NH SEC 2015-06 Adjudicative Hearing – Day 56

November 7, 2017 | By | Reply More

Concord, NH – A shortened afternoon session on Monday begins another week of SEC Adjudicative hearings regarding the proposed Northern Pass Project. Monday brought a new panel of witnesses, the Counsel for the Public’s Environmental panel, made up of Mr.’s Lew-Smith, Parsons, Amaral, and Reynolds from Arrowwood Environmental, an ecological and consulting firm out of Vermont. The panel was asked a number of questions regarding specific species and biological impacts from the proposed Northern Pass Project.

Attorney Connor, The Counsel for the Public was the first to question the Panel, during a series of questions regarding protecting wild lupine in the project area, the witness panel indicated that the fact that the Applicant will be using timber mats to protect the area is a good step. Attorney Connor then asks about a proposed plan by the Northern Pass to provide for turtle and snake sweeps regularly to protect the population in the project area. Attorney Connor’s final question was in regards to the project in the Concord area, the Project had changed plans to build structures in wild lupine filled areas, the witnesses agreed that this was a step in the right direction.

Following Attorney Connor, Attorney Manzelli representing the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire’s forests asked a series of questions regarding the Applicant’s proposed locations, and whether they might change. She then asks a series of questions on wetland impacts, specifically regarding potential adverse impacts to Vernal Pools in the project path.

The Pemigewasset Group’s series of questions to the Witnesses by Mr. and Mrs. Draper brought a visual aid of live tadpoles, among other aquatic life usually found in wetlands. Mr. Draper asked a series of questions regarding potential harm towards vernal-pool dwelling life. Mr. Draper also asked the witnesses about potential climate change aspects, and drew a sustained objection for asking whether or not the lack of references to climate change in the hearings was potentially politically influenced. Chairman Honigberg sustained the objection, as climate change is not part of the witnesses’ purview. The fact that the Northern Pass will result in substantial greenhouse gas reductions, the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road, was not discussed.

Ms. Menard, representing the Abutting Property Owners of Deerfield (Overhead Portion) asked a series of questions regarding buffer zones to the pass project. Ms. Menard also asks whether or not the Applicant’s assertion that there will be no long-term impact on endangered species could be different on a local population level – The witnesses agree that with the specific turtles that they were discussing, losing adults could be significant to the population, and the project may result in the loss of some individuals, but with the newly adopted plans, and if the Applicant adopts mitigation steps that the witness has laid out, then the impacts would not be unreasonable.

Finishing the hearings, Attorney Walker, representing the Applicant asks a series of questions beginning with the Witnesses suppositions and answers regarding the project, as they kept referring to the “ideal” situations. The witnesses agree that they are there to opine on whether or not the project would have an unreasonable adverse impact or not. Attorney Walker then asked each of the panel to expand on how much field work they had accomplished, while some witnesses had 20-30 years of on-site experience near Concord, witness Mr. Smith indicated that he had not completed any field work. Attorney Walker then asks the witnesses if they are aware that the Applicant has agreed to work continuously with the National Heritage Bureau and the New Hampshire Fish and Game department to ensure that project impacts are mitigated.

The Applicant will continue their witness questioning on Tuesday, November 7th.

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Category: IBEW Local 104, New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, Northern Pass, Site Evaluation Committee

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