State asked to re-evaluate Livermore Falls settlement deal
HOLDERNESS — A group is asking the state to increase the amount of a negotiated settlement for the Livermore Falls project.
As part of a negotiated settlement with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee over a dispute about the company’s re-siting of its Operations and Maintenance Building during the plant’s construction in 2011, Iberdrola Renewables’ Groton Wind LLC wind-energy plant had agreed to give the committee $160,000.
But an intervenor group in the settlement proceedings, the Buttolph/Lewis/Spring group, has filed a motion with the SEC, asking parties involved to “expand the agreement to provide information on how they arrived at the $160,000 payment and the justification for allocating most of the payment for the Livermore Falls area.”
“For now, we want Groton Wind and the Attorney General’s office to explain how they arrived at their settlement conditions so we have an opportunity to present a case for why the $160,000 is inadequate,” said Lisa Linowes, a spokeswoman for the group.
The Livermore Falls area is a set of waterfalls, cliffs and beaches along the river below the old bridge in the towns of Campton, Plymouth and Holderness.
The Friends of the Pemi: Livermore Falls Chapter has been working since 2013 to come up with plans to protect the falls area and make it safer and more pleasurable to use. The area, owned by the state, is framed by the historically important Pumpkin Seed Bridge, which was erected in 1886 and closed in 1959. The bridge is now too dangerous to cross.
Members of the friends group said they were pleased to receive the money. But Linowes’ group said it is not an adequate amount.
“The monster electric poles travel along Route 25 and Route 3 and cross over the Pemigewasset right at the historic bridge for a length of approximately 13 miles. Unsightly metal poles standing well over 50 feet now straddle the remains of the bridge and sit on state-owned land,” Linowes said.
“At no time during the proceedings for Groton Wind, did Iberdrola Renewables inform the SEC or (the state’s) Division of Forests and Lands that the poles would go on state-owned land,” she said.
The land was acquired for $400,000 in 1992 using LCHIP funds, Linowes said.
“Had the SEC, DRED, and the town Campton been made aware of the interconnection route, we firmly believe the SEC would have taken action to mitigate for the unsightly impact over such a beautiful and historic area,” Linowes said.
“It is late in the game to raise this issue with the SEC but when we saw that the settlement money was to be allocated to the Livermore Falls area, we were compelled to come forward.”
Iberdrola Renewables officials could not be reached for comment. The SEC is studying the request.