CONCORD — The Society for the Protection of
N.H. Forests announced it has purchase and sales agreements with a number of
North Country landowners to “disrupt” construction plans for the Northern Pass.
But it said it must raise $2.5 million by Oct. 31.
The conservation organization, which is opposing the high-power transmission project through 180 miles of the state, indicated it has secured agreements to acquire a total of 1,500 acres in the North Country for conservation. All four parcels, they believe, are being sought by the $1.1 billion project, which is being proposed by Northeast Utilities and Hydro-Quebec.
The parcels now under agreement for conservation include:
- 500 acres owned by Green Acre Woodlands, immediately west of McAllaster Farm, which was previously acquired for protection by the nonprofit's Trees Not Towers campaign.
- Two small parcels owned by Lynne Placey of Stewartstown.
- 300 acres owned by the Lewis family, which links the southern boundary of the Balsams property which the organization conserved in January, and the boundary of the Nash Stream State Forest.
Jane Difley, president and forester of the state's oldest conservation organization, said, “New Hampshire needs to protect itself from an industrialized corridor that could support multiple transmission lines in the future, regardless of the outcome of the immediate Northern Pass proposal.”
The project is proposed for 180 miles of the state, using 140 miles of existing right of way owned by Public Service of New Hampshire. The remaining 40 miles from Groveton to Pittsburg has to be acquired by the project on a willing-seller basis rather than use of eminent domain. The legislature took eminent domain off the table for this for-profit project.
Officials for Northeast Utilities have maintained they are making strong progress with acquiring the land needed for the project in the North and told investors it expected to have the proposed route identified by Sept. 30.
If not, it indicated, it was likely the project would move back from a 2016 production date to 2017.
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