Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

Yes Time!

October 25, 2017

We’ve had a spectacular fall despite worrying over whether September’s draught would drop the leaves before they put out their brilliant display. Thousands have flocked to New Hampshire from New England and the rest of the world for this breathtaking experience.

Time to not only savor but protect our forest.

Yes, we can choose to save the forest. Thanks to John Weeks and the Weeks Act, the 100,000 acres that lumber baron, James E. Henry began to clear cut in 1892 are now part of the White Mountain National Forest. It has taken 125 years for the forest to reclaim itself after the WMNF gradually bought up and secured the land.

NH is a place that draws tree huggers, hikers, bikers, fishers, canoeists, kayakers, artists, writers, botanists, geologists, philosophers, educators and others in need of rest and renewal.

Our attractions are staffed by people from all walks of life who love the land and want to raise their families amidst all this beauty, people who want their families and those who follow to be able to enjoy the White Mountains forever.

James Henry’s destruction of the forest is credited with waking people up to the need to protect the forest by passing the Weeks Act so that such destruction never happens again.

Henry’s counterpart is today’s Northern Pass Project, which again threatens our forest. The initial plan is to put in a line that cuts a wide slash not only through the White Mountain National forest but right down the roads tourists enjoy, destroying vegetation and replacing it with towers or gutting neighborhood trees and landscaping to underground wires.

The Northern Pass is simply the first of the “many projects” Eversource-Hydro Quebec plans to gradually crisscross the state, gutting New Hampshire’s natural beauty.

It only took Henry about 25 years to make his millions. We are now eight years into the NP attempt at a project so devastating, they are have already spent millions to secure their long range plan to destroy NH as ruthlessly as they have destroyed Quebec.

Let us not wait until New Hampshire’s beauty is replaced by huge dams and towers. It won’t be a matter of waiting 125 years to reforest. Trees won’t be growing amidst all those towers, concrete, and power stations. Time to say YES! To saving our precious trees, streams, lakes, and wildlife NOW!

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Decentralizing Our Energy Supply Promotes Health

September 19, 2017

Each day we are confronted with news of tragic events in the world. People lose their water, energy and food supplies that threaten survival. Too many are people are overdosing on drugs.  On the brighter side are stories like Paul Allard’s piece in the Concord Monitor 8/21/17, ‘My Turn, the Northern Pass and the Land That Gave Me Sobriety’.  Allard credits his recovery from drug addiction to the White Mountains where he hiked his way out of hopelessness, and turned his life around.

Tourists continue to exclaim how wonderful it is to breathe our moist fresh air, provided so generously by our abundance of trees and forests. NH protects one of the last vital forests remaining in the US where people can come for respite. Yet the NP project wants to plow up 500 miles of trees to access their lines. NP wants to destroy even more trees to put lines down through neighborhoods along state roads. HydroQuebec has been ruthless in their destruction of Quebec’s tourism, indigenous culture and livelihood. I cannot understand why, in light of that destruction, any NH Site Evaluation Committee would even consider the NP proposal, why NP hasn’t been given the choice to either underground down I93, whose median exists for just such a project, or forget this project.

Today, centralized power lines are considered archaic. If attacked by war, terrorists, or natural disaster, too much is instantly lost for too many people and survival becomes an overwhelming problem.

Clearly, the refusal of Eversource/HQ to even consider undergrounding their line down the corridor already in place has to do with their plan to totally centralize power in NH.  Northern Pass plans to put the backbone of their centralized power company right down through the existing Eversource line. At the Public Hearing in the Plymouth State University Ice Arena, Eversource NH CE, William Quinlan stated, “The Northern Pass is the first of many planned projects for New Hampshire”. Indeed, property has already been purchased in the North Country. Future plans simply extend ribs east and west down the NP backbone until they smother NH in a cobweb of lines, foist an archaic system on NH, and put every other energy company out of business, leaving NH at the mercy of HQ’s central control of energy in northeast US.

Decentralized energy generates local control through a variety of energy options, including those as yet to be developed, along with the headway currently made by solar. Local control puts communities in position to support surrounding areas that need power, should disaster strike.

This NP project has already pitted families against each other, destroyed property values, and threatened NH citizens with more destruction. HydroQuebec does not plan to spend a penny for construction of the project. I do not understand why the NH Site Evaluation Committee would want to allow any company to bully the length and breadth of our state with such destruction so HQ/Eversource could make a pile of money providing MA and CT with power.

