Here’s my recent comment for the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee hearing held in Plymouth, New Hampshire. The text I placed in parentheses served as a cue for me to either include or exclude depending on the time allotted (usually just three minutes).
So this isn’t the greatest writing as I’m not a speech writer, or a writer of any kind (this blog takes me out of my comfort zone for sure), and I don’t like public speaking, but because I’m passionate about this issue and strongly believe a highly visible high voltage transmission line is wrong for New Hampshire, I feel a need to contribute. I had testified in two other hearings about my opposition to underground lines in historic Franconia* so at this hearing I spoke about something else.
Here it is . . .
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir (early wilderness preservation advocate)
Northern Pass had conducted a survey on tourism and “found” most people come to New Hampshire to visit family. Well, I have been exploring New Hampshire for 16 years, 4 as a renter and 12 as an owner and when we travel here from Rhode Island we’re often in heavy traffic (if we don’t time it right). And I think most people sitting in that traffic are traveling to visit something else in New Hampshire that’s very special, especially when I later see jam-packed parking lots to trailheads, packed scenic areas (and camping grounds), no vacancy signs, and long waiting lines in restaurants, etc.
Thousands of people travel through the (New Hampshire) woods and over mountains like ants (I always say) seeking the best scenic views. On mountain tops, exhilarated by endless miles of mountains and lush green forests, people speak in amazement and blessings and exclaim how good they feel while in the raw beauty of this land. Now picture miles of steel pylons and black extension cords cutting an enormous swarth through that source of wellness and pristine beauty. There’d be extreme disappointment and a collective grieving.
While doing research I found a discussion among hunters about trail closings and limited access in Dixville Notch due to the “hideous” wind turbines. (I wonder if they’ll return.) (Now Northern Pass wants to place transmission lines not far from there.*) Imagine the future of NH with miles of huge, ugly, noisy power lines, numerous access roads, and acres of staging plots obscuring tourists’ destinations and views. No matter the activity, hiking, hunting, skiing, kayaking, boating, fishing, camping tourists won’t want to see power lines. (And it would seem corrupt to create just a handful of local jobs, relative to the ambitious size of this energy project, on the heels of massive wilderness destruction and negative impacts to the many abutters’ homes and businesses.)
John Muir also said: “Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” After my daughter was diagnosed with a severe chronic kidney disease, we sought the mountains of New Hampshire even more as a healthy break, to breath clean air and boost her immune system. If Northern Pass had existed, the opportunity to restore her body wouldn’t have been possible without New Hampshire’s healing landscape.
In closing . . . Vermont is pretty with its farms and rolling hills. Maine is lovely with its coastline and lakes. But New Hampshire is rugged and primal. People escape to the wilderness of New Hampshire (to recharge) because it lacks the usual stressors and eyesores in their daily lives, immerse themselves in the deep, dense, wooded forests and emerge renewed.
Please have the same foresight as the many conservation groups, which are supported and funded by thousands of people (including myself!) who have been actively preserving New Hampshire’s natural resources and precious heritage for future generations. Don’t allow these steel giants to trample over New Hampshire, a spectacular natural wonder!
To voice your concerns about the Northern Pass and say “No!” please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. A note to New Hampshire Governor Hassan may also be helpful.
These photos were not presented during my testimony. I just think they help here as a visual aid.
*Photos and descriptions of historic Franconia that I submitted to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee following my testimony at an SEC hearing in Plymouth can be seen here: https://myhaymac.com/2016/03/17/franconia-and-the-northern-pass/
If you like this post, you might like this “Where do the Children Play”: https://passingthoughtsnorthernpass.com/2016/03/24/where-do-the-children-play/
And for a supportive article that I just found (one of many out there) . . . https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/06/29/fixating-or-brooding-on-things-take-a-walk-in-the-woods-for-real/