Posts Tagged ‘Northern Pass’

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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Northern Pass Ugly Truth Comes Out!

April 27, 2017

The ugly truth is that the Northern Pass proposal is a scam to benefit Eversource and Hydro Quebec, not to provide NH with clean, renewable energy. HQ energy under the current NP plan would come at great cost to the environment, to neighborhoods, home landscaping, home water lines crossing Route 3, and wetlands. Installation of the line would jeopardize businesses, people commuting from their homes, school buses and tourist travel as Route 3 and other roads were torn up. All so that Eversource would profit from the rent money for the line, not the people of NH.

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.

Richard Widhu of Nashua noted in a Letter to the Editor of the Union Leader on 4/25/17 that the 2015  EIS advised that burying the line along existing medians could also bring 3,766 more construction jobs and 544 more permanent jobs. Why on earth would the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) even consider any other option if they responsibly served the people of NH?

Estimated cost would be 1 ½ times that proposed by the Northern Pass. However, considering all the blasting, well replacements, wood clearing costs, and law suits filed against NP to put up 135’ towers for the proposed above ground line and undergrounding through secondary roads, there will certainly be additional costs that magically appear at the end of the project if the current plan is approved.

We have to keep in mind Eversource’s masterplan as explained by president, Bill Quinlan, “The Northern Pass is just the first of many projects we have planned for NH.” Indeed, the Northern Pass is the North-South backbone of Eversource’s future projects. Other projects will utilize all that land HQ has bought up in the state and the big plan is to have several arms reaching out across the state East and West, a giant cobweb of power lines bisecting the NP line and utterly destroying the beauty, livelihood, health and harmony of our state.

With the Eversource/HQ plan, NH would lead the country in expanding an archaic energy transmission system and would be so submerged in what it cost that we would not have the resources to explore clean, renewable energy that SAVES the Earth and all life therein.

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

Clean Energy versus Predatory Energy

March 31, 2016

The Northern Pass project is looking more and more like a chapter in Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen. Eversource president, Bill Quinlan plays a convincing Very Wicked Hobgoblin, complete with his Magic Glass Mirror that makes everything beautiful look hideous. At the March 14 hearing, Quinlan let it slip that Eversource has many more projects planned for New Hampshire. For anyone wondering what Eversource/Hydro Quebec plans to do with all the property HQ has bought up in the North Country, here’s a peek.

Seen through the glass mirror, our hills, farms, schools, neighborhoods, towns and cities will be covered with a network of high voltage towers. The Northern Pass Project is just the beginning of a much bigger plan to create a humongous carbon footprint in NH, one NP has no intent to fully offset because offsetting would cut into their tremendous profits. Every 35 foot piling they blast and fill with cement will emit a ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement NP pours in. In Quebec, HQ got away with not offsetting responsibly by calling their reservoirs a “land use change” while destroying river systems. Token payments are not a fair exchange for the fishing and tourism industries, indigenous culture, or wildlife now extinct. HQ energy is Predatory Energy.

NH electrical workers welcome the project and seem unaware of the health effects and loss of livelihood, home equity, wildlife, and tourism that Eversource has planned for all of us UNLESS we come together and support options for Clean Energy.

Most of us do not know what it is like to be ordered to move far from our home, land, work; to have our livelihood destroyed; to lose our community. We love our rivers, mountains, lakes and little towns.

Vermont finds Solar energy a clean option. The city of Rutland now runs on solar. Rutland put the solar grid on top of the city’s old dump, (not in a forest), and now has the most solarized city in New England via the Strafford Hill Solar Farm. The partnership is between Rutland, Green Mountain Power and Grow Solar with wins for everyone involved.

Right here in Grafton County, the Bristol Library now runs on solar. Other significant NH solar arrays include Manchester Airport Parking Garage, Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Factory, Peterborough Wastewater Treatment Plant, Exeter Regional High School and more. See https://solarpowerrocks.com./new-hampshire/.

By comparison, the NP has already strained the health and security of NH residents with property threats and hearings that run 5-6 hours long in strategically inconvenient places. Eversource reps claim false benefits and do not answer questions honestly. Hydro Quebec could easily run their line down through the approved NY/VT underground line, bypass NH altogether and eliminate a NH carbon footprint. Let us make that happen!

The Planet’s Antibodies in Action

March 11, 2016

Ruminating on our environmentally induced health problems this week, I was relieved to see several signs that the times are a changing.