Where would we be today if instead of funding seven years of protest hearings, those funds had been spent supporting research into new forms of clean energy, energy that is not obtained at the cost of a culture, livelihood, property, and health of the people it is intended to serve?

Your support is needed to stand up for this land, not just for ourselves, but for all the people who count on being able to come here to relax, energize, and breathe.

Let Gov. Chris Sununu know your concerns at State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301.

Also the SEC, c/o Pamela Monroe, Administrator, 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 10, Concord, NH 03301 or email: Pamela Monroe@sec.nh.gov.

 

Northern Pass Plot Thickens

May 26, 2017

The Northern Pass current proposal threatens the health and safety of Grafton County residents. Claims that the proposal would be cheaper than burying the line down I93 are simply not true. Here are potential dangers to residents that the NP is trying to hide.

Many old homes on our state roads where NP plans to bury the line have stone foundations. These homes were built close to the road before cars came in. Drilling required for burying the line risks and probably guarantees shaking the stones loose and crumbling the foundations of those houses. People not only risk catastrophic damage to their homes but their very lives if they do not vacate the premises.

Many residents have water rights across the road from their homes as roads often intersected people’s property. Those rights will be threatened with contamination by the power line.

School bus routes will be held up and children’s safety threatened getting on and off their bus. Children will be spending more time on the bus driving up transportation costs.

Landscaping for homes along the route risks being destroyed. Homes close to the road would lose their apple trees, rhododendron and other established shrubs. Limits would be placed on residents’ use of their own land with a buried line they must avoid.

Costs for accident injuries, fatalities, home restoration, artesian wells, school transportation costs, clogged commuter and tourist routes, and unnecessary disruption of neighborhoods will cost the NP project more in legal fees they carefully avoid adding in to their estimates. NP does not care if their current plan costs more because their private corporation stands to make more money once their long range plan is in place to sting New Hampshire residents with an archaic, expensive energy network.

The Department of Energy Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) advises that fully buried transmission lines could use the already disturbed median corridors in place, for example in I93. Those wide medians were designed for just such projects in the interests of the general public. The NP project has consistently refused to consider using I93.

If Eversource-Hydro Quebec cared about the people of New Hampshire, they would not be trying to impose such a destructive route on our citizens. Instead, they will continue to withhold actual costs of their project to the people of New Hampshire.

That is, UNLESS we New Hampshire citizens actively say, “NO to Northern Pass!”  Send your letter to the Site Evaluation Committee, c/o Pamela Monroe, Administrator, 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 10, Concord, NH 03301 or email: Pamela.Monroe@sec.nh.gov.

Beware NP, Hydro Quebec’s Way of Going

March 23, 2017

To understand reservations New Hampshire people have for Hydro Quebec/Eversource’s Northern Pass on our health, we need to know the story of Hydro Quebec’s takeover of Hydro power in Labrador at Churchill Falls. See “The Churchill Falls Contract and why Newfoundlanders can’t get over it” by James P. Feehan, Melvin Baker, 9/1/2010.

Here’s the history: Quebec was uncomfortable when Labrador’s water rights were established in 1927, and would not allow Labrador hydropower to be transmitted across Quebec territory to markets in Ontario or the US.

In 1958, the British Newfoundland Corp. (BRINCO) received extensive land and water rights to Newfoundland and Labrador and created the Hamilton Falls Power Co (HFPCo), later renamed Churchill Falls Labrador Corp. (CFLCo) as a federally incorporated subsidiary. The Shawinigan Engineering Co. bought a 20 percent interest.

In 1962, the Quebec government decided to nationalize all privately-owned electricity generating companies in the province. As a result, Shawingan Engineering’s 20 percent stake became the property of Hydro Quebec.  Later, HQ drew up a pivotal contract with CFLCo to snag Churchill Falls.

How? Here is the HQ 65 year Contract, agreed to through a corrupt political finesse in 1976 as follows:  From 1976-2016: CFLCo would sell to Hydro Quebec approximately 31 billion MWh/year for a period of 40 years. The price would be 3 mills (3 tenths of a cent) per KWh for the first 5 years, then decline to 2.5 mills for the last 15 years. At the end of 40 years, the contract would “automatically” be renewed for 25 years at 2 mills/KWh.

In 1974, the Quebec government purchased BRINCo’s  65.8  percent of shares. All attempts to renegotiate the contract’s terms failed as energy prices escalated in the 70s and CFLCo had increasing difficulty funding the CF generating station. Hydro Quebec turned a titanic profit on the deal.

