The Northern Pass is working successfully, as requested by the Legislature, to acquire, voluntarily, the land rights necessary for construction of the project.
The project currently has property rights to the vast majority of the land necessary for building the transmission line within existing rights of way; and, we are working successfully with property owners to purchase land or easements to develop an acceptable route in that area of the North Country where there is no existing transmission right of way.
Contrary to claims by some project opponents, the Northern Pass project is not predicated on the use of eminent domain.
The use of eminent domain for utility purposes is an extremely rare occurrence in New Hampshire, and we believe that existing State law is sufficient protection for property owners.
We are reviewing the amendment passed today by the NH Senate and what impact, if any, it may have on the project if enacted. Our initial review of the amendment suggests that:
- The Forrester/Bragdon amendment appears to allow FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and ISO-New England policy—not New Hampshire—to dictate the use of eminent domain on transmission projects.
- Our understanding is that this FERC policy hasn’t been determined yet, and we look forward to working with federal and regional regulators on development of a policy that fully considers projects like Northern Pass, and we are confident that given the reliability, low cost, and environmental benefits that this project provides we will be able to develop structure that is conducive to the development of the project.
While we continue to analyze the amendment and it is considered by the House, our work on the project continues.