DES Proposes Conditions For Burying Eversource's Seacoast Power Line

Mar 6, 2018

The DES reservations about the Seacoast Reliability Project center on its underwater portion, shown here in green beneath Little Bay.
Credit Eversource

The Department of Environmental Services has finished a long-awaited report on a Seacoast power line proposal from Eversource.

The DES is recommending the state Site Evaluation Committee approve the 13-mile reliability project – with conditions.

Those center on the potential water quality and sediment effects of Eversource’s plan to bury nearly a mile of cable under Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Before the state decides whether to permit the project, DES wants Eversource to test its proposed method, which involves blowing a trench across the bay bottom.

The agency also wants more analysis of an alternative, which would drill under the bay instead.

(Read DES’s full recommendations to the SEC.)

Durham town manager Todd Selig initially helped devise those conditions.

“We’re hopeful it will result in a good project, in the end, that does not harm the environment, that is thoughtful about the scenic impacts … and at the same time ensure the region has the power it needs,” he says.

Eversource spokeswoman Kaitlyn Woods says in a statement that the utility is still reviewing the DES report.

“We remain committed to a construction plan that minimizes impacts on all environmental resources, including marine resources in Little Bay,” she says.

The next Site Evaluation Committee hearing on the Seacoast project is set for March 14.