On May 15, 2019, the New Hampshire Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the appeal of Northern Pass. The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (“SEC”) denied the application to build the 192-mile electric transmission line across the state from the Canadian border down to the Massachusetts border in February, 2018. Each side will get 50 minutes to present their argument for or against the decision by the SEC, the Court will then determine if the SEC decision was proper and either uphold the decision or remand, meaning return, the case to the SEC for re-evaluation.
The SEC application is a capstone of the numerous permits and reviews that must occur when an energy project is proposed. Comprised of the commissioners of five State agencies and a pool of five members of the public, the SEC reviews a proposed energy project in its entirety to determine a number of requirements including applicant’s ability to construct and manage the project, the project will not unduly interfere with regional development, will not have unreasonable adverse effects on “aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety”, and the project will serve the public interest. RSA 162-H:16, IV. Below is the statutory timeline of an application to the SEC, based on a hypothetical project intended for submission in December, 2019.
|Publication of notice of Public Information session||At least 14 days prior to session||October 19, 2019||Notice must be published in newspaper with regular circulation in each county|
|Provide notice of Public Information session to each municipality where project located||At least 14 days prior to session||October 19, 2019||By first class mail|
|Provide notice of Public Information session to SEC||At least 10 days prior to session||October 23, 2019||Also provide proof of publication|
|Public Information session||At least 30 days prior to filing||November 2, 2019||At least one session in each county that will be affected by the project; session must be transcribed and transcript shall be included in application|
|Application filed with SEC||None||December 2, 2019||Must comply with RSA 162-H and Site 301|
|SEC accepts or rejects application||Within 60 days of filing||January 31, 2020|
|Second Public Information session||Within 45 days after acceptance||March 16, 2020||Depends on date of acceptance; At least one session in each county; same notice requirements as first session; SEC acts as presiding officer|
|Joint Public Hearing with SEC||Within 90 days after acceptance||April 30, 2020||Depends on date of acceptance; At least one session in each county; same notice requirements as info sessions except SEC sends notice to municipalities; SEC members present|
|Final decision on merits||Within 365 days after acceptance||January 30, 2021||Depends on date of acceptance|