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Without Action, Northern Pass to Cut Straight Through Plymouth

By Kelsey Davis; News Editor, Hannah Gordon; For the Clock
On October 17, 2017

Without Action, Northern Pass to Cut Straight Through Plymouth 

Kelsey Davis

News Editor

Hannah Gordon

For the Clock 


Walking down the Main Street of Plymouth, New Hampshire on a brisk autumn day, one can't help but recognize the town's vibrant energy. Students sit inside the ice cream parlor or burrito shop, tourists peek inside the thrift stores, people who have built their lives here relax in the park with their children and dogs. For most of these people, Northern Pass is the last thing on their minds, but it may change Plymouth forever.

Eversource is the leading energy provider in the New England area, with upwards of 3.6 million customers according to their official website. They've also decided to move forward with Northern Pass, a project that would bring energy from Hydro-Québec through New Hampshire and into Massachusetts and Connecticut. A previous path that was proposed had the line going through the White Mountain National Forest. The current path would put a line onto Route 3, cutting through downtown Plymouth. The line would go under the road stretching from the roundabout to Green Street. The construction process that would put Main Street out of commission for an estimated six months, though this could go longer. This would be a huge blow to the local economy, according to business owner Alex Ray. He said, “It’s the main business hub for 10 smaller towns." Indeed, over 50 businesses would be within 20 feet of the construction site for the lines. Eversource has not answered the question of whether or not business owners would be compensated for the loss of revenue.

This is not a sure thing, however. The Site Evaluation Committee, a group that is not affiliated with Eversource, must see if the proposed plan to go through Plymouth is viable. On October 2nd, the SEC came to Plymouth to see firsthand the site of the proposed project. They must make their preliminary ruling either for or against the project by November, and must come up with evidence supporting this ruling by February. The SEC must take into account any accounts, either for or against the project, when making their decision.

It was this in mind that residents of Plymouth and the surrounding area gathered on Main Street to show the SEC how upset residents were at the Northern Pass. Well over a hundred people marched raise awareness, and to show their displeasure at what was happening. Many Plymouth State students were also at the march, showing their support against the Northern Pass. Molly Ricker, a Theatre Arts major, said “Plymouth is my home away from home. If they build the Northern Pass through Main Street, it would be devastating to the businesses and the community. We ha ve to ha ve our Biederman’s, Chase Street and Monte!” Notable speakers at the march included Representatives Steven Rand, Duane R. Brown, Alex Ray, and executive producer for CJ Willingham and Co. Charlene Joyce. The main focus of all of these speakers was the idea of community, and having a united front against Northern Pass. There was also an emphasis on not allowing New Hampshire to become a “resource colony” for other states, fighting back against the fact that none of the energy garnered from the Northern Pass would go to New Hampshire residents.

Another important point was on community rights, focusing on five articles in the New Hampshire Constitution. One of these articles states that governance, "Originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good." The movement pushes for towns to take control of what developments, especially those spearheaded by corporations, are allowed to place in their jurisdictions. To do so, an amendment must be made to the New Hampshire state constitution. Many at the march felt that if the town of Plymouth had the power to say no to the Northern Pass, many businesses would not be in danger.

The New Hampshire Community Rights Network, who passed out flyers at the event, believe that being vocal is the key to stopping, or diverting, Northern Pass, and so participants were asked to write the SEC. The SEC is evaluating letters from civilians in an effort to reach a decision about if and how to proceed with the Northern Pass project. Letters should mention aesthetic and historical concerns, as well as worries about the construction process and its impact on the local economy. These letters should be sent in by October 30th, and written form would be preferable, though email works as well. The SEC will go through these letters, and they will help them reach a decision. Those opposed to the Northern Pass are also encouraged to write and call local and state representatives, and spread the word to other New Hampshire citizens as well. The citizen's voices matter now more than ever.

If you would like to contact the-SEC, mail your letters to:

Ms. Pamela Monroe, Administrator
Site Evaluation Committee
21 South Street, Suite 10 Concord, NH 03301

Or email Pamela.Monroe@sec. 



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