Conservation Law Foundation

A U.S. Department of Energy official has told Senator Jeanne Shaheen that the federal agency did nothing wrong in approving several contractors to work on the Northern Pass project, dismissing allegations to the contrary from the Conservation Law Foundation.

Shaheen wrote the DOE in mid-October saying she was concerned about allegations made by the foundation.

The CLF said it used the Freedom-of-Information Act to obtain a series of emails between the federal agency and a lawyer for Northern Pass.

Nine organizations have joined the Conservation Law Foundation in asking that the U.S. Department of Energy fire the firms selected to conduct an environmental impact statement on the Northern Pass project because of a conflict-of-interest.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Earlier this month the Conservation Law Foundation released emails it forced the  Department of Energy to hand over under the Freedom of Information Act.

The U.S. Department of Energy did nothing wrong in hiring three consultants recommended by Northern Pass, said a spokeswoman for the agency.

Wednesday the Conservation Law Foundation said documents it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showed a lawyer for Northern Pass recommended the firms to conduct a crucial environmental impact statement.

And the agency wrongly hired them.

The environmental impact statement is a pivotal part of the agency’s consideration of whether to grant Northern Pass a Presidential Permit.

The Conservation Law Foundation says the U.S. Department of Energy made a serious mistake by again allowing Northern Pass to help pick the consultants responsible for the crucial environmental impact statement.

“The concern is that the integrity of the federal review is at great risk,” Christophe Courchesne, a lawyer at the foundation, said Wednesday.

The DOE did not respond to the issue raised by the foundation.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The decisions on whether the controversial Northern Pass hydro-electric project goes ahead will be made by state and federal agencies. But a single person will make a crucial decision.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

Representatives of five New Hampshire towns say the Environmental Protection Agency is imposing wastewater limits on the Great Bay that are a financial burden. They made their case to two members of the Congressional Committee on Oversight at a field hearing held in Exeter Monday. While towns and regulators haggle over the cost of improving waste water treatment, time may be running out for the Great Bay estuary.

A Contentious Issue

Flikr Creative Commons / gdahlman

 

The Conservation Law Foundation has asked to help defend the Department of Environmental Services in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of Great Bay area communities.

The suit is an attempt to block rules that would require the towns to upgrade their wastewater treatment plants.

The CLF’s Director, Tom Irwin, says the suit is a stalling tactic, aimed to delay measures needed to help the Great Bay recover its health.

 

The Conservation Law Foundation has joined in a request that newly appointed Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Harrington be disqualified from hearing a case involving the Merrimack  Station powerplant because it feels there is a conflict of interest involving Public Service of New Hampshire.

The issue is that Harrington has a pension from Northeast Utilities, the parent company of PSNH, which routinely goes before the three-member commission.