Northern Pass committee sets 12 days of public deliberations
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU New Hampshire Union Leader
CONCORD — The committee considering the Northern Pass transmission project has scheduled 12 days of public deliberations next year through Feb. 23.
The Site Evaluation Committee has heard about 60 days of testimony so far this year, with eight more days scheduled in December, through Dec. 22.
Public deliberations are slated for Jan. 30 and 31; and Feb. 1, 6, 8, 9, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22 and 23, according to an announcement made Tuesday.
The proposed $1.6 billion project, which runs through more than 30 communities, needs a handful of state and federal approvals before it can start operating by late 2020. The route runs from Pittsburg to Deerfield and includes 60 miles of buried lines.
The SEC hearings are scheduled to wrap up Dec. 22. Various parties will be given time to submit final briefs.
Project opponent Jack Savage from the Society for the Protection of NH Forests said it will be interesting to see how the committee members work through the volume of testimony.
“They may organize their deliberations around the findings they must make,” such as whether the project would have an unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics and historic sites, Savage said. “Conceivably, the deliberations could be cut short if the sub-committee determines that Northern Pass does not meet one of the standards, thus making the rest of the standards moot.”
Project spokesman Martin Murray said the general timetable remains consistent with what was issued in September.
“With the state, federal and Canadian permitting processes nearing completion, we are on track to begin construction by mid-2018 and in-service by the end of 2020,” Murray said.