ALEXANDRIA — Residents in the Newfound Lake-Cardigan Mountain region who want their voices heard on legislation that would review the state’s siting process for energy projects, like Wild Meadows and Northern Pass, can do so in Plymouth, the state has announced.
Area residents and members of New Hampshire Wind Watch, a group opposed to the Wild Meadows wind power project planned for the Newfound Lake area, were upset to learn that the state’s Office of Energy and Planning had scheduled public workshops on Senate Bill 99 in several towns to the south and north of their region.
SB 99, sponsored by Sen. Jeanie Forrester and several others, calls for a study of the Site Evaluation Committee and it process, and the development of regulatory criteria for the siting of energy facilities.
Forrester said she and other legislators are concerned that the SEC, which deals with new power project proposals, may not have enough staffing and other resources to handle the new energy projects proposed for the state.
Workshops on the bill will take place on Dec. 3 at the Manchester Memorial High School cafeteria in Manchester, on Dec. 4 at the Groveton High School gymnasium in Groveton, on Dec. 5 at the Keene Recreation Center in Keene, on Dec. 9 at the Town of Newington Main Hall in Newington, and on Dec. 10 at the Winnisquam Regional High School Cafetorium in Tilton.
In addition, OEP officials will be holding listening sessions for those who can’t participate in a workshop or who wish to provide more general public input on the siting process. The listening sessions will begin at 6 p.m. and registration is not required.
The sessions will be held on Dec. 2 at Colebrook Elementary School, on Dec. 11 in the Lebanon City Council Chambers, and on Dec. 17 at the Plymouth State University Welcome Center/Ice Arena.
OEP Director Meredith Hatfield said the workshops, which involve technology, required the settings that were chosen, and a setting could not be found in the central New Hampshire area north of Tilton.
“And we have more than 100 people already registered for Tilton,” she said.
The listening sessions may suit many residents better than the workshop, she said, as registration is not required and anyone attending can speak.
Wind Watch officials were glad to hear there will be a chance to speak in Plymouth.
“New Hampshire Wind Watch is very pleased there is a listening session scheduled for Plymouth,” said president Lori Lerner. “We encourage everyone to attend. This is our opportunity to have our voices be heard.”