Allies

Planned power lines would disfigure the landscape of the White Mountain National Forest in northern New Hampshire.

 

Alliance Romaine stands in solidarity with citizen groups that are fighting to stop Hydro Quebec from building a high-voltage transmission line across northern and southern New Hampshire.
 
Announced publicly in 2011, the Northern Pass project would involve clearing a 300 kilometer-long, 150 meter-wide swathe of territory stretching from the Quebec border to the town of Deerfield, south of the state capital. The proposed corridor would cut straight through the White Mountain National Forest. According to project opponents, the phalanx of repeating, 40 meter towers would disfigure the state’s rural landscape, fragment habitat including critical wetlands, and degrade the quality of life in an area which draws thousands of tourists annually and is renowned internationally for its rolling hills, fall colours and wooded vistas.
 
Because New Hampshire produces more electricity than it needs, the power provided by Hydro Quebec would not service New Hampshire at all, but would be directed south to supply consumers in Masachusetts, Connecticut and New York. The lines would be built at a cost of $1.2 billion, funded by Quebec taxpayers, and would be administered by Hydro Quebec through two subsidiary companies.
 
In its public statements Hydro Quebec has suggested that the energy it intends to export via  Northern Pass could be supplied by the dams it is now building on the Romaine River.  Not coincidentally, the projected completion  date for Northern Pass (2016-7) falls at around the same time as the completion of the first dams on the Romaine. With a carrying capacity of 1200 megawatts (MW), the Northern Pass line could transmit close to 80% of  the total electricity Hydro Quebec expects to generate through the Romaine project (1550 MW).
 
The project is currently at the approval stage, and is under examination by the US Department of Energy (DOE). If approved by DOE and by a separate New Hampshire state body, construction of the transmission corridor could start as early as 2014.
 
Significantly, several New England states have adopted targets stipulating that a set percentage of their electricity must come from clean energy sources. Because they emit methane (a greenhouse gas) and flood habitat, large hydro-electricty projects such as Hydro Quebec intends to build on the Romaine do not  qualify as clean energy according to most New England state standards. 
 
Alliance Romaine salutes the courage and persistence of New Hampshire activists who have generated some much-needed debate by mobilizing and exposing the issues surrounding the Northern Pass project to a broad audience. We are heartened by a recent legislative victory won by opponents of the project which will make it more difficult for the proponents of Northern Pass to enlist government support to expropriate private land for the purpose of building transmission lines.
 
We believe that by co-operating and sharing experiences communities that are affected by the same megaproject can become stronger in their resistence, and that we will gain by demonstrating to the public at large that the repercussions of large-scale dams are felt not just locally, but across great distances, and even beyond our borders.
 
For more information, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page published by Responsible Energy Action LLC, one of the New Hampshire-based opposition groups to Northern Pass.
 
You can also  visit the blogspots of Bury the Northern Pass , and No to Northern Pass, two other citizen alliances.
 
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