North Country
11:21 am
Fri November 22, 2013

SEC Public Meetings: Should Citizens Have A Role In Approving Utility Projects?

A series of public meetings begin the first week in December to determine what changes, if any, should be made to how the state’s Site Evaluation Committee works, including whether the public should have a decision-making role in approving new utility projects.

The SEC reviews major utility projects, which will include Northern Pass.

Currently the SEC has fifteen members, all from state agencies.

Earlier this year Gov. Maggie Hassan signed Senate Bill 99. It calls for a review of how the Site Evaluation Committee works, with a report due at the end of December.

The state’s Office of Energy and Planning will hold three public listening sessions, the first on December 2nd in Colebrook with others later in Lebanon and Plymouth.

There will also be five more formal, interactive workshops.

The first is December 3rd in Manchester.

All are open to the public.

Some Northern Pass opponents are hoping that reshaping how the SEC works including giving residents more input to SEC decisions may prevent the hydro-electric transmission line from being built as it is currently proposed.  The SEC must approve the project for it to be built.

Listening Sessions

The listening sessions are for those who can’t participate in a workshop or who wish to provide more general public input on the siting process.

Each session will begin at 6:00 pm and registration is not required.

Listening Sessions dates and locations are:

•December 2, 2013 – Colebrook Elementary School, 27 Dumont Street, Colebrook

•December 11, 1203 – Lebanon City Council Chambers, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon

•December 17, 2013 – Plymouth State University Welcome Center/Ice Arena, 129 NH Route 175A (Holderness Road), Plymouth, NH 03245

Interactive Workshops

Each workshop will include brief presentations on the current SEC process, challenges and alternatives; discussions with other citizens; and polling on preferred changes.

Participants can also provide additional comments directly to the NH Office of Energy and Planning at the end of the workshop, or via email any time.

Space is limited to 150-200 people depending on the site. Participants must pre-register in order to participate. Registration is available here.

Workshops begin with sign-in at 5:00 PM, begin at 6:00 PM and will end at approximately 9:30 PM.

* December 3, 2013 at the Manchester Memorial High School Cafeteria in Manchester

* December 4, 2013 at the Groveton High School Gymnasium in Groveton

* December 5, 2013 at the Keene Recreation Center in Keene

* December 9, 2013 at the Town of Newington Main Hall in Newington

* December 10, 2013. Plymouth Regional High School in Plymouth.

For more information including initial reports and summaries go here.