Thursday, February 9, 2012

Legislative Call to Action= HB648 now going to the Governor, please immediately ask the Governor to approve the bill.

Legislative Call to Action= We’re close to a victory with HB648 now going to the Governor, please immediately ask the Governor to approve the bill.

HB648 has now passed both House & Senate and is on its way to the Governor.
This is the bill that protects individual’s real estate property rights from being taken by eminent domain of “for profit” utility companies.

Please contact the governor’s office, 271-2121, or
And ask him to approve the bill.

More below in case you want the full detail from previous legislative emails.

Love & Light,
Nick Norman
RPOA Director of Legislative Affairs
Title: (3rd New Title) relative to eminent domain by public utilities and establishing a commission to investigate the procedural rights of the landowner when a petition is presented to the public utilities commission by a utility seeking eminent domain, develop a framework for the state to provide use rights to transmission developers on state owned rights-of-way, develop policies to encourage burying such lines where practicable, and establish a structure for payment.

Summary: This bill with newest amendments prevents private business from taking property by utility eminent domain.

To protect property rights:
The property owners involved highly recommend the Bragdon-Forrester Amendment (which passed) they feel the DeBlois-Bradley amendment may leave a loop hole for private business to reorganize themselves as a public entity and still take the property by eminent domain.

Property Owner Position: Support as Amended

Link to Bill Text:
Analysis Stated in Bill: This bill prohibits public utilities from petitioning for permission to take private land or property rights for the construction or operation of certain transmission facilities.

Talking Points:
There was a newspaper article from Senators Forrester & DeBlois protecting private property rights from threat of eminent domain by a private developer or project. I can send you a copy if you want.

Notes from Nick’s conversation with Senator Tom DeBlois.

This relates to the Northern Pass project.
Hydro Quebec is a private development company aiming to install a high power transmission line from Canada, through the NH White Mountains and tying into the electric grid futher down in NH.

They have the ability to use existing PSNH easements for a large part of the transmission length. However there is a 40 mile length of land missing.

There is a lot of debate over this project with many many bills on eminent domain in the legislature this season. A large amount of the debate is over having huge 80 to 135 towers as a blight on the NH mountains or to put the cable under ground. It is also said that PSNH would receive $50 million annually for leasing its land to Hydro Quebec.

We have not heard all sides on this issue but have heard enough to recognize that it is bumping up against NH constitution article 12a relating to individual’s property rights.

Did you know that under present NH law a private utility company can forcefully take an individuals property using its own eminent domain procedure separate from the government procedure for eminent domain?

Right now NH generates more power than it needs and exports to the grid. So we don’t need or would we receive this power now.

2 power plants in MA & one on Vermont will go off grid in the next few years. 1 is in Marlboro, MA another near the cape in MA, and also Vermont Yankee or course in Vermont.

Some believe the Northern Pass project will end up financially benefiting NH eventually but probably not right away. I encourage all of us to learn more about this project.

There are other solutions to the Northern Pass project, none of which we are well versed on yet. One is to bury the cable, another is to bury the cable along I93 so NH could receive the $50 million. Burying the cable is said to eliminate electromagnetic health risks entirely and though it would likely be more expensive initially it would save future repair and maintenance cost of tower and above ground transmission lines.

We have not heard enough yet to take a strong position on the Northern Pass project. However, we feel it is inherently wrong that a private for profit business entity could use eminent domain to take other’s property for their own profit.

We therefore strongly urge you to contact the entire senate body (only 24) and urge them to protect NH private property rights by voting for SB648 as amended to protect NH private property rights from eminent domain procedures of private business.

Below is an email from a one of the affected property owners and speaking out against the utility eminent domain procedure.

Hi Nick,

I enjoyed meeting you and the other Rotarians.

As I explained yesterday, we oppose the Northern Pass Project as it is proposed to be on Steel Towers, 85 to 135 feet tall every 800 to 1,000 feet for 180 miles through NH.

We want PSNH to bury the cables as is being done or proposed in many, many projects worldwide, including in New York State, Connecticut, and Maine.

The evils of the above-ground cables include:

1) increased chances of childhood leukemia and neurotransmitters and pacemakers fail to work within 100 feet of towers
2) destruction of property values
3) inability to get mortgages or reverse mortgages
4) higher maintenance costs for cables on towers
5) subject to ice storm damage as well as damage from lightening.
6) destruction of vistas and scarring of the White Mountain National Forest
7) will require the use of eminent domain

Thank you for your help and your concern,
Mike Marino said you could send question for further info to him at

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