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Northern Pass gets key OK from feds

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 16. 2017 8:30PM

Northern Pass received a key approval from the federal government this week, setting up a showdown in February when the state Site Evaluation Committee expects to make a verbal decision on the project’s fate.

The U.S. Department of Energy “determined that issuance of a presidential permit for the proposed Northern Pass project is consistent with the public interest,” wrote Catherine Jereza, deputy assistant secretary of the transmission permitting and technical assistance division.

The proposed $1.6 billion project, which runs through more than 30 communities, needs several 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 news was expected after the Department of Energy in August recommended that the project receive the permit.

“Today, New Hampshire is one step closer to lowering energy rates across the Granite State,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement.

Will Abbott, a vice president with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, a project foe, said the presidential permit was expected.

“The project can have 10 presidential permits, but if it doesn’t have a SEC permit, it doesn’t get built in New Hampshire,” Abbott said.

Project officials still are awaiting a ruling on their application for a special use permit to allow burial of the transmission line through the White Mountain National Forest.

“With the New Hampshire and Canadian permitting processes also nearing completion, and considering we have all major contractor, equipment and labor agreements in place, Northern Pass is on track to begin construction by mid-2018,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan.

Northern Pass Transmission LLC is a subsidiary of Eversource.

The presidential permit can be viewed below:

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