Supreme Court Hears NoPass Appeal May 15

Just over a year ago, the state Site Evaluation Committee declined to certify the Northern Pass transmission project, halting the 192-mile high-voltage transmission line proposed to be built through 32 New Hampshire towns. Eversource appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, and oral arguments will be heard May 15.

ACT joined with the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Conservation Law Foundation in defending the decision of the Site Evaluation Committee. You can read the full brief here.

The SEC process for deciding on large energy projects has been likened to a four-legged stool. State law spells out four criteria for certifying large energy projects and if the developer fails to meet any of them the stool cannot stand. The SEC determined that Eversource adequately demonstrated that it has the financial capacity to do the project (the first criterion) but that it Eversource failed to prove that the project would not interfere with the “orderly development of the region” (the second criterion).   

Therefore, the committee reasoned, it made no sense to consider the remaining criteria. Eversource appealed, claiming that the SEC “cut short” deliberations because members had “tired of their task” and “focused on expediency” rather than complete the process.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal.

The brief submitted by ACT and its allies states: “The members realized that, based on the record before them, none of the SEC members believed that the Appellant [Eversource] had met its burden of proof to show that the Project would not unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region and all of the agreed that as a result, it would be impossible for the Project to be certificated. . . .It would have been fruitless and a waste of limited SEC resources for the SEC to continue considering the remaining criteria.”

Towns including Bethlehem, Easton Franconia, Littleton, and Sugar Hill joined other municipalities in their own opposing brief. You can read it here.

Here is a link to a news story about the appeal

We do not want to become New Jersey with mountains.
— Rebecca Brown, ACT Executive Director
We’ve inherited a national treasure. It’s time for our leaders to act. Let us preserve these unique landscapes for future generations.
— Doug Evelyn, ACT Trustee

ACT has opposed the Northern Pass transmission line project since the very beginning, with our original and continuing position being that the project should not be built, period. On March 10, Rebecca Brown and Doug Evelyn testified to the NH Site Evaluation Committee, which will decide  whether the project gets a state permit for construction.