Land conservation efforts in the Northern Forest are threatened by the proposed Northern Pass Transmission Line project, which would bring Canadian hydropower into New England.
The high-tension Northern Pass Transmission Line is proposed through or near numerous conservation lands in the Northern Forest, including the White Mountain National Forest and the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge.
These are sensitive ecosystems within the Northern Forest that provide natural resources and pristine habitat for wildlife.
Making sure renewable energy is done right in the Northern Forest
Support for renewable energy means guiding projects to the right places and away from sensitive wildlands in the Northern Forest and elsewhere. To create a sustainable clean energy future, we have to minimize the impacts of renewable energy projects on sensitive wildlands and wildlife.
While the proposed Northern Pass transmission line would bring up to 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectric power to homes and businesses in the New England area, it also would impact communities, forests and wildlife — particularly in northern New Hampshire.
There isn’t clear evidence that Northern Pass is the best solution for New England. The developer’s goal is to sell inexpensive Canadian hydropower to New England, but they haven’t proven that the project is needed to meet energy demands in the region. What’s more, this type of large-scale hydropower adds to global warming and threatens northern species particularly vulnerable to climate warming. So, impacts from the related construction of dams in Canada should be accounted for in the environmental review for this project.
Northern Pass has applied to the United States Department of Energy for a Presidential permit to construct, operate, maintain and connect an electric transmission line across the United States border with Canada. The project has also applied to the Forest Service for a special use permit to cross the White Mountain National Forest.
After a long delay while the developers sought a less controversial route, on Northern Pass has announced a new route that passes through some of New Hampshire’s most remote forest lands. Further analysis is needed before this project is allowed to impact sensitive wildlands.