Northern Pass asks DOE to drop Normandeau Associates as EIS contractor

March 11, 2011
MANCHESTER — One issue that has riled opponents of the proposed 1,200-megawatt high-voltage Direct Current power line that would bring primarily hydropower from Quebec across the border at Pittsburg and then south to Franklin has been resolved. Officials at Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) sent a letter on Monday afternoon to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asking that it terminate Normandeau Associates as its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) contractor and as well as its Memorandum of Understanding outlining that role.

NPT acknowledged in its letter some of the public concerns about a conflict of interest that had been kicked up by the use of Normandeau in developing a single body of environmental data for both the federal EIS process and the state permitting process. In mid-February, NPT had responded to some of the public's concerns and then on Monday wrote that "…(w)hile we do not believe that the concerns … are well-founded, we … have concluded that it is desirable to terminate … so that the EIS can be prepared, free of the public concerns that have been voiced…"

NPT also asked DOE's assistance in promptly identifying and transitioning to a new EIS.

Seven EIS scoping hearing are scheduled next week. Both Haverhill and Plymouth were added to the original roster of five: Pembroke; Franklin; Lincoln; Whitefield; and Colebrook.

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