LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) — Northern Pass announced Monday it is creating a $7.5 million fund to add jobs in New Hampshire's North Country once construction on its 187-mile transmission line begins.
The jobs created would be separate from the 1,200 jobs statewide that are expected during the construction of Northern Pass, a proposed privately funded power line originating in northern New Hampshire that will transmit 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec into New England.
"It is absolutely essential that we create real, full-time jobs here in the North Country," John Gallus of Berlin, a real estate agent and former state senator, said in a statement. He made the announcement along with Gary Long representing Northern Pass, Allen Bouthillier of A.B. Logging and Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier.
"This fund must be controlled by local residents who are best positioned to know where investments should be made to help create jobs," Gallus said.
An advisory group of local business, economic development and elected officials will decide how the money is invested. The focus will be supporting existing businesses in Coos County that are expanding or renovating and to help attract new businesses to the state's poorest county.
"Over the years, a lot of money meant to help businesses sustain or create jobs is lost in writing studies and other efforts that don't actually create jobs for the people here. The unique aspect of this fund is that it will help assure that the jobs it creates are held by people here in the North Country," said Bouthillier.
The Northern Pass project has faced intense criticism in the state's North Country, where opponents argue towers carrying the electricity south would damage the environment, lower property values and hurt tourism.
Supporters counter that the power would reduce carbon emissions.
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