Nov 11, 2014 5:30 PM

Gov. Maggie Hassan backs down, pulls controversial nominees to energy siting panel

When it comes to fighting opponents of wind farms, Gov. Maggie Hassan decided Tuesday it was better to switch than to fight.

A few weeks after vowing to fight on, Hassan politically threw in the towel and said she would today withdraw her two nominees to a newly-revamped Energy Siting Selection Committee.

Hassan had nominated two popular lawmakers who were retiring at year's end to serve as "public members'' on the committee that is charged with approving all permitted projects.

Last spring the Legislature changed this committee to try and make it more productive and more powerful. Hassan signed legislation reducing its members and also giving it a broader reach as it reviews energy projects.

Sen. Robert Odell, R-Lempster, and State Rep. Amanda Merrill, D-Durham, were both popular choices among legislative leaders from both parties.

But wind farm opponents said both too often worked with utility company executives on compromise legislation to their liking, and that Hassan should not be putting in these spots seasoned politicians.

Hassan's about-face means she must find two new appointees and will have to start over in the confirmation process.


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