The Leagues of NH, VT, ME, and RI have worked together for a number of years on regional issues. The spring 2014 conference focused on energy, its production and transmission in New England.
LWVNH will continue to follow energy issues as they affect our state and the entire New England region.
Right now, before he leaves office, President Obama has a unique opportunity to safeguard our climate, our children's health and our coasts by permanently protecting the outer continental shelf of the U.S. Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil and gas leasing.
Preserving and protecting the Arctic and Atlantic is an important step in fulfilling America's commitment to stopping climate change. Keeping the oil industry from expanding offshore drilling will continue to move America towards a clean energy economy and away from the fossil fuel business.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced public hearings to receive comments on the Draft EIS (DOE/EIS+0463) and the Supplement to the Draft EIS (DOE/EIS+0463-S1). The Draft EIS and the Supplement to the Draft EIS evaluate the potential environmental impacts of DOE's proposed Federal action of issuing a Presidential permit to Northern Pass LLC (the Applicant) to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S./Canada border in northern New Hampshire.
The public comment period on the Draft EIS started on July 31, 2015, with the publication in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of its Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS, and the public comment period on the Supplement began on November 20, 2015 with publication in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of its Notice of Availability of the Supplement to the Draft EIS. The U.S. Forest Service + White Mountain National Forest, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers + New England District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency + Region 1, and the New Hampshire (NH) Office of Energy and Planning are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.
The Draft EIS addresses potential environmental impacts of the proposed action, the no action alternative, and the range of reasonable alternatives.
The current public comment period to receive comments on the Draft and the Supplement to the Draft EIS closed April 04, 2016.
In addition to comments on the Draft EIS and Supplement to the Draft EIS, DOE is seeking public input with respect to the cultural and historic property information presented in this Draft EIS in accordance with its cultural and historic property review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The documents are available online at http://www.northernpasseis.us/. Copies of the Draft EIS and the Supplement to the Draft EIS are also available at a number of public libraries and town halls (a list of locations is found here: http://media.northernpasseis.us/media/DraftEIS_Hard_Copy_Locations.pdf).
March 26, 2015: US Senate Passes Bipartisan Energy Bill (authored by Sen. Shaheen and Sen. Rob Portman) that Includes Sen. Ayotte's "Better Buildings Act"
The U.S. Senate approved bipartisan legislation - the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act - that is aimed at boosting energy efficiency across the public and private sectors. The bill, authored by Senators Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen, includes a bipartisan provision authored by Sen. Ayotte and Senator Michael Bennet that encourages tenants of commercial buildings to implement cost-effective measures to help reduce energy consumption and utility costs for businesses.
The legislation incorporates language from an Ayotte stand-alone bill - the "Better Buildings Act" - that seeks to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings by encouraging tenants to voluntarily implement cost-effective measures to reduce energy consumption and utility costs. The legislation would create a new voluntary "Tenant Star" certification to recognize tenants who operate energy efficient leased spaces. It's estimated that tenants use 50 percent or more of the energy in all office buildings.
January 17, 2015: In response to concerns from New Hampshire residents, Senator Ayotte and Senator Shaheen, and Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Frank Guinta (R-NH) are calling for an open and transparent process to allow more time for citizens to express views before any final decision is made regarding the route for Kinder Morgan's proposed Northeast Energy Direct Project. In letters to Kinder Morgan Public Affairs Director Allen Fore and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, the delegation urged Kinder Morgan and regulators to allow Granite Staters ample opportunity to express their views about the proposed pipeline, and work with all stakeholders to address the concerns of affected communities as the permitting process for the project continues.
November 23, 2014: Two articles in the Sunday News report on the proposed gas pipeline, which is now under consideration as passing through 17 southern NH towns, mostly along existing power line rights-of-way. This is now the primary route being considered by the gas company, and if accomplished would potentially bring gas to 65,000 NH homes.
March 26, 2014: Governors' agreement re transmission of hydropower from Canada to southern NH via underground pipes. Download the pdf
December 2013--New England's Governors today committed their six states to an energy initiative designed to bring affordable, cleaner, and more reliable power to homes and businesses across the northeast. This initiative will accelerate regional cooperation on expanding renewable energy and energy infrastructure in New England. In the joint statement, the Governors are committing to more thoughtful and strategic investments focused on expanding the region's energy portfolio. Regional expansion will bring New England lower electricity and heating costs, increased economic development, competitiveness and job growth, and improved air quality through a reduction in harmful air emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Read the full article
Check out this website for news about the request for information filed in each of the New England states regarding the governors' Dec. 2013 agreement. <http://www.clf.org/newsroom/clf-freedom-information-requests-seek-bring-transperancy-new-england-governors-regional-energy-strategy/>
On September 2, 2014, the Office of Energy and Planning released the final version of their plan at this website: http://www.nh.gov/oep/energy/programs/SB191.htm
On May 1, 2014, OEP released a Draft State Energy Strategy. In June and July they hosted seven public meetings around the state to seek public input on that draft. Download the pdf of the position statement the League submitted as part of that public input in July 2014
States participating in 2014 were NH, VT, Maine, RI, and new this year, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
With energy production and distribution currently "hot topics," this year's subject was Energy and Energy Efficiency. The New England Governors in December signed a compact agreeing to work together to solve the region's energy issues. The Governors are committed to working toward a regional goal of lowering electricity and heating costs and expanding their [energy] portfolios. This announcement contributed to our choosing this topic for our 2014 conference.
Our keynote speakers included Jack Cashman, former head of Maine's Public Utilities Commission, who explained how ISO-NE* works in relation to the states' various Public Utilities Commissions. Lea Aeschliman, a past League member and former chair of the NH Public Utilities Commission, helped us understand more about the current status of RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), a regional initiative by states and provinces in the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada regions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Also leading one of our workshops was a Maine League member who serves on LWVUS Climate Change Task Force. Pam Person helped us understand the LWVUS work on climate and energy and how state and local Leagues can take action.
We thank the LWVNH Education Fund for a grant to support NH attendance at the conference this year.
A synopsis of what we learned is posted below.