Newt Gingrich Supports Undergrounding in New Hampshire

One of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in the United States is talking about the importance of putting transmission lines underground. Newt Gingrich, former House of Representatives Speaker and one of the leading contenders to replace President Obama, addressed the issue today in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is a state with pristine natural beauty and where a controversial plan to build massive transmission lines to carry power across the border from Quebec is getting more and more attention. Like many of us here in Alberta, the people of New Hampshire worry that 130 foot transmission towers will be unsightly and will harm those in the surrounding area. Gingrich is now telling New Hampshire voters that “There will be no transmission towers if I’m president.”

Gingrich’s support for undergrounding has important implications for people on both sides of the border. In the United States, it may give Gingrich the boost he needs to beat fellow Republican Mitt Romney in the upcoming New Hampshire primary. Romney is highly favoured in New Hampshire, so an upset there could turn the primary campaign around and make Gingrich the front-runner again. If Gingrich wins the Republican nomination, he will have the opportunity to bring much more attention to the issue of electricity transmission and the opportunities associated with undergrounding.

In Canada, this means that electricity companies who want to export power to the United States will have to start taking undergrounding seriously instead of dismissing it out of hand. A major underground power project between Quebec and New Hampshire would bolster the case of groups like ours who are showing that putting lines underground is a safe and effective alternative to massive overhead towers.

Whether or not you like Gingrich, it is exciting to have such a prominent political leader talking about this important issue. Gingrich is a conservative Republican. Those who review the facts, on the right or on the left, generally agree that generating power closer to the source and burying transmission lines when they are needed is the sensible thing to do. Hopefully some Alberta politicians will be prepared to follow Gingrich’s lead.

~ by RETA on January 7, 2012.

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