If you thought Gov. Chris Sununu would drop his push Northern Pass after last year’s unanimous decision by the Site Evaluation Committee to deny a site certificate to Northern Pass, think again.

In the last two months of 2018 he tried unsuccessfully to put two people on the Site Evaluation Committee who were predisposed to support projects like Northern Pass, and his inaugural address last week included coded language in support of Northern Pass.

Tired as we all may be, if Gov. Sununu and Eversource won’t move on from Northern Pass, we need to remain vigilant and fight efforts to resuscitate this boondoggle.

Five years ago, motivated by the concern that the perspectives of local grassroots people would not be represented in the Site Evaluation Committee’s review of Northern Pass, the legislature passed legislation adding two “public members” of the SEC. As the sponsor of the legislation, former State Senator Jeanne Forrester, explained back in 2014, "the intent was to have someone at the grassroots level, like a planning commission member, a selectman, a zoning board member, who would represent the communities' best interest."

So, who does Gov. Sununu first nominate to be a public member of the SEC? A planning commission member? A selectman? A zoning board member? No, Gov. Sununu thought a consultant for electric utilities and other energy companies fit the public member role!

At the end of November, Gov. Sununu nominated Geoff Mitchell, a consultant with Brant Energy, which Mr. Mitchell founded 15 years ago. And guess which company is listed prominently on Brant Energy's client list? Eversource, the sole owner of Northern Pass. Fortunately, a majority of members of the Executive Council recognized that Mr. Mitchell was inappropriate for a public member position on the SEC and rejected his nomination in a 3-2 vote.

But Gov. Sununu was not going to give up his effort to stack the SEC. He immediately nominated a recently defeated State Representative who was an avowed supporter of Northern Pass, Michael Vose. In response to a Citizens Count candidate questionnaire in 2016, Vose stated, "I support the Northern Pass as currently proposed." Vose even wrote an op ed in support of Northern Pass that was published in the Concord Monitor. And in 2018 he championed legislation in the New Hampshire House that would make it easier for big projects like Northern Pass to get a site certificate and limit public participation in the SEC process. When Vose realized his nomination would be rejected by the Executive Council, he asked to have his nomination withdrawn the day before the Council was scheduled to vote.

Who gets appointed to the SEC matters. Northern Pass has appealed the SEC’s denial to the NH Supreme Court, and if the Court reverses the SEC and sends the case back for further action by the SEC, it will be members of the SEC sitting then, not the members who actually heard all the testimony and voted unanimously to reject Northern Pass, who would decide Northern Pass’s fate.

Since the vacancy on the SEC still exists, no doubt Gov. Sununu will soon try again to get a Northern Pass supporter on the SEC.

And we already know Eversource is working to overturn the SEC's decision before the NH Supreme Court as we speak.

His recent inaugural address made it clear he has not given up on Northern Pass. While he smartly, given the public’s opposition to Northern Pass, didn’t mention the stalled project by name, the six paragraphs he devoted to energy employed the coded language he routinely uses in his advocacy for Northern Pass.

Tired as we all may be, if Gov. Sununu and Eversource won’t move on from Northern Pass, we need to remain vigilant and fight efforts to resuscitate this boondoggle.