State regulators have pushed back a decision on whether to approve the controversial Northern Pass project by nine months. The deadline for the decision has been set for September 30, 2017.
State statutes say applications to build major energy facilities should be completed within one year of the application's submission, which would mean the decision would be due in December of 2016. But that same law also says the committee can suspend that deadline if doing so is "in the public interest."
The state's Counsel for the Public - a branch of the Attorney General's office tasked with representing the public's interest - had argued in filings that the decision should be pushed to June of 2017, and opponents to the project had pushed for extending the deadline to November of 2017. They argued that the "unprecedented scale and scope" warranted an extended process, and deliberations of other, less complicated projects had been delayed in the past.
For its part, Northern Pass developer, Eversource, called the decision "disappointing." In a statement, president of Eversource New Hampshire, Bill Quinlan, said the company "will be evaluating our options for seeking reconsideration of this decision.”
The Northern Pass project is a $1.6 billion proposal that would connect hydroelectric dams in Quebec to the New England electricity markets. The proposed 192-mile power line was first announced in 2010.