2016-2041 – When the contract was renewed at 2 mills (2 tenths of a cent) per KWh for 25 more years, Hydro Quebec could resell its energy for 85 mills (8.5 cents) per KWh.

It does not take rocket science to recognize how HydroQuebec makes its money. Or how ruthless is its way of going within the province it shares with Newfoundland. Or how senseless NH would be to allow HQ to cross New Hampshire territory to markets in MA and NY.

The new HQ moneymaker would be to strap New Hampshire with the albatross of the Northern Pass and stifle further development of clean energy such as solar and yet to be developed other forms of bona fide renewable energy. New forms of energy could potentially save our forests, our culture, our watersheds, our wildlife, our tourist industry, our real estate, our lives.

Please read and consider the following link and mark your calendar: https://manchesterinklink.com/northern-pass-foes-plan-circle-state-house-april-23

‘Each Other’ Includes Donald Trump

November 14, 2016

When we look at the healthiest, happiest countries of the world, such as Scandinavia and Costa Rica, an essential quality their citizens share is a need to see that everyone in their country gets a fair shake, enough to eat, decent living and work opportunities. The         high priority is on Keeping Each Other Well.

Post election, no matter how we voted, we are all responsible to address the problems that stand in the way of present and future health in the U.S.

In the early morning of November 9, I was shocked when this thought went through my mind: I wondered what would happen if we collectively made a goal to enable Donald Trump to be the best president of all time. President-elect Trump said he wanted to be president for All Americans. We all have absolutely nothing to lose by projecting kindness to the extent that President-elect Trump himself begins to emit kindness to all citizens.

Too many people in the United States feel hungry, sick, and hopeless. Too many people are unjustly detained in our prisons, depriving family networks of support systems, depriving us all of a clear conscience. No president can clean up this mess on his own. We lead the world in the percent of our population we imprison.

What would happen if we made it our goal to become the happiest country in the world, when happiness includes and is measured by all our citizens? Will we have the courage to insure that we have open spaces and forests accessible for everyone to tune in to the natural world? Will we save our farmland, our food supply, from final chemical destruction? Will we protect our aquifers and rivers? Will we invest in clean energy that respects First Nations and the natural environment? Will we stimulate ingenious answers to our problems by providing everyone with an exemplary education?

Big job. And it is all possible. People have already begun to organize. Instead of protesting, can we begin to promote, protect, provide, praise, plant, prove, and play?

Will Thanksgiving become a true celebration for all our citizens? Will we be able to give thanks for living in a country that values everyone’s health?

Will we be able to allow ourselves the freedom to make such a Thanksgiving celebration possible?

Life Sustaining Health

August 17, 2016

We are definitely in the midst of what Joanna Macy calls The Great Turning. We are smack between the Industrial Revolution and a Life Sustaining Civilization, according to her 2012 book, coauthored with Chris Johnstone, “Active Hope: How to face the mess we’re in without going crazy.”

Four years later, we seem to be right on schedule with the three dimensions of The Great Turning.  Predicted first are Holding Actions: blockades, boycotts and civil disobedience to buy time and save some lives, some ecosystems, some species and cultures. The opposition to the Northern Pass and the Tar Sands Pipeline are but two examples of buying time to protect our health.

This week Kris Pastoriza of Easton became the first Northern Pass civil disobedience arrest stemming from NP bore-hole drilling near waterways in Easton. Pastoriza sat on a bore-hole site near the Ham Branch River, preventing the drilling rig from being unloaded there. After her arrest, NP bored in a location that the Easton Select Board had requested not be bored. The contaminated mess NP left behind is still being investigated.

Macy’s second step, Structural Change, brings in new economies and new ways of being together. Local Food Movements, the spread of Permaculture farming practices, Food Labeling activists, Transition towns like Florida’s Babcock Ranch (new), and Rutland, Vermont (now on solar), demonstrate these changes.

Finally, we experience a Shift in Consciousness. New forms of thought are happening. There is a profound shift in our perception of reality, what we must do if we want our offspring to get along with the rest of the world, thrive and survive. All of which leads to a spiritual awakening to the importance of all life forms and a new means of communication.

Other life forms are attuned to each other and jockey around us to survive. Tiny bacteria might be more powerful than all our human intuition and learning. We need to become fluent in other species languages to be able to work together so that life on Earth may continue for us all.

