Home Environment & Climate News Plan to Block International Hydropower Project Inching Toward Ballot in Maine

Plan to Block International Hydropower Project Inching Toward Ballot in Maine

By Christian Wade

(The Center Square) – A proposal that seeks to block a 145-mile hydropower transmission line that would cut through Maine’s pristine forests is inching toward the November ballot.

On Monday, Secretary of State Shenna Bellow’s office certified more than 80,000 signatures turned in by opponents of the project, clearing a major hurdle to putting the issue before voters.

Sandi Howard, who heads the No CMP Corridor PAC, a coalition of environmental groups opposed to the project, called the progress toward the ballot a “bittersweet moment.”

“It’s bitter because the people of Maine should have had their say last November, but it’s sweet because it shows that no matter what CMP or their high powered lawyers throw at us, opposition to the project remains as strong as ever,” Howard said in a statement. “Now, thanks to the hard work of hundreds of Mainers from all corners of the state, and against CMP’s best efforts, the people of Maine (their customers) will vote once and for all on the fate of the NECEC project.”

Howard and other opponents say the project would carve through scenic swathes of untouched forest in the North Maine Woods, harming the environment and leading to a loss of jobs and recreational tourism.

The proposal now moves to the Legislature, which can also approve the changes. If lawmakers take no action on it, the referendum could be cleared for the November ballot.

Opponents of the CMP project had gathered enough signatures to put a similar question to voters in the November 3, 2020 elections, but the state’s Supreme Judicial Court deemed it unconstitutional.

The latest referendum seeks to ban transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec region and require legislative approval of transmission lines longer than 50 miles, which would effectively block the CMP project and require similar plans to be approved by the Legislature.

Central Maine Power’s $1 billion New England Clean Energy Connect calls for providing up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to the New England region.

The project has cleared several regulatory hurdles, including approval by Maine’s Land Use Planning Commission and state Department of Environmental Protection. In November, it was granted a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In January, the project was granted a presidential permit that will allow the transmission line to cross the Canadian border.

Jon Breed, executive director of Clean Energy Matters, a group created to support the project, vowed to conduct a review of the petitions to determine if they are valid signatures. The company has challenged previous signatures collected by opponents of the project.

“Fossil fuel companies spent more than a million dollars on paid signature gathering efforts,” said Breed, in a statement. “The fact that these companies provided hundreds of people with massive financial incentives in exchange for signatures warrants our utmost scrutiny.”

Breed said the project will create jobs, help green the regional power grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are contributing to a warming planet.

“Two hundred seventy-five Maine residents are already on the job building this project,” Breed said in the statement. “The last thing we should be doing in the middle of a global pandemic is issuing more pink slips to Mainers because fossil fuel companies don’t like competing with renewable energy.”

Christian Wade is a contributing author to The Center Square.

This article was originally published on The Center Square and is reprinted with permission.

Christian Wade
Christian Wade is a contributing author to The Center Square.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Fracking Ban Threatens American Jobs and Derails Our Environmental Progress

Banning fracking ignores sound science in favor of a false choice between environmental quality and natural gas. With the increase of natural gas consumption, particularly in power generation, the U.S. has reduced carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest levels in a generation.

Americans Should ‘Just Say No’ to Vaccine Passports – Commentary

"The truth, understood by well-balanced adults, is that there is no safety in this world, and our overlords’ attempts after a chimerical perfect safety are far more dangerous than any viral disease."

Restrictions, Masks Fail to Stop COVID, Fauci Confused

States with some of the strictest orders to contain the spread of COVID-19 are seeing a surge in new cases, according to an analysis by NPR.

The Left Wants Kids to See White Supremacy Everywhere, and It’s Destroying Pop Culture

By Douglas Blair “Certain elements of our community are threatening to get people fired,” tweeted Yale professor Nicholas Christakis on Apr. 3. “Even if someone just poses...
- Advertisement -

Recent Comments

Scottar Brooke on Free Speech? Forget It.
Randy M Verret on The Gaslight Election
S. T. Karnick on The Gaslight Election
Randy M Verret on The Gaslight Election
S. T. Karnick on The Gaslight Election
Randy M Verret on The Gaslight Election
S. T. Karnick on The Gaslight Election
Randy Verret on The Gaslight Election
Randy Verret on The Gaslight Election