If the lights stay on and the electric bill remains somewhat reasonable along New Hampshire’s Seacoast in the future, remember not to thank the Conservation Law Foundation. It is doing its damndest to block a piece of the Seacoast Reliability Project now under way from Madbury to Portsmouth.
The Eversource utility folks must sometimes wonder why they bother trying to do their job, which is to transmit electricity at the lowest possible financial cost while being environmentally mindful and respectful. Their Northern Pass project came a cropper in part because many in the North Country thought above-ground transmission lines would scar the land. Bury it, they said.
Which is what Eversource is doing with a one-mile portion of its Seacoast project, feeding the power line beneath the Great Bay Estuary.
The project has won approval from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, the same entity that turned thumbs down on Northern Pass. The Army Corps of Engineers has also OK’d the underwater plan.
But the Conservation Law Foundation, which often manages to drive up costs to consumers in one way or another, doesn’t like the route, claiming environmental concerns. It has appealed the SEC’s approval to the state supreme court and now it is suing in federal court as well.
New Hampshire electric rates are already among the nation’s highest. The CLF action will drive them higher still.
We will look on the bright side, though, and thank God that the CLF wasn’t around for the laying of the transatlantic cable more than a century ago. We would still be using clipper ships to get the latest news from the continent.