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Another View -- Preston Lawrance: Join me in taking a pass on the Northern Pass

August 30. 2012 1:25AM

Recently, my wife and I took a short vacation trip up to Pittsburg. Traveling on routes 3 and 145, we saw sign after sign saying 'NO' to Northern Pass. We did not see one sign supporting the Northern Pass project, which would bring hydropower from northern Quebec to southern New England. The Great North Woods would bear the brunt of the project, with massive transmission towers bringing electricity to the southern New England power grabbers. We love the unspoiled landscape of Clarksville and Pittsburg without having to drive by or under a bunch of ugly metal towers that will fry the pristine landscape and harm native wildlife.

So here is why I am opposed to this massive and invasive Northern Pass.

1. New Hampshire does not need the power. We actually export our surplus power. The Northern Pass proposal is a private, commercial development geared toward fulfilling the strategic positioning and profit motives of its private partners: Northeast Utilities, NSTAR and Hydro-Quebec.

2. New Hampshire consumers would see no discernible decrease in electric rates as claimed. No existing fossil fuel plant is slated for elimination as the result of Northern Pass, so our air quality would not significantly improve. Also, adding 1,110 towers would permanently scar our pristine landscape in the Great North Woods. Destroying our forests with these massive towers is not green, but brown. Flooding thousands of forest lands in northern Quebec also is not green.

3. Bringing these ugly towers through the Great North Woods will lower property values, impinge on tourist travel and result in further job loss for the economically depressed Coos County. These folks have already lost major industries, including Ethan Allen Furniture, Tillotson Manufacturing and the Groveton and Berlin paper mills. They depend on us folks in southern New Hampshire to vacation and buy second homes in the Great North Woods.

The so-called job generation in building the towers would be conducted mostly by out-of-state firms that specialize in this type of work. Don't expect them to hire locals who would be inexperienced. And any increased local revenues would be short-lived until the towers are completed.

4. Thirty towns in New Hampshire have voted to oppose this project; therefore, we owe it to our fellow Granite Staters to oppose Northern Pass as well. In addition, a number of other caring New Hampshire nonprofits have stepped up to the plate in opposition. They include the Appalachian Mountain Club, Conservation New Hampshire, The Nature Conservancy, the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust and the Conservation Law Foundation.

5. There is an alternative to Northern Pass. Run the power lines under Lake Champlain, which runs from Quebec all the way down to mid-New York.

Please join me with a resounding chorus in saying NO to the Northern Pass.

Preston Lawrance is director of Lawrance Direct, LLC, in Manchester.

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