Challenges continue. In our area, the Northern Pass has dragged on for six years, despite massive opposition. This week, we learned that Massachusetts enacted a new utilities law that essentially sells that state’s rights to centralized corporate energy. Utilities there can now legally collect up to 2.75 percent from ratepayers to offset  the costs of long-term contracts for hydro-power or offshore wind. This is a step back to 20th century technology, definitely not a form of future cheap energy. This smacks of a similar ripoff deal HydroQuebec managed almost 40 years ago with Newfoundland over Churchill Falls energy. That whole sad story is available on the internet.

As water scarcity accelerates, we also need to keep alert to protect our water supply, to save our trees that store water for us, and release it to the atmosphere for our benefit as well. Visitors from the West and South and abroad marvel at the luxury of breathing deep in our forests, and how good it is to be able to smell the vegetation!

It is up to each of us to do our part in this shift to a Life Sustaining Civilization. We can join community efforts that support our Forest Society, Permaculture gardeners, Farmers Markets, and new forms of energy. We can write to Governor Hassan and our legislators. All that we each do counts.

Northern Pass Threatens NH Health

August 1, 2016

Northern Pass Project spokesman, Martin Murry, says NP cannot afford more burial and explains how “dependent its now uneconomic project has become.” Don’t believe it!

All those properties NP has purchased in the NH forest will be worked into their “plans for many more projects” the Eversource spokesman expects to promote. His vision seems to include a massive cobweb of towers and lines all over New Hampshire. NP is just one line through the tip of the iceberg.

Murray claims that NP reduces 3 to 4 million tons of carbon tons per year. NP seems to be ignoring the loss of carbon sequestering trees that NP will eliminate with their 500 miles of access roads and widened existing paths to support the NP high frequency power line. How many carbon sequestering root systems and mycelium will be decimated for their 35 foot pilings along with drilling through our granite? (And the polluting machinery needed to drill, transport, and bury tons of concrete, etc.) Where are the figures for the pollutants emitted to put in the line?

Today, we know that an expansive connective system exists below ground that far exceeds what we see above ground in our forest. For more graphic views of these systems, see How Trees Talk To Each Other with Susan Simard, Forestry Professor at UBC, on Youtube.

What can our forests teach us about how to get along with different people in the rest of the world we share? Look at how tremendous varieties of trees and plants all share space? Now, we know that trees and plants actually communicate with each other and help each other through this vast network below ground.

Currently, Maine (85.8%) and NH (78.4%) lead our nation’s states in percentage of timberland. If you would like a preview of what NH will look like if the NP and Eversource’s “many other projects” bulldoze through NH, just drive Interstate 80 West and see what the land looks like when power lines replace trees. You will see ‘big sky’ because there are few trees to block your view. And you will see why water is scarce, land is drying up, and drinking water continually threatens people’s health in our midwest.

One thing Martin Murray has right is that now is the biggest opportunity of a lifetime here in NH. However, the opportunity is not Murray’s plan to attack our forests; the opportunity is to save our forests and save our health.

Let us choose to honor and save our forests and our health.

 

Decentralized Energy for Health

July 28, 2016

This week’s news that Switzerland’s Bertrand Piccard flew a solar powered plane around the world without a drop of fuel sends our hopes soaring. We could not receive a stronger signal that help is on the way for alternatives that meet our energy needs.

Solar is but one of the new technologies in need of our attention and support if we want to make the shift to 21st Century technology. As far back as 2013, The World Energy Council recommended that utilities markets move toward decentralization. This would give customers more control over their power usage in their homes or businesses.

In January this year, HydroQuebec (HQ) announced that the Northern Pass Project (NPP) would cost $2.8 billion but HQ would only pay $607 million. New England would pay the rest. That does not sound like energy savings for NH or control over power usage. And there is no guarantee that a power failure further north would not generate a massive outage to the south. NPP is a grand example of stifling 20th century technology.

Long-term contracts for large scale hydropower from Quebec will not bring cheap or lower consumer electric rates, as HQ has already demonstrated with their Newfoundland Churchill Falls 40 year contract.

What might NH develop if so many citizens did not have to throw so much time and energy into stopping the NPP from destroying NH land and diversity, pitting families against each other, and threatening our future water supply by degrading our water-sequestering forests? People come from the world over to savor our lush forests, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife. All are threatened by this and the many other NH projects Eversource plans to pursue.

