Eminent Domain, Northern Pass Enter New Hampshire Republican Debate

One of the more lively parts of Saturday night's Republican debate were the interactions between candidates Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and the audience who booed Trump. But it hid a more serious matter—the use of eminent domain for the Northern Pass.
February 8, 2016, 8am PST | Irvin Dawid
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According to the project overview, "Northern Pass is a 192-mile transmission line project that will bring 1,090 megawatts (MW) of clean, affordable energy from Hydro-Québec’s world-class hydroelectric plants in Canada to New Hampshire and to the rest of New England." StateImpact calls it "a highly controversial proposal." Opponents have unwisely been labeled "NIMBYs", according to a 2014 Planetizen post.

Trump was asked by WMUR-TV anchor Josh McElveen, one of ABC's moderators during the debate, "Do you see eminent domain as an appropriate tool to get that done?"

After a long explanation as to why eminent domain is good for country, Trump answered 'yes'. That response could cause Trump some votes in Tuesday's primary, as there is overwhelming opposition to its use in this project across the political spectrum, reported the Concord Monitor in 2012.

However, while the future of the project is unsettled, the use of eminent domain was taken off the table by the legislature. "In 2012, former governor John Lynch (D) signed a law blocking utility companies from using eminent domain for certain projects, a law aimed at the contentious Northern Pass project, which seeks to string power lines from Quebec through New Hampshire, connecting a Canadian hydroelectric plant to New England’s power grid," reported the Washington Post on Jan. 26.

Bush and Trump also debated the use of eminent domain in the Keystone XL pipeline.

TRUMP to Bush: Eminent domain, the Keystone pipeline — do you consider that a private job? 

BUSH: I consider it a public use.

The two go back and forth on that. Actually, it's a private job for what can be viewed as a public use, i.e., they were both right.

Notwithstanding the serious nature of eminent domain, the Northern Pass, and Keystone XL, the exchange was rather comical, with Trump telling Bush to be "quiet" numerous times, that he was trying to be a "tough guy," with Bush responding, "How tough it is to take away property from an elderly woman?" referring to Trump's use of eminent domain in his role as a developer in Atlantic City, N.J. in the 1990s (posted here).

And when the audience booed Trump for being a bully, he pounced on them, accusing them of being "all of (Bush's) donors and special interests out there."

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Published on Saturday, February 6, 2016 in Raw Story
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