Despite the threats to our health posed by Australia’s coal mines, Canada’s Tar Sands, and Russia’s Gas Fields, environmentalist, Bill McKibben (Boston Globe 3/5) notes that positive change is happening as well. He sees protesters as the planet’s antibodies finally kicking in. Right here in NH, protesters have stayed the course against the Northern Pass Project for 5 ½ years and continue their protest of this project that threatens our land, our wildlife diversity, and ultimately, our health.

Film director, Michael Moore, believes that we can do more for good in the world. Annette Insdorf interviewed him about his new film. Instead of documenting US problems, Where to Invade Next documents places around the world we could learn from, countries who have turned these same problems around. In Norway, prisons are for rehabilitation, not revenge. There is no death penalty and no life in prison. The warden meets with each prisoner on arrival and says, “Someday you may be my neighbor and I want you to be a good neighbor.” And Norway leads the world in successful rehabilitation.

Germany has taken in 400,000 refugees and is prepared to take in 400,000 more because, as Angela Merkel says, “that’s who we are”. Germany refused to participate in the Iraq holocaust. They know the futility of war first hand.

The list continues through health care, education, etc. but the take home for me was the reality that we can learn from other countries when we stop pretending that we are the superior people of the world.

Philosophers have routinely called us to think “we” instead of “me”. Martin Buber, in his book, “I and Thou,” spelled out the difference between relating to other people as an “it” and as a “thou.” Environmental Activist, Joanna Macy, sees us in the midst of “The Great Turning” from an Industrial Growth Society to a Life Sustaining Civilization. Mohandas Gandhi encouraged protesters, “When people lead, the leaders will follow.”

We are no longer simply part of the United States. We are part of the World. Our health depends on World health. How can each of us claim citizenship in a Life Sustaining Civilization?

Replacing Carbon Footprint for Health

February 9, 2016

Figuring out the carbon footprint we leave with our homes, schools, municipal buildings, ski areas, shopping malls, travel vehicles, road maintenance, and more becomes overwhelming in that there seems to be no end to what we ask Earth to contend with and make OK. Do we really have to look at our footprint?

Only if we want to continue to breathe freely, continue to raise our children and access safe food and water. Most of us luxuriate in this beautiful north country where just a drive to the post office bathes us in scenic splendor. It is hard to recognize that continuing this luxury depends on whether we wake up, do our part, and give back to the Earth the means to continue to provide us with enough oxygen.

The term “carbon footprint”(CF) tells us the amount of land and sea area required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. Trees and plants help us because they need to breathe in carbon dioxide and they exhale oxygen for us. Trees are the major lungs of the earth.

To figure out our carbon footprint, just what counts? Is it just about our home energy and personal travel habits or does it include all the goods and services we purchase, the skiing, theatre performances, our shoes and clothes? Do we count the footprint of meat we buy or is that tallied by the cattle raiser? Over which carbon footprints do we have control?

On the state level, the Northern Pass wants to put in an above ground line with 35’ deep cement pilings for miles of High Voltage poles. Every ton of cement emits one ton of carbon dioxide and that doesn’t include the print left by cement mixers, blasting, jackhammers, etc. NP plans to cut 500 miles of access roads to service their power lines. That means cutting carbon-sequestering trees down. Will New Hampshire require NP to mitigate its carbon footprint and include a comprehensive plan to offset the huge carbon footprint the NP creates?

There are international companies that measure and monitor carbon footprints. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an internationally recognized company based in London that measures 4000+ international companies who voluntarily submit their environmental and emissions data. Harry Hintlian, who has a home in Woodstock, where he and his family vacation, recently received the highest environmental rankings from the CDP for his Superior Nut Company. Hintlian’s Cambridge, MA company has been offsetting its carbon footprint by planting trees in the tropics through Reforest The Tropics (RTT).

The Gloucester, MA school system is implementing the Cape Ann Green Initiative, an RTT program that teaches school children how to figure out the carbon footprint of their homes, schools, and community.
Thanks to our school systems, our children are our greatest teachers of basic technology. It is time to raise our carbon footprint consciousness by jumpstarting our schoolchildren who will surely stimulate us to protect their future by offsetting our CF.

Oh! Oh! The Lorax Is Back!

September 30, 2015

I ran into Dr. Seuss’s Lorax up on Garfield Ridge just as I reached the Skoocumchuck Trail sign. As usual, he bellowed at me to get my attention, “What’s this I hear about Eversource still trying to put that powerline down through towns that haven’t stood up and shouted, “NO!” with community protests!”