Solar and other yet-to-be-developed energy sources clearly demonstrate the power of decentralized energy to avoid large up-front capital investments and encourage pay-as- you-grow systems.

Time to embrace 21st Century technology, reclaim our right to safeguard our forests, diversify our energy technologies, say NO to centralized utilities, and enjoy the health and well being that comes with care-full actions.

 

Everyday Healthy Listening

May 27, 2016

“Listening Is an Act of Love” proclaims the title of David Isay’s book about his founding of StoryCorps, popular radio and Youtube broadcasts. His book contains 49 of the 45,000 interviews taken since 2003 when StoryCorps was launched in an NYC Grand Central Station booth.

The theory is, “if we listen, we’ll find wisdom, wonder and poetry in the lives and stories of the people all around us.” The question is, are we listening? How much does our health depend on our ability to listen to the people around us?

The beauty of  Isay’s book lies in the diversity of people interviewed: people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Isay’s book is a nugget that can help us figure out how to get along with the rest of our world family with a respect that keeps us all healthy.

Especially at this point in history when many of us actively look for answers for ourselves, our families and the future of our state and planet, we need wisdom that gives us healthy perspectives on possibilities for the future.

Studs Terkel called StoryCorps “celebrating the lives of the uncelebrated!” Each story represents an act of love and respect. People talk about happiest moments, favorite moments, their regrets, something they have never told but want to tell now, the kindest person in their life, their hurdles, and more.

The stories are not all pretty; many are poignant, some are hilarious, yet they all demonstrate the strength of human ingenuity, resilience, and respect for others as they are shared.

Given our world conflicts, climate change, political campaigning, food, water, and energy concerns, we would all do well to strengthen our listening skills.  The wide array of protests in the US alone attests to human needs to be heard, understood, and respected.

One clear sign of positive listening in NH was the NHSEC ( Site Evaluation Committee) May 19 decision to extend the Northern Pass final decision date for 21 months (September, 2017) so that the SEC has ample time to consider the exhaustive data to date (which includes many of our stories).

Our NH stories are as unique and important as the corporate stories bombarding us. Our health depends on our ability to continually come together as we share those stories.

Must We Practice Civil Disobedience for Health?

May 5, 2016

For six years, the Northern Pass Project has badgered the North Country, causing rifts among families who sold family property to the NP. The latest wrinkle in Colebrook should alert people that NP will stop at nothing to scam NH. Eversource/Hydro Quebec appears confident that they have the SEC in their back pocket. HQ has demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to make a profit by ravaging Quebec.

Many of us were initially thrilled to hear that The Balsams was to be reclaimed. We were unprepared to see The Balsams as bait to accept the NP profit for destruction of our forest, waving the jobs flag for emphasis. Now, we are told that The Balsams depends on the NP Project. If that is the case, The Balsams project appears to be on shaky ground. Maybe The Balsams will go belly up with or without the pass if it needs a 2 billion dollar boost even to get started. With the ill feeling created by Les Otten’s bullying tack, many people may not choose to patronize The NP Balsams if it is ever completed.

For six years, large crowds have gathered at public hearings to oppose the NP Project. The NP project threatens our forests, wildlife, our health, safety, family and community well being, the independence NH is known for.

The wave of the future is not to cover the earth with a cobweb of power lines. A new town is being created in Florida, see babcockranchflorida.com. The town will run on solar in partnership with Florida Power and Light. Forms of renewable energy need to be explored in NH, not jeopardized by a foreign power company.

If the Northern Pass Project had spent their money burying the lines instead of bribing property owners and officials, the project would likely have been a done deal by now. NP’s resistance to burial and admission that they have plans for many more projects in NH should alert us to the further threat of many more power lines intersecting the state and tied into ISO New England’s master plan for NH. Eversource has many more projects in mind beyond the 192 miles currently planned for the Northern Pass.

Grant Township, Indiana County, PA has a similar problem with PA General Electric (PGE). PGE has filed for permission to frack wastewater injection wells. On May 3, 2016, Grant Township passed “a first-in-the-nation law that legalizes direct action that prohibits any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or any other criminal action against those participating in non-violent direct action.” (celdf.org/2016/05/press release)

Our health depends on our ability to care for our forests and wildlife diversity, the safety of our wells, our homes, schools, and communities. We and other states need to explore sources of clean, renewable energy. NP is NOT clean energy! Hopefully we will not have to resort to civil disobedience to simply stay healthy.