Northern Pass clears federal hurdle
Environmental statement calls route ‘preferred alternative’
FEDERAL REGULATORS CLEARED THE WAY on Thursday for Eversource’s Northern Pass transmission project to receive one of the two permits necessary to begin construction of a line carrying hydroelectricity from Quebec to southern New Hampshire.
The US Department of Energy issued a final environmental impact statement for Northern Pass, setting the stage for the award of a presidential permit, which allows Eversource to connect with power lines from Hydro-Quebec across the Canadian border.
Officials said the environmental impact statement identified Eversource’s proposed route through New Hampshire as the “preferred alternative” and described the scenic impact as low to very low.The project also needs permitting approvals from the state of New Hampshire, and a decision on those is due sometime in the fall. The project has faced strong opposition from New Hampshire residents concerned about the impact of an above-ground transmission line on the state.
Hydro-Quebec also submitted bids with two other transmission companies, one of whom, TDI New England, has all of its permits and says it is shovel ready to build an underground and underwater transmission line from Quebec to Vermont using the floor of Lake Champlain.