By Wendy Mersch
Dear Ms. Horn,
This morning I was watching WMUR and saw you talking about We the People and the decrease in government involvement with our next election. My thought was to contact you and ask for your help with an issue that is going to be one of the deciding factors for many NH people in the upcoming elections. It is the Northern Pass. I am sure you have heard of it and may or may not know much about this project, but I am asking you to please research it and form your own opinion of what this will do to our state.
I am a life long resident of this beautiful state, I grew up here, got married here, had both of my children here, they are growing up here and we LOVE NH. I've grown up voting for both democrats and republicans. When it comes down to it, I'm someone who votes for the person I believe is going to do the best job for my state and for my country. I don't care which side of the ballot he/she is on. These upcoming elections are going to be the same way and what is weighing heavily on my heart and within my soul is the debate of the Northern Pass.
I'm what PSNH and Hydro Quebec are calling a NIMBY, the power lines are going to abut my property and possibly even have some of my property be taken by eminent domain, I honestly don't know because nobody is talking at this point, everything is very hush hush. The only thing that we are hearing from the Northern Pass people are the same words over and over again, regardless of what questions are asked, it's like they are reading a script...It's going to bring in thousands of jobs to our state, the energy cost is going to be lower, it's green energy and the millions of dollars in tax revenue that it will generate for out state. Those seem to be the main points they are pushing at us and complete denial of any valid points that the people of NH continue to raise.
As a landowner who will be effected by this, my initial response was disbelief, complete disbelief that something like this could possibly be happening. This project had been in the planning stages for two years before I heard about it. I didn't hear about this from PSNH, my town or hydro Quebec, I heard about it from a neighbor. My neighbors heard about it from a gentleman who felt so strongly about it that he was going door to door telling people about it because nobody knew what the Northern Pass was! He gave them two web-sites to look at, the Northern pass and livefreeorfry.org. At this point the project was already at the presidential permit phase and comments from landowners to the DOE had been closed, or so I thought. I wrote to Mr. Mills and sent out e-mails to everyone that I could think of letting them know about this project. Again, my initial response was that of a landowner who would be looking at these 90-135 foot metal towers every day.
I then went to informational meetings with selectmen from our town and a neighboring town, hearing the same thing. It wasn't until I started reading articles, receiving information and attending anti-northern pass meetings that I was able to dig deeper. I attended a scoping hearing with the DOE in Plymouth and discovered ideas that I had not thought of as a landowner. The point being, I am a landowner, but I am also a resident of this state who has chosen to live here, chosen to raise my children here and work here. Everything raised and talked about is of concern to me, not just because I'm a NIMBY, but because I call NH my home.
What I have discovered is that this project is a cover-up for something much bigger. The reason, I believe that the people of Northern pass are keeping to their script is because those are all valid points that they want to portray as their reason for wanting this project to be successful. Please think about what I am going to be writing. The point of bringing thousands of jobs to our state...first it is may do this indeed, but there is no guarantee these jobs will be given to people in NH that need jobs. How many jobless people in NH are trained to do what will need to be done? This is a short three year project, according the NP people. This will project will shut down many small electrical/power companies that already exist within our state which are providing long term jobs to NH citizens...so to me this is not a valid argument.
The next point is the energy cost, which they can not and will not tell us what this cost is...this project has to be paid for, whether they want to admit it or not, the people receiving this power are going to pay for it. NH produces enough power to support our state, so much that we actually export it. Why allow this to come into our state to support states south of us and take the chance of losing the benefits of this by putting companies out of business who would be competing with Hydro Quebec? Again, does not make sense for NH. It's green...hydro Quebec is own by the Quebec government, has dammed up rivers ruining millions of acres of land and rivers, causing methane gas and other environmental issues all in the name of going green? I believe it is in the name of the almighty dollar. The millions of dollars in tax revenue may be true, however our state will also be losing millions of dollars in lost taxes from the businesses that will be lost, the home taxes that will be drastically reduced and the revenue lost from the ripple effects of this monster tower. I know for myself and my family, we will move from this state if this project goes through.
The reason I say that is because all along Governor Lynch has said that this project will not go forward if the people of NH do not want it. I believe that the people of NH have said that they do not want it, but yet we are still moving forward with it. Secretary Chu has said that this is a complex question, that the people of NH will decide, making us again question why is the DOE still involved since the people of NH do not want this. The towns directly involved with this project voted in March on election day at the town meetings where everything is decided in our state of Live Free or Die and every town voted against this project which again should make our voices be heard loud and clear. However here we are one day away from May and we are still talking about this project. Why? The people of NH do not want the jobs, the tax benefits of this project. We produce our own electricity and given the chance we can create more renewable energy within our state, for our state. I have attached a copy of a letter I received from a couple that had their property assessed and you can see for yourself the drop in value of properties if this project goes through. It will destroy NH as we know it. There will be less second home buyers coming to NH, there will be less tourism coming to our state because the towns in the north country and along I-93 will no longer be the towns they are today.
This is not just about renewable energy, jobs and taxes in our state. It's about Hydro Quebec needing this route to put their energy into the southern states to make money and help them, not NH, not the USA. The question becomes clear when you delve deeper into Hydro Quebec and realize they want to succeed from Canada and become their own country and we the people of the USA would be helping them to do this by allowing them to monopolize our energy sources. Once they are in our country, which they are currently, they will begin to take control of our power sources and not only will NH rely on them, but many other parts of the United States will as well. We need to look more closely at this and truly decide if we want to rely on foreign countries for all of our energy sources...the mid-east and now Canada. Please look into their history within Canada and see what they have done to their own country, it is not very democratic and it is not very kind.
I am hoping you will take the time to look into this further and help notify citizens in the southern part of the state as well as our lawmakers about the other side of this project. The side that is not about a three year job promise or the millions in tax dollars, it is about the future of our state as well as the future of our country. The DOE has extended the comment phase into June, I believe. The more people they hear from the better. Please help me bring light to this project and have more people asking why?
Thank-you for your time and commitment to the people of NH.