“Listen!” he hissed. “PSNH has stopped spraying their rights of way with pesticides, but they’ve got a new way of attacking the Earth like they own it! Surely, you’ve seen the 120 foot wide rows under their lines that they are pulverizing with their monster track hoes, complete with an articulated brush at the end of the arm.”

“Blueberry bushes and every kind of browse will be gone and the line through forest and towns will look like a giant snowmobile superhighway with the powerline down the middle! Right now, they are going through wetlands, chewing up steep slopes for future landslides, and they leave everything in a broken, tangled mess. If they fell a tree adjacent to a row because it overhangs the row, it gets cut and left where it falls. Farmers lose several acres and get nothing in return. And what about all the hush money Eversource is paying snowmobile clubs? They seem to want to continue Hydro-Quebec’s example of provincial carnage.”

Sheepishly, I admitted, “ I’ve been reading up on Gaia, you know, the idea that Earth is a self-regulating living organism of which we humans are simply a part. We’re definitely not running the show and unless we shape up and take our place instead of trying to dominate everything on Earth, we’re in trouble. I’m reading ecologist/philosopher David Abram’s work about how everything is connected and has been trying to connect with us.”

“Good! You’re beginning to get the big picture. It’s not just about having rights; it’s about connecting with all the sentient beings on Earth, not just humans! And step one is to quit messing Earth up! Tell the Northern Pass people that UNLESS they’re willing to BURY THE LINE ALL THE WAY from the Canadian border to Massachusetts, there will be No Northern Pass.”

Governor Hassan needs continued reminders at GovernorHassen@nh.gov, or at 603-271-2121.

The Power of Place for Health

June 7, 2015

I just viewed Jerry Monkman’s film, “The Power of Place”, a documentary that combines interviews with experts and NH residents with awesome cinematography of the places that would be impacted by the Northern Pass. The film triggered the memory of my drive west several years ago, to spend nine months volunteering in the Tetons.

As I left New York State and picked up Route 80 West, Big Sky presented itself. What made Big Sky so obvious were the cobwebs of power lines replacing trees all the way from Ohio to Rock Springs, WY. There, I headed north, leaving the flatlands and smothering web. After I passed the stench of the last cattle holding pen area and the beginning of hill country, a miracle happened.

I entered an enchanted forest, enchanted because I drove past plants, shrubs and trees I’d never seen before, all arranged by nature’s finest landscaper and thriving on sandy soil. The hills became small mountains and then everything grew and all of a sudden, I felt energized, not tired after a long drive. November gave way to wild winter experiences and I learned to share space with moose, bison, elk, antelope and so much more.

I was amidst people who valued that shared experience. When they flashed their high beams on the road at night, it was to warn that a herd of elk or other wild life was up ahead, time to slow down. In Kelly, WY, where I lived, if you saw a dog asleep in the middle of the road, you drove carefully around it so as not to disturb its nap.

Viewing the Monkman film in Bethlehem, I was again in the midst of people who value the land and the opportunity to share it with the rest of the natural world. It was a relief to be there with them and to be viewing the mountains that always energize me, especially when I hike the peaks and ridges here in NH. Thanks to the AMC and WMNF, our north country is laced with maintained trails that are free for everyone, and provide rest and renewed energy to NH folks as well as people from all over the world, who still come here to recharge.

This mountain energy is threatened, not only by the Northern Pass, but ISO New England’s plan for a suffocating web of power lines blanketing our whole state, including our forests. When I saw the ISO New England prospective power grid for the first time a few years ago, I cringed at the thought that our state could ever become like Route 80 West – desolate.

When I check out products on the internet, I cringe at the Northern Pass ads that are plastered over websites, full of empty promises. I wonder how many times Hydro Quebec/Eversource Energy has paid out the cost of buried lines in advertizing alone. They must really plan to make a bundle if they can ever fool enough people to just let them in the door.

Solar and yet to be developed sources of renewable energy definitely threaten the monopoly power companies have held over us. Future projections of reasonable rates from alternative sources mean we will have choices that spread the wealth instead of being at the mercy of a monopoly. Such choices will enable us to share this land as a health sustaining space for all life.

Time to continue contacting legislators with requests to fund development of new sources of energy that respect all life. Bottom line: how can our efforts bring a better deal for everyone? Therein lies the possibility for real health and happiness.

