Canada's National Energy Board last week released decisions on two objections to the proposed route of NB Power Transmission Corporations' (NB Power) International Power Line from Point Lepreau to St. Stephen, New Brunswick. In both cases, the board denied the objections of landowners who had opposed the route and decided that NB Power's route is the best possible route for the international power line.

The board held hearings in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, on May 9, 2005, in response to written objections from Frederick Tuddenham of St. Stephen and Albert Stevens of Canal, N.B.

Frederick P. Tuddenham, a landowner and local blueberry farmer, objected to NB Power's proposed detailed route as it would divide his property into two parcels and make ATV and snowmobile access easier from the adjacent road. Tuddenham submitted that ATV access could cause significant damage to planned blueberry crops. The board is of the view that the mitigative measures and commitments made by NB Power during the course of the proceedings and the conditions attached to the approval would act to minimize the potential for damage to the proposed blueberry lands.

Albert A.B. Stevens objected to NB Power's proposed detailed route as it would adversely affect wildlife in the area by taking away shelter and food source. Stevens was concerned that removing forest cover for the proposed 50-meter right of way through his property would reduce what little existing forest is left in the area. The board is of the view that the evidence in support of Stevens' objection regarding potential impact on wildlife did not raise a doubt regarding the appropriateness of the proposed route.

The board issued a certificate to NB Power in the fall of 2003 approving the construction and operation of the 95.5 kilometer, 345-kV international power line from the existing transmission terminal at the Point Lepreau Generating Station to a point on the Maine-New Brunswick border west of St. Stephen, N.B. This followed a public hearing in Saint John, N.B in March 2003 and an environmental assessment of the project.

NB Power subsequently applied to the board for approval of plans showing the proposed detailed route of the international power line. The company sent notices to owners of lands proposed to be acquired and published notices in newspapers in the vicinity of the proposed detailed route. Landowners had 30 days in which to file an objection with the board. The board received eight objections from landowners but six landowners withdrew their objections prior to the hearing.