Help Stop the CMP Maine-to-Mass Corridor!

Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of several transnational energy corporations, wants to develop the so-called New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) to move electricity from Canada to Massachusetts. The company claims that this will help to fight climate change. But there is compelling evidence that the project would actually worsen climate change while fragmenting vital Maine habitats, harming wildlife, discouraging tourism, displacing truly climate-friendly alternatives, and devastate ecosystems and native peoples in Canada.

 
Wilton, ME voters oppose CMP project (credit: Franklin Journal)

Wilton, ME voters oppose CMP project (credit: Franklin Journal)

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. Speak at April 2 public hearing. The Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hear testimony on the project’s impacts on scenic character and current uses in the region. At UMaine at Farmington, April 2, 6 pm.

2. Speak at April 4 public hearing. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will hear testimony on the project’s impacts on the environment (including endangered species, brook trout, wildlife habitat, forests, wetlands, and rivers); scenic character and existing uses; and whether CMP’s compensation and mitigation plan is adequate to compensate for impacts on Maine’s environment. At UMaine at Farmington, April 4, 6 pm.

3. Submit comments. If you cannot attend either of the public hearings, you can email comments to DEP@maine.gov. Talk about personal experiences you have had in the areas that would be harmed by the corridor, your thoughts on the concerns listed below, and your position on the project.

4. Support LD 640 study bill. This bill requires the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to assess all evidence on the net effect on greenhouse gas emissions from the NECEC project and submit a report by June 1. Email comments to EUT@legislature.maine.gov.

This map shows the interconnectedness of the forests in New England and Canada, and the high value of the area where Central Maine Power wants to clearcut a transmission corridor. (credit: The Nature Conservancy)

This map shows the interconnectedness of the forests in New England and Canada, and the high value of the area where Central Maine Power wants to clearcut a transmission corridor. (credit: The Nature Conservancy)

WHAT IS PROPOSED?

The project would:

• Build a 145-mile high-voltage power line in Maine from the Canada border to Lewiston.

• Slash 53 miles of new corridor through Maine forest lands that would be 150 feet wide plus 75 feet on each side for a possible second line later. 

• Erect up to 850 single-pole towers, each 80 to 100 feet tall, along the route. Roughly 390 of the poles would be located in the new-cut corridor.

• Cross the Kennebec River Gorge, the Appalachian Trail, 263 wetlands, 115 streams, 12 inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat areas, and numerous trout streams and deer wintering yards.

• Include a 26.5-mile power corridor between Windsor and the Maine Yankee substation in Wiscasset.CMP needs permits from numerous state and federal agencies, including the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and Maine Land Use Planning Commission.

There is broad opposition to NECEC. Thousands of citizens, and dozens of organizations, communities, and elected officials oppose NECEC. In addition to RESTORE, environmental groups opposed include the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Forest Ecology Network. The Nature Conservancy and Maine Audubon have said, “CMP has not done nearly enough to address impacts to wildlife habitat.” More than a dozen Maine lawmakers from both political parties oppose NECEC. Sen. Mark Lawrence, Democratic chair of the Legislature's Energy Committee, says, “It's time the PUC puts a stop to this.” Republican Sen. Paul Davis says, "This is a bad deal, pure and simple.” New Hampshire has rejected a comparable project.

Transmission towers through a clearcut (credit: Portland Press Herald)

Transmission towers through a clearcut (credit: Portland Press Herald)

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS WITH THE NECEC PROJECT?

• Climate change worsened. CMP says the project will help address climate change impacts in New England, but there is no guarantee of that. It may increase atmospheric pollution and make climate change worse. At a minimum, the climate impacts should be studied by independent experts. An MIT earth sciences professor says that claims the electricity from Hydro-Quebec is produced with none of the carbon emissions blamed for global warming "is dead wrong, directly contradicted by scientific research.” The Conservation Law Foundation has said that Hydro-Quebec uses “faulty math” and that its calculations about greenhouse gas reductions are "profoundly misleading."

• Habitat fragmented. Massive towers and electrical wires would bisect and fragment wildlife habitat across more than 50 miles of the globally significant Maine Woods. The Nature Conservancy and Maine Audubon estimate that 75,000-100,000 acres of permanently protected forest would be needed to compensate for the project’s habitat fragmentation impacts, but CMP has offered only a tiny fraction of that as mitigation.

• Wildlife threatened. The power line would harm wetlands, vernal pools, and trout streams. It could block deer from winter shelter and feeding areas. It could also set the stage for the rejected East-West highway and utility corridor that would cut across Maine.

• Tourism hurt. The power line would have adverse scenic impacts impacts on tourism, which is essential to Maine’s economy. It would cross the scenic Kennebec River Gorge and the world-renowned Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

• Real clean energy projects undermined. dumping a huge amount of Canadian hydropower onto the New England electricity grid can crowd out opportunities for new clean energy developments. 

• Devastation in Canada. The gigantic dam projects developed by Hydro-Quebec have destroyed the traditional subsistence lives of native peoples, flooded thousands of square miles of forest, wiped out wild rivers, and resulted in the death of thousands of caribou, salmon, and other wildlife.

• Follow the money. Authorities estimate that foreign corporations would reap billions of dollars in profit from NECEC. Maine homeowners and businesses would get a few pennies per month off their electric bill.