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Eversource grilled over why the plan isn't to bury all of Northern Pass

April 13. 2017 3:03PM
Bill Quinlan of Eversource, right, gets questioned by Tom Pappas at Monday's Northern Pass hearing in Concord. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

CONCORD – A top Eversource executive was challenged Thursday to explain why a proposed $1.6 billion transmission line would be buried in some areas and built above ground elsewhere.

Whether to bury some or all of the 192-mile Northern Pass project has been a major issue since the project was proposed and was again Thursday as a state committee kicked off the first day of hearings to determine whether to approve the project.

Thomas Pappas, counsel for the public, questioned William Quinlan, president of operations for Eversource in New Hampshire, Thursday morning.

“The project goes underground for this 7.5-mile segment because the project was unable to acquire the land rights necessary to go overhead, isn’t that correct?” Pappas asked Guinlan before more a crowd of more than 100, including people who live along the path of the project.

As proposed, just 60 of the 192-mile route would be burried, where critics would have most if not all of it buried.

“Again, the project team at the time determined this would be a secure route and made the determination to design it as such,” Quinlan told Pappas.

“And they designed it underground because they didn’t have the land rights to go overheard. Isn’t that correct?” Pappas continued.

“I think that’s true. Yes, again, I was not part of that decision making,” Quinlan “I believe that was a consideration” Quinlan said.

The Eversource executive said burying all 192 miles of transmission line would have added $1 billion to the project.

“An all-underground project is not economical,” Quinlan said.

Eversources latest projects have the Northern Pass project creating an estimated 2,600 construction jobs with a majority of those going to Granite Staters.

“It’s our commitment and goal to employ the New Hampshire workforce first,” Quinlan said.

Opponents lined the street leading to the hearing Thursday with dozens of “Stop Northern Pass!” signs on display.

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