Follow the law: SEC reconsidering Northern PassEDITORIAL
March 11. 2018 8:50PM
New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) has a chance to undo its error in preemptively denying the application for the Northern Pass project.
The SEC meets today to reconsider that vote, which it took without any meaningful deliberation of the $1.6 billion power line project.
The SEC is not a legislative body. Commissioners may not vote their personal feelings. They must consider whether the applicant meets the standards laid out in state statute, and they must consider conditions that would mitigate the project’s negative impacts.
Opponents of Northern Pass complain both about the height of power lines along existing rights-of-way, and of the disruption that would be caused by burying lines along other parts of the route.
The expert testimony on which the SEC must rely states Northern Pass would have no more than a moderate impact on tourism. Any infrastructure project will have drawbacks. The SEC is bound by the law to consider not just these costs but steps that are being taken to offset them, as well as benefits to the state.
In failing to consider these efforts, the SEC jumped to a conclusion, and brought into doubt the integrity of New Hampshire’s regulatory framework. The site evaluation process is not a popularity contest.