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Deerfield residents raise more money to fund legal fight against Northern Pass

Union Leader Correspondent

September 18. 2017 10:29PM
These signs showing opposition to the project are on display in Deerfield. (Melissa Proulx/Union Leader Correspondent)

DEERFIELD — Residents are continuing to raise money for the legal fight against a proposed transmission line that would end in town.

“We’ve received more money in excess of $10,000,” said Board of Selectmen Chair Stephen Barry.

This is the second time selectmen have accepted a donation for the legal fight. They accepted a similar amount back in November 2016 — just over $14,000. But that money was eaten up fast — based on the bills at that time, the town only had a few hundred dollars left in its legal fund.

The town has been working with Steven Whitley from Mitchell Municipal Group PA in Laconia for more than a year.

Residents had voted down a warrant article in 2015 to start a fund to hire an attorney. Money from the operating budget cannot be used.

However, per state law, residents can raise the money through donations to fund the position.

Funding for Whitley will have to continue to come through donations unless a warrant article is passed by voters this March, allowing the town to use money from the general fund.

Northern Pass is a 192-mile transmission line project that could bring 1,090 megawatts of hydropower from Canada to New Hampshire, according to the project’s website. It will cost about $1.6 billion, with the hopes of being up and running in 2020.

The proposed line — which would be both above and below ground — would go through the middle of the Granite State, through more than 30 towns and cities, including Deerfield.

The line will end at a substation in town.

Hearings on the project held by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) were recently extended into December. The SEC hopes to have a decision announced on the project by Feb. 28 and a written decision by March 31.

Residents said the money raised will help the town continue to be heard at these hearings.

“I think we need to be there to speak for Deerfield,” said resident Jack Hutchinson.

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