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N.H. seeks deeper look by US at power line plan

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s congressional delegation has asked the federal Department of Energy to do a more rigorous review of a contentious proposal to build a 187-mile electric transmission line through the northern part of the state.

The senators and representatives, in a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, cite a change in the route of the proposed Northern Pass project and concerns they have heard from constituents.

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The delegation — Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat; Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican; and Representatives Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, both Democrats — also want to know if a federal environmental review can continue before the project’s backers demonstrate they can legally pursue construction on the new route.

The $1.4 billion project would transmit 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydroelectric power, enough to serve 1.2 million homes, from Hydro-Quebec into New England.

In June, project developers announced a new route that they said takes into account concerns raised over an earlier plan. The proposal has stirred criticism in the North Country, where foes argue that towers carrying the electricity south would damage the environment, reduce property values, and hurt tourism. Supporters counter that the power would reduce carbon emissions.

In a separate letter to US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the delegation asked for clarification about the terms of the Connecticut Lakes Headwater Conservation Easement Deed, which conserves land in Pittsburg, Clarksville, and Stewartstown.

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