Northern Pass’s developer has a long track record of public statements attributing the deep New Hampshire opposition to the current proposal to the go-to developer bogeyman – “not in my backyard” obstructionism. Accusing critics of short-sighted “NIMBYism” is even part of Northern Pass’s expensive marketing campaign (which suffers from other deliberately false and misleading claims). Continuing this tradition, the CEO of the developer’s parent company recently derided opponents as “special interests.”
This is loaded, derogatory rhetoric, and exactly the wrong frame for having any constructive dialogue with the New Hampshire communities that face living with the project’s major new infrastructure, as I argued on NHPR last year. And on a personal level, after nearly a year and a half of advocacy on the Northern Pass project, I can say with certainty that the New Hampshire opponents of the current proposal don’t fit the caricature. Those with backyards that would be affected are indeed concerned about their homes, but also about the broader issues of whether the project will benefit their communities, New Hampshire, and the region. Like CLF, they aren’t seeing meaningful public benefits that would make the burdens of the project worth bearing.