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Press Release (2013): Appalachian Mountain Club “Flyover” Video Helps Public Understand Visual Impact of Latest Northern Pass Proposal

October 23, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2013

COOS COUNTY, N.H. — A new video released by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) gives viewers a “bird’s eye view” of the proposed route of the Northern Pass electric transmission line and a way to see which towns, public lands, and views will be impacted by the project’s power lines and steel towers.

Using data supplied by Northern Pass in its latest permit application, AMC researchers plotted the location and height of each of the over 1,500 new and 700 relocated transmission towers along the proposed 186-mile corridor, and identified land areas where the towers will be most visible up to a half mile from the corridor. The AMC team then overlaid the results into Google Earth. The resulting flyover video is narrated and highlights the towns, trails, water bodies, and viewsheds impacted by the transmission project.

Visual impacts could severely affect the North Country’s most valuable asset—its scenery—which is an irreplaceable draw for tourism in the region. Tourism spending is a critical economic driver in the region. The project would visually impact public resources of state and national significance such as Bear Brook State Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the White Mountain National Forest.

The public has until November 5 to comment on the project at: http://www.northernpasseis.us/comment.

“Northern Pass implies its project will be good for future generations. As shown in this video, what Northern Pass will be leaving for future generations are mountains and valleys dominated by massive steel towers and miles and miles of power lines that will change New Hampshire’s iconic scenery into an industrial landscape,” said AMC Director of Research, Kenneth D. Kimball, Ph.D.

AMC’s visual impact research shows Northern Pass’s towers in the fore- to mid-ground distances of 4 miles will likely be visible from over 100,000 acres in New Hampshire, including almost 2,000 acres in the White Mountain National Forest. Unlike existing low wooden transmission towers, the new towers will greatly exceed the height of the forest. A new 32-mile swath will also be cut through forests from Dummer to the Canadian border.

“As proposed, this private, for-profit energy project would cause enormous damage to New Hampshire’s public resources, communities, and second-largest industry, the tourism economy,” said AMC Vice President for Conservation, Susan Arnold.

The full visual impacts of the project would also affect such public resources as the Pondicherry Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and Franconia and Pawtuckaway State Parks, as well as four rivers and four scenic and cultural byways specially designated by the state of New Hampshire. Many towns would also be visually impacted, according to AMC’s study. Visual impacts would affect more than 9,000 acres in Concord and more than 5,000 acres in Jefferson and Whitefield.

Northern Pass is seeking permit approval to construct an above-ground, 186-mile 350 kV high-voltage DC power transmission line through New Hampshire to transmit up to 1,200 megawatts of power generated by Canada’s Hydro-Quebec to a power converter station in Franklin. The DC power is then to be converted to AC and would need an additional 40-mile AC transmission line to connect to a network power distribution grid in Deerfield. Existing AC towers will not be replaced, rather heightened.

The new AMC video, and information on how the public can comment on the proposed Northern Pass project, can be found at www.outdoors.org/northernpass. An overview video of the entire Northern Pass route, and 11 videos covering specific segments of the transmission corridor, are available here.

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club is America’s oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in the Northeast and beyond, the nonprofit AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. The AMC supports natural resource conservation while encouraging responsible recreation, based on the philosophy that successful, long-term conservation depends upon first-hand enjoyment of the natural environment.

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Rob Burbank

Director of Media and Public Affairs
rburbank@outdoors.org
(603) 466-8155