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Softball practice: Northern Pass opponents are stalling

August 20. 2017 11:16PM

The approval process for the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project is many things.

Tedious. Complicated. Expensive.

Rushed, it is not.

Opponents of the plan to bring hydroelectric power from Canada into the New England grid want to spend months lobbing softball questions at each other about why they hate Northern Pass.

The SEC has already pushed back its statutory deadline for considering Northern Pass’s application by nine months, and will not make its Sept. 30 fallback date. The question is how long the committee should give interveners to cross-examine each other.

Interveners are asking the state Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) for enough “friendly cross” time to take up an additional 26 days of hearings, according to paperwork filed by Northern Pass’s legal team.

The SEC is supposed to be a part-time body. Its members have day jobs, and shouldn’t be forced to sit through endless hearings listening to opponents of Northern Pass agree that they oppose Northern Pass.

This dilatory tactic will not convince the SEC. It is designed to delay the approval process as long as possible. Spending months hitting softballs to each other must seem like a good idea.

The fate of Northern Pass should be decided on the merits of the project’s application, not because opponents were allowed to run out the clock.

Politics Energy Editorial

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