To the editor:
Northern Pass is a bad deal for the North Country. Here’s why:
1. Northern Pass will provide no power to us. It can’t. The first 140 miles of transmission lines will run DC current. We cannot tap into DC for local transmission. Moreover, even if we could, our area’s grid is already over capacity for what its infrastructure can handle and needs to be overhauled and updated. In any event, the deal between Eversource and Hydro-Quebec is to supply power to Massachusetts and Connecticut, not us.
2. Northern Pass will provide few permanent jobs. Over a thousand jobs will be created for construction, but almost all of them are temporary and will cease to exist once construction is complete, similar to what happened at Berlin’s Bio-Mass plant which now employs a mere 28.
3. Northern Pass will not reduce our electric rates. For our rates to decline in this deregulated environment, supply must begin to outstrip demand with competitors coming into the market to undercut the price of existing suppliers like Eversource. If the regional infrastructure is upgraded to allow for more supply, it would be possible for more independent renewables suppliers to enter, especially at peak demand, and offer competitive pricing. But not only is Eversource doing nothing to foster that investment, it is fighting every effort to expand opportunity for renewables providers by using its influence with Gov. Chris Sununu and the Republican legislature to place obstacles in their path so it can maintain its practical monopoly and continue to soak its ratepayers. Meanwhile, Eversource’s stockholders are reaping record gains (profits more than doubled since 2010), and projected additional profits from the Northern Pass project are astronomical.
4. Northern Pass will damage property values. The initial appraisals of the parcels directly affected by the project indicated that a loss in those properties’ valuations would result. Any local tax benefits expected from the project pale in comparison to the overall loss. In addition, no study in existence indicates that stringing miles of 80-foot mega-towers with fat wires and red flashers does anything but diminish the value of surrounding land, let alone land with uniquely pristine vistas like the White Mountains. Moreover, promised contributions to regional projects and organizations amount to nothing more than bribes offered to co-opt the support of area business leaders and public officials. They collectively amount to far less than even the cost of the environmental damage projected to result from the project, according to every environmental group with a public interest in the region, all of which oppose Northern Pass.
At least one family I know left southern New England for Coos County, to invest in the future of tourism in the North Country by purchasing a farm to convert into an inn with spectacular views of the very mountains that Northern Pass now intends to desecrate. That farm is the former Bisson Dairy Farm atop Cates Hill in Berlin and that family is us. If Northern Pass happens, you won’t see more of that happening in Coos within a 50-mile radius of those towers.
Come on up to Berlin Trails Farm for a cookout on Oct. 7, from 1 to 3 p.m., and we will show you the panoramic view that would be ruined by Northern Pass. We will also introduce you to the only gubernatorial candidate who has opposed it from the very beginning, Steve Marchand. Hope to see you there.