anti-project witnesses whether they would be able to see Northern Pass towers from their property, and those witnesses had answers that differed substantially from the scientific analysis conducted by visual impact experts. In one case, the Northern Pass team presented photos from specific locations that completely contradicted the assertion by the witness that towers would be visible from Christine Lake. Despite no towers being visible in the photo, the witness claimed that, in her opinion, the towers were visible.

The next SEC hearing will be on Friday, Oct. 20.


IBEW Local 104 Christmas Party

The IBEW Local 104 Christmas Party is set for mid-December in New Hampshire.

Members are encouraged to mark their calendar and plan to attend the annual Local 104 Christmas Party, which will take place on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, N.H.

The party will begin at 5 p.m. and go until 11 p.m., as members enjoy good food and great comradery, while we get in the holiday spirit.

The Crowne Plaza is offering Local 104 members a discounted group rate of $109, plus tax, for rooms, when using the signup code: IBE.

In order to receive the discounted room rate, members must reserve their room by Dec. 1.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel is located at 2 Somerset Parkway in Nashua, NH. (see map below.)

Plan ahead and make reservations now by calling (855) 914-1386 or click here for the link to register online for a hotel room.
 
We hope to see you on Dec. 15!


Northern Pass decision delayed until 2018

On Aug. 31, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee voted 6-0 in favor of pushing back its Sept. 30 deadline for making a decision on the Norther Pass transmission project. The NH-SEC is now aiming to announce its decision by Feb. 28, with a formal written decision released by March 31, 2018.

 

Despite the further delay, Northern Pass spokeswoman Kaitlyn Woods responded with optimism saying that project officials, “remain confident in our ability to achieve a 2020 in-service date.”

 

The NH-SEC had set a deadline of December 2016 to make a decision, then extended it to Sept. 30, 2017, before extending it yet again.

 

Pushing the review back again will set the projected completion date back into 2020. The idea of the Northern Pass project had its inception in 2011. This further delay will push this project’s forecasted completion date to almost a decade from the time initial discussions began.

 

“These delays continue to hurt the economy and kill jobs in the state,” said Brian Murphy, business manager for IBEW Local 104.

 

“At a time when the Trump administration and federal agencies are speeding up decisions and improving efficiency on the permitting of key infrastructure projects, New Hampshire is mired in a regulatory swamp,” Murphy said.

 

Northern Pass is a proposed 200-mile transmission line that when complete will carry 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec in Canada through New Hampshire to provide additional power to the New England power grid.

 

Commenting further on the effect of continued delays to the Northern Pass project, IBEW International Representative Joe Casey stated, “It is very disheartening to have to explain to the thousands of local workers who could be employed on this project that the State of New Hampshire has decided to delay final approval again.”

 

This further delay continues to put a burden on the IBEW 104 members in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont who are hoping to work on this project, as well as delaying the substantial economic benefits that the Northern Pass will bring to communities and residents throughout New England.

 


Dept. of Energy provides key approval for Northern Pass

The U.S. Department of Energy has recommended that the Northern Pass project receive a presidential permit — a key approval step for the transmission project and a major step toward creating more than a thousand construction jobs in the New England area.

An “impact statement” was released Aug. 10 by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in conjunction with other governmental agencies.

The "impact statement" led the DOE to award the presidential permit, which allows Northern Pass Transmission, LLC to proceed with the permit process on the proposed 200-mile transmission line to carry 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec in Canada through New Hampshire.

While not the final step in the approval process, the permit is a key step in the process that started in October 2010.

In addition to its Presidential permit application to the DOE, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC applied to the U.S. Forestry Service for a special use permit that would authorize Northern Pass Transmission, LLC to construct, own, operate and maintain an electric transmission line to cross portions of the White Mountain National Forest under its jurisdiction.

Clearing the hurdle of this impact statement allows the much-needed project to move forward.

With the Presidential Permit approved, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC will begin applying for all remaining permits needed to begin construction.

IBEW Local 104 supports Northern Pass for many reasons, including the work opportunities for our members during the construction phase, as well as the addition of an estimated $28 million in taxes for the New Hampshire economy every year.

“The Northern Pass project will provide work for hundreds of highly trained, local electrical workers and IBEW Local 104 appreciates the timely, thorough work undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the department’s focus on facts over rhetoric,” said Brian Murphy, Local 104 Business Manager.

Northern Pass is expected to be operational and able to provide hydroelectric power to the New England grid by 2020.

The entire Department of Energy Final Environmental Impact Statement Summary can be found online.


2017 Northeast Lineman's Rodeo & Family BBQ

The 13th Annual Northeast Lineman's Rodeo and Family BBQ will be held this year on Saturday July 22, 2017.

This event is in a new location this year:
Elk's Hall at 282 Durham Road in Dover New Hampshire.

See Map Below.

The outing starts at 11 am and ends at 4pm.
Climbing will start promptly at 11 am!

Bring your family for a day of fun with live music, bounce houses, face painting, BBQ lunch, balloon animals, pony rides and an ice cream truck! Hope to see you there!


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