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August 05. 2013 8:31PM

Northern Pass project hosts first open house in Millsfield

Northern Pass project officials stressed a more personal approach with people attending Monday night's open house at Log Haven Restaurant and Lounge in Millsfield.

The open house was the first in a series that will be held for residents along the proposed route. Northern Pass is proposing the 1,200-megawatt transmission line go through Millsfield and neighboring Dixville, both unincorporated places in Coos County.

More than a dozen project representatives and contractors manned five tables and answered questions concerning the route design, construction process, project permitting and environmental concerns and benefits of the project. A computer display with Google Earth was set up to allow people to see if towers would go through their property, as well as the size of the towers.

"We think this will allow for more one-on-one interaction and allow residents to have real conversations with experts," spokesman Michael Skelton said at the meeting. "We want to build that relationship."

After public outcry over the original route, Northern Pass unveiled a new route at the end of June. Rather than entering north from Pittsburg and going south not far from the Connecticut River, the new route enters from Pittsburg and goes toward the east, then south to an existing right-of-way in Groveton. Portions of the line would go underground.

Guests were asked to sign in with names and hometowns. Some were asked to wait outside until residents and property owners from Dixville and Millsfield had their questions answered.

Mark McCullock and Chelsea Petereit of Stratford, whose property was in the path of the transmission line on the earlier proposed route, were among those asked to wait outside.

"We just wanted to come and hear what people in this area were being told," Petereit said. "They said we could come in later."

Skelton said the couple was welcome to come in after the Millsfield and Dixville residents were served.

"The primary goal for this event is the residents who live in the communities holding the events," he said.

Emile Croteau and Bob Rodrigue are from Berlin, but have camps in Millsfield and Dummer.

"I thought it was well-done and very informative," Rodrigue said.

Croteau said he had all of his questions answered.

Bill Schomburg of Columbia had a different opinion.

"It was highly structured and heavy on the propaganda," he said. He said he could not get a definitive answer on some questions, including the origin of the materials used to build the line.

Open houses in Stark, Stewartstown, Pittsburg and Groveton are also scheduled for this month.


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