FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 25, 2015
A coalition of conservation organizations applauded the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to analyze a new “preferred alternative” route put forth by Northern Pass for its proposed 192-mile electric transmission line and issue a supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that considers the new route.
That supplemental DEIS is set to be released later this year so the public can review and comment on the current Northern Pass proposal, as opposed to its previous preferred route. The company’s recently identified “preferred alternative” was not analyzed in the original DEIS.
The Appalachian Mountain Club, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Responsible Energy Action (REAL), L.L.C., and New Hampshire Chapter of The Nature Conservancy had called on DOE to take this action in light of the new route proposal put forward by Northern Pass after the original DEIS was issued.
Subsequently, the agency cancelled public hearings that had been scheduled for October and extended the public comment period on the Northern Pass DEIS to Dec. 31. DOE plans to reschedule public hearings to some time before the end of the year.
The conservation groups also expressed gratitude to New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation which unanimously supported the call for a supplemental DEIS in a jointly signed Sept. 17 letter to DOE Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman.
On Sept. 14, the five organizations, representing more than 200,000 members in New Hampshire and the northeastern states, requested that a supplement to the Northern Pass DEIS be issued to study the new “preferred alternative” route announced Aug. 18 by Eversource and Northern Pass.
In their request to DOE Senior Planning Advisor Brian Mills, the groups noted that the revised application submitted by Northern Pass “contains changes in tower heights, configurations, and locations that were not analyzed in the DEIS.”
Further they argued, “It is impossible to accurately compare and contrast the new ‘Preferred Alternative’ with those studied in the DEIS because comparable analyses of the new proposal have not been done.”
“We are grateful to DOE for its thoughtful decision to analyze the newly revised ‘preferred alternative’ route proposed by Northern Pass and issue a supplemental DEIS. It would be unfair to expect the public to comment on a DEIS that looks only at an outdated ‘preferred alternative,'” said Susan Arnold, Vice President for Conservation for the Appalachian Mountain Club. “Our organizations also are especially grateful for the bipartisan backing of Senators Shaheen and Ayotte and Representatives Kuster and Guinta, who appealed to DOE in support of a supplemental DEIS.”
Official notice of the decision to proceed with a supplemental DEIS is online at www.northernpasseis.us/news/.