The Value of Seeing Others Happy

May 1, 2015

I just read Russ Roberts’ eye-opening book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life. The book is about Adam Smith’s real message to us. Smith, who wrote, The Wealth of Nations, a book that seemed to be the backbone of what has evolved as our US business model, had something far more potent in mind than the idea of creating corporate monopolies.

Smith wrote an earlier book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, detailing his philosophy on the futility of pursuing money with the hope of finding happiness. Rather, it is our interest in the good fortune of others that brings us pleasure.

It is not enough to make a lot of money, get ahead and acquire. We need to sense that we are contributing to the health and well-being of others, that the way we make our money must not leave others miserable.

This week, signs that we are waking up, are encouraging. Lisbon’s zoning board denied the asphalt company’s move to relocate in Lisbon because the town has a rule that no pollution can result from plant operations. The Army Corps of Engineers has just told Canadian hydropower that it has to bury it’s VT/NY line deeper to meet safety regulations, which will raise the cost possibly beyond what Canada is willing to pay for someone else’s safety.

People are signing up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships that assure them GMO-free produce this season. More organic produce is being offered at grocery stores. Workshops on composting, and planning home gardens are lining up. Northern Pass Opposition, now in it’s fifth year, is growing stronger as Hydro Quebec’s empty promises unfold. Plymouth Village Water and Sewer District (PVWSD) has followed the Bristol Library’s lead with a solar array.

More research is coming in that documents the effects of GMO seed, food and pesticides that erode the health of humans, animals and wildlife. Follow-up studies document a return to health when GMO-free food is resumed (see Jane Goodall, Seeds of Hope).

Harry Hintlian, who vacations in our area, manages Reforest The Tropics (RTT), a UN sanctioned carbon sequestration program in Costa Rica to replant the rainforest. These scientifically planted forests absorb over 10 times the amount of carbon dioxide compared to temperate zone forests. This project is supported by companies committed to 100 percent balancing of their carbon footprint.

Bottom line is: how can our efforts bring a better deal for everyone? Therein lies the possibility for real happiness.

Listen to Sounds of Silence

March 9, 2015

“One of the ways we stay in touch with the rest of the earth is through silence,” says acoustic ecologist, Gordon Hempton in his book, One Square Inch of Silence. The book is about his quest to create that much space for silence in Olympic National Park, WA.

Hempton defines silence as “free of human caused noise.” His story begins in Olympic National Park where he lives and he records decibels at points along his travel route across the country to Washington, DC in an attempt to document the need for regulations that protect silent spaces in our national parks. It is a call to each of us to listen to all the sounds of silence, the drips on leaves, the wind passing through different trees, coyotes, bees, nut gatherers, falling snow…., for our own well-being.

His sound videos taken in different parts of the country are on the internet. I listened to “Forest Rain” which immediately put me back in our tent by the lake and the wonder of hearing rain and all the peeps of frogs and birds luxuriating in the rain as well. It is a profoundly relaxing sound video.

Significant causes of health problems, according to Stansfeld and Matheson’s report, “Noise Pollution: non-auditory effects on Health” in the Oxford Medical and Surgical Case Reports, are aircraft and road traffic noise. This noise impairs reading comprehension, long term memory, and cognitive performance in children. Noise stress may also be associated with high blood pressure and other stress-related conditions.

This key to silence is an important key we need to use to save our well-being on this earth, especially with attention to how we access the electrical energy we need. We could simplify our choices of allowable energy forms based on how much noise new sources generate during building and maintenance of the energy in question.

Tesla Motors is developing a home battery for Solar home electrical backup, eliminating the need to be at the mercy of power companies for compensation of surplus energy produced.

While it is encouraging to see more solar energy applications quietly helping to meet our needs, we in NH will hopefully see the 9 million dollars the legislature set aside for the development of renewable forms of energy that are also in harmony with our environment.

My concern with the Northern Pass project is the noise level generated by industrial equipment brought in to tear up forestland and build 500 miles of access roads in order to build the line and for routine and after-storm maintenance if the project is completed. The noise would be ongoing in forests people come to for R&R.

Having destroyed their once lucrative forest tourism and fishing industries in Quebec with their noisy dams and power lines, Hydro Quebec stands poised to do the same to NH despite doubletalk about having plenty of energy.

Governor Hassan (603-271-2121) and our legislators need to know that we expect the 9 million earmarked for renewable energy development to be used as intended. If you live in other states, consider contacting your legislators. Our health and well-being depend on it..