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Northern Pass hosts open house in Concord

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 04. 2013 9:47PM

CONCORD — The view that Paul Susca of Concord said he can expect to see from his home if the Northern Pass project is built is a 125-foot transmission tower.

Susca’s home borders an existing Public Service of New Hampshire right-of-way, he said at Wednesday night’s open house hosted by the project’s owners at the Holiday Inn on Main Street.

The 180-mile-long transmission line would run from Pittsburgh to Deerfield.

“When I look out from my deck, I’m going to be looking right at a 125-foot tower,” Susca said.

The open house was the sixth hosted by Northern Pass to tout its project and answer questions about the proposed routes, which have changed several times since the hydroelectric project was first announced in 2010.

“A lot of people are concerned about structure heights,” said project manager Sam Johnson, who along with Derrick Bradstreet was showing people how close the lines would be to their homes using Google Earth. “‘Why aren’t you undergrounding?’ is another question we get across the board.

“Most people want to know how close their house is. That’s probably the number-one thing,” he said.

Susca said he came into the open house with an open mind. He wanted to know if the project was planning to remove any trees that would provide some buffer for the lines, and whether Northern Pass engineers would consider burying the lines.

After speaking with Bradstreet, Susca said he got answers to many of his questions, but left with the same open mind.

“They’re not giving us what we want, which is to bury the lines,” he said. “But what they have done, it seems, is try to find a configuration that won’t make it necessary to remove the trees we have left. So that’s something. It’s not what we want, but it’s something.”

Northern Pass spokesman Mike Skelton said the events are open to all. Almost as soon as he said it, a Northern Pass opponent, Kris Pastoriza of Easton, was escorted out of the hotel by a Concord police sergeant and told she wasn’t allowed to come back after distributing pamphlets titled, “Northern Pass: The Other Side of the Story.”

“They’re paying for a private venue to control the story,” Pastoriza said, adding: “It’s all lies.”

Skelton said she was asked to leave because she was being disruptive.

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