Swift Diamond Riders deny endorsement report


January 19, 2011
WEST STEWARTSTOWN — Although Associated Press carried a weekend story that the proposed "plan for a new high-voltage power line in New Hampshire is getting support from a group of 1,000 snowmobilers," secretary Diane "Di" Drew of the Swift Diamond Riders (SDR) Club and her husband, board member Lloyd Drew, denied the report in a Saturday evening telephone call.

Swift Diamond Riders president Kevin Drew confirmed his parents' take on the topic in a Monday morning telephone call. "We welcome Northern Pass as a sponsor and are happy to give them a place to give their point of view and to engage in a dialogue with those who come to the SnoDeo, but the Club is neutral on the proposed transmission line," he said.

AP reported: "The Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club…, which organizes the annual SnoDeo racing and equipment show event in Coleman State Park, favors the Northern Pass Project. A key sponsor of this year's event March 4-5 is Northern Pass Transmission, LLC."

Earlier Club president Kevin Drew, the son of Di and Lloyd Drew, was quoted as saying in a press release to promote the SnoDeo released by Kurt Muhlfelder of South End Media of Concord: "We feel snowmobilers will be very interested in The Northern Pass, since the project supports use of the existing trail system and could mean new riding areas along the rights of way to be created."

Both Di and Lloyd Drew stated firmly and clearly that the Swift Diamond Riders Club is not taking "any stance whatsoever" on the proposed 1,200 megawatt (MW) high-voltage direct current HVDC Hydro-Quebec transmission line from Quebec, Canada, to Franklin.

"We would have no business taking a position, and we're staying neutral," director Drew explained.

Northern Pass has agreed to rent space at the SnoDeo so that it "can tell its side of the story," he said.

According to the press release from Muhlfelder of South End Media, "This year's SnoDeo is the first to have a 'title sponsor'—Northern Pass Transmission, LLC—to help promote and fund the tourism-boosting event."

The elder members of the Drew family reported that the Club likely has between 700 and 800 members, and not the 1,000 claimed in the press release.

Northern Pass spokesperson Martin Murray was quoted as saying in the press release: "We are excited to sponsor this popular North Country event, and to begin making real contributions to support the local economy. The North Country is an important partner in this project, and snowmobiling is one of the top economic drivers in the tourism industry in this part of the state."

Other sponsors listed on the SnoDeo website include: Allstate Insurance; The Balsams; Camoplast; Can-Am; Polaris; Ski-Doo; Yamaha; and

WOKQ/WPKQ.

To learn more about the SnoDeo event and the Swift Diamond Riders Club, go to nhsnodeo.com. To learn more about The Northern Pass transmission project, go to www.northernpass.us.

The Swift Diamond website is: www.swiftdiamondriders.com.

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