Here is a copy of my second testimony before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee for the Northern Pass at the Plymouth hearing. Speakers were given a three minute limit so I did have to omit some words/sentences that night but I retained them here for full impact. Imagine, we just have three minutes for a serious matter that could have an impact on so many, for a lifetime!
My husband and I fell in love with the small historic town of Franconia when we honeymooned there 23 years ago at the Franconia Inn. We loved with the laid-back culture and peacefulness of the town and the serene, scenic views of the surrounding mountains. We now own a home in Franconia to enjoy nature with our family, today and into our future retirement. We felt safe with our purchase because Franconia wasn’t listed as an affected town on the Northern Pass website. But the route changed shortly thereafter and underground lines are now proposed for the town.
While underground lines are preferable to ugly overhead stress-inducing towers and lines, I feel it would be an unnecessary and major disruption to this small town with historic homes situated close to the road. Many have fragile foundations and wells near the road. The small businesses on Main Street and Route 116 depend on tourists and will have to close during construction, causing severe financial hardship.
Environmentally, an extensive network of wetlands and streams meander along the scenic tree-line winding route 116 where bear, moose, deer, beavers, and other wildlife feed and nest. There are less populated, less environmentally sensitive and straighter routes available which I imagine would be less expensive alternatives for Northern Pass.
I’m also against burying just a portion of Northern Pass because “There cannot be human equality for the people of New Hampshire when there is a lack of environmental equality”*! The entire Northern Pass should be buried. Don’t you think with all the millions Hydro-Quebec has spent buying people, buying property, and donating to (conservation!???) causes and programs like the New Hampshire Forward Plan, plus the recent $2 million investment in the Balsams (w/more to come), plus the millions** spent on advertising and lobbying it could have earmarked those millions to spend on burying Northern Pass in the first place?
Bury it all also because of New Hampshire’s reputation as a scenic state, for its natural wealth and one of a few remaining places to seek refuge from our stressful lives in developed cities/towns! When tourists come to enjoy New Hampshire for its many recreational activities in the great outdoors, like camping, hiking, skiing, kayaking, fishing, etc., they don’t want the sight of ugly power lines zapping their endorphines!
A corporation is not a person. I get that. But PEOPLE run Hydro-Quebec and Eversource and their lifestyles will be enriched from profits for many years to come. They’ll have good jobs, buy things, send their kids to good schools, purchase homes, maybe larger homes, with nice yards, and so on. But people in New Hampshire directly impacted by the Northern Pass will not. Below the notch, many will loose their homes, businesses, yards. Above the notch, the same. Except there’s a unique bond*** people in the north country have with the vast land that isn’t being respected. Their lives are enriched by the land. Those massive ugly towers with humming power lines will scar the landscape forever and rip the heart out of New Hampshire but, more so, Northern Pass will rip the heart and soul out of these people. It will be like taking a child away. . . .They have nurtured, cultivated, and loved their land and some moved here not long ago to do so. They have fished, hunted and farmed, eating off the land. They have used the land to educate their children. They want this land for future generations to do the same.
Okay there’s a need for jobs (above or underground we know Northern Pass jobs would be limited), but growth in tourism (the views are worth it!), desperately sought-after local businesses unique to New Hampshire (quaint shops, theme restaurants, maple syrup, general stores, breweries), and growing demand for organic agriculture will also create jobs. The economy is not my expertise but I think New Hampshire can figure out something better than building its economy with the destructive and visibly offensive Northern Pass power lines.
I feel sick and my heart aches when I think deeply about the Northern Pass so I can imagine how sick this is making people who will suffer very negative impacts from Northern Pass, psychologically and financially, daily and forever. Hydro-Quebec and Eversource have an environmental and moral responsibility to bury the lines (and not through small historic towns!). If that’s not good enough then with technology advances today and the rapidly changing future of energy, it is incumbent upon Hydro-Quebec and Eversource to bury the lines.
~ * ~
What can you do? Currently you can attend the following Attorney General workshops and tell the experts about resources, scenic areas, uses, places, etc., within 10 miles of the proposed Northern Pass that you know and care about that would be affected. For more information please visit: http://doj.nh.gov/media-center/press-releases/2016/20160719-northern-pass-workshops.htm. But hurry because the last three workshops are August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. If you can’t attend a workshop, you can send an email at the address provided on the workshop website.
I can’t attend any of the workshops but I did send an email to Mr. Roth of the Environmental Protection Bureau with an attachment of photos to demonstrate some of the ways Northern Pass could affect areas in my town of Franconia (tourist areas, historic homes and local small businesses) during the construction (and possible blasting) of the proposed Northern Pass underground lines: https://myhaymac.com/2016/03/17/franconia-and-the-northern-pass/. These photos were initially sent to the Site Evaluation Committee along with my first written public comment but I hope it provides the experts with some useful information.
~ * ~
~ * ~
*quote taken from article in National Geographic magazine called Parks On Your Brain, I think, or a related article.
**https://medium.com/@courchesnec/lessons-from-4-years-of-northern-pass-failures-e255de34cc5c#.lfh1lz5a7 “According to a federal filing, by the end of 2014 the project will have spent an eye-popping $110 million on land, consultants, media, and legal counsel (10% of the project’s original cost estimate).”
***”My Roots are Deeper than Your Pockets” https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/living/new-england-environment/northern-pass-land-owners/
All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. Please email me for permission to use. Thank you.