Conservationists Battle For Land Sought By Northern Pass

Robert Hruzek

Conservationists and Northern Pass Are Vying for the Same Land

The Union Leader reports that donations poured in online over the holiday weekend to the conservation group, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, to buy 5,800 acres from the Balsams Wilderness Resort. The paper reports that the group received more than 100 online contributions to help raise $850,000 to buy the land.

The parcel includes an area which Northern Pass Transmission, LLC, hopes to purchase to build its power lines.

It’s the latest move in a back-and-forth with high stakes — owners of Northern Pass say the massive energy project will bring needed jobs to the financially ailing North Country, while environmentalists object to the proposed power lines. They say lines cutting through the northern woods and the White Mountain National Forest will hurt the habitat and create greenhouse gases from submerged rotting vegetation.

The Union Leader has more on the sale:

Northern Pass Transmission, LLC, had offered $3 million for the right-of-way to the Neil Tillotson Trust for the land surrounding the Balsams Resort, but trustees decided in favor of the Forest Society, signing a purchase-and-sales agreement Dec. 6.

Northern Pass challenged the deal, but the Attorney General’s Office responded that the trustees were acting within their right.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has until January 15th to raise the money needed for the deal.

The renewable power that the project would provide for New England is attractive to utilities and some state lawmakers. But many residents object to giving up their land to make way for the lines.

If Northern Pass owners cannot gain access to the Balsams land, it’s not clear whether their $1.1 billion hydro-power transmission project would be derailed.


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