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Northern Pass 
Suit Dismissed 
By N.H. Judge

Saturday, November 08, 2014
Concord — A Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit by two business owners who said the mere introduction of the Northern Pass project threatened their business.

Tom Mullen and Walter Lankau Jr., co-owners of Owl’s Nest Resort and Golf Club in northern New Hampshire, sued Northern Pass last year seeking damages and a jury trial. The pair claimed that once the proposed transmission project was announced in 2010, sales plummeted and their business faced bankruptcy. It was the first major lawsuit filed against the project.

A Grafton County Superior Court judge dismissed the suit in late October and the businessmen have since requested a reconsideration. If that fails, the pair plan to appeal that decision.

“It’s a classic David and Goliath struggle,” Mullen said. “We certainly hope to recover some of the losses we have experienced.”

Martin Murray, a spokesman for Public Service of New Hampshire that is affiliated with Northern Pass, declined to comment on the case because he hadn’t yet seen the reconsideration.

The Northern Pass project proposes to run 187 miles of transmission lines through New Hampshire to bring Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid.

The controversial project has faced push back from a variety of groups, ranging from environmentalists to landowners, who have said the utility towers will mar the state’s landscape.

PSNH power lines already cross more than 7,000 feet of the Owl’s Nest property in Campton and Thornton. Those existing utility poles are shorter than the proposed the Northern Pass lines, which would pass along the same corridor through the property, Mullen said.

The Owl’s Nest property faces a foreclosure sale next week, Mullen said.

“Because of our inability to sell real estate, we have been unable to keep our bank loans current,” he said. “We stand to lose everything we have worked hard for 18 years for.”

Northern Pass faces no other pending lawsuits, Murray said.

The transmission project needs both federal and local approval before it can be constructed.

Officials expected a draft environmental impact statement, part of the federal permitting process, to be released by the end of the year. Now, they anticipate the Department of Energy will publish the document in March.

During a Northeast Utilities investor call this morning, executive Vice President Lee Olivier said he thinks the company can come to a “consensus agreement” on Northern Pass with government and key stakeholder support within the first half of 2015.




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