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Posted 6/14/2016

Release no. 2016-054


Contact
Tim Dugan
978-318-8264
cenae-pa@usace.army.mil

CONCORD, Mass. – Northern Pass Transmission, LLC and Public Service Company of New Hampshire (doing business as Eversource Energy) are seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to impact waters of the U.S. in conjunction with proposed work on the Northern Pass Project in New Hampshire.

 

This work is proposed in various wetlands and waters of the U.S. for 192 miles from Pittsburg, New Hampshire, along a linear line to Deerfield, New Hampshire. Various alternative routes are being considered at this time.

 

The proposed work involves both direct permanent and temporary discharges of dredged or fill material into various wetlands and waters of the U.S. along the proposed route. The direct permanent discharge is approximately 2.53 acres while the direct temporary discharge is approximately 140 acres. The secondary impacts such as converting forested wetlands to scrub shrub wetlands total approximately 182 acres. Project planning and design have attempted to avoid and minimize impacts to rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, floodplains and wetlands.

 

The Department of Energy (DOE) has required an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the most recent proposed route for the Northern Pass presidential permit application. The EIS review covers the entire 192-mile-long project. The Corps is a cooperating agency with the DOE, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources since the March 2011 public scoping hearings. The DOE public scoping comment period for the Northern Pass Project has remained open almost continuously since October 2010. (DOE received a permit application in October 2010).

 

Specific up-to-date information concerning project plans, alternative routes, historical review, and potential project impacts can be found at: http://www.northernpasseis.us/library/documents or at

http://www.northernpass.us/state-filing-documents.htm.

 

Contact information for additional public comment concerning Northern Pass to the SEC and DOE is:

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator, 21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10, Concord, NH 03301-2429, email pamela.monroe@nh.gov; or

 

Brian Mills, Senior Planning Advisor Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC 20585, email brian.mills@hq.doe.gov or info@northernpasseis.us.

 

After the DOE publishes the final EIS and the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee finalizes their review, the Corps will finalize their agency actions within their legal authorities from the information gathered while participating in those processes.

 

Discharges to, and fills within, waters of the U.S. will typically result from these project activities: temporary use of timber mats for access routes across wetlands and watercourses; improvement of existing access roads and installation of temporary access roads across wetlands and watercourses; installation of temporary “work pads” (e.g. crane pads) required to safety support and stage construction equipment; installation of new and relocated transmission line and distribution structures; installation of underground transmission line cables; construction of facilities to transition new transmission line between overhead and underground configurations; construction of station to convert  between a DC transmission line and an AC transmission line; and expansion of existing substation yards.  

 

The project will indirectly impact approximately 122 acres of historically accessible areas of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for migrating Atlantic salmon. The main potential impact to fish habitat is vegetation clearing. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect Atlantic salmon. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.

 

The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by Northern Pass Transmission, LLC and Public Service Company of New Hampshire, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.

 

The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S.; and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands

 

Public comments on the potential impacts to wetlands and waters of the U.S. of the proposed work by Northern Pass Transmission, LLC and Public Service Company of New Hampshire (File # NAE-2013-02188) should be forwarded no later than July 16, 2016 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: David Keddell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager David Keddell at 978-318-8692 or by email to: david.m.keddell@usace.army.mil.