First, I would like to express my gratitude to our grassroots team who attended this week’s Board of Environmental Protection meeting. We filled it to the brim with nearly 100 activists, and your participation clearly paid off!
In addition to our impressive attendance, 180 letters were submitted, loads of phone messages were left for DEP personnel and nearly 700 people signed the online DEP petition to support our cause over the period of only a few short days.
As a direct result of your actions, BEP decided to discuss whether or not they will assume the original jurisdiction of CMP’s 700 page ‘minor revision’ and to explore this further in an upcoming meeting, and that's the outcome we were hoping for, so THANK YOU!
Now it’s time to build on this momentum. In last week’s newsletter, we shared the news that the Biden administration is taking a good hard look at the Presidential Permit that was issued in the final days of the previous administration. We need to make sure that President Biden, his staff, and our US Senators hear from us this week. So please, use the contact information below to contact the White House. In addition, please contact Senator Susan Collins’ office and Senator Angus King’s office to urge them to also reach out to the Biden administration on our behalf to ask for a thorough investigation of this hastily-issued permit.
As you reach out to these leaders, please highlight these points:
- The Department of Energy (DOE) promised Senator Susan Collins that a 30-day comment period would be held before issuance of the permit. In reality, the DOE provided no opportunity for public input.
- DOE performed a comprehensive Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in neighboring New Hampshire and Vermont for powerline projects to bring the exact same power from Canada to Massachusetts, but here in Maine, a much less thorough Environmental Assessment (EA) was conducted even though NECEC is more damaging to the environment than either of the other projects.
- The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) completely ignored a request by the Penobscot Indian Nation for a government-to-government consultation concerning the project and the EA.
- While the entire process at the Federal level has lacked transparency for the public, CMP spent a quarter of a million dollars to lobby the Army Corps of Engineers and our Federal delegation.
For more information, here’s a copy of the letter that Hon. Tom Saviello sent to Senator King’s office this week.
- To contact the White House, please use this online form, or call (202) 456-1111.
- To contact Senator Collins’ office, please use this online form, or call (202) 224-2523.
- To contact Senator King’s office, please use this online form, or call (202) 224-5344.
In addition to the Presidential, Army Corps, and DEP permits being in question, there will likely be a referendum this fall. CMP is desperate to force their project forward ahead of the buzzer, and by taking this calculated risk, it has shown a disdain for the people of this great state and the resources that make Maine Vacationland.
Featured Story of the Week
THE FORKS, Maine — The drive south on Troutdale Road along the western shore of Moxie Pond runs through the heart of what Denise Rancourt loves most about this remote area of Somerset County.
Rancourt lives some 2 miles up the single-lane road populated now by mostly snow-covered seasonal homes. She and her husband are here year-round, snowmobiling in the winter, boating in the summer, hunting in the fall and enjoying the quiet. Something new rose right across the road from their property last Tuesday: the first pole of the controversial Central Maine Power corridor project.
For the past several weeks, trucks and equipment rumbled past the Rancourts’ house to clear 75 extra feet for the new project in an existing electric corridor. The traffic was noisy, she said, and disrupted travel for snowmobilers and the small number of year-round residents in the plantation of 23 people as of 2019. She didn’t expect the first pole to be raised until next year, and seeing it took her by surprise.
This week, the PUC officially opened an investigation into Maine’s power grid to address “information transparency issues” after CMP’s giant solar snafu that David Flannigan tried to play off as an error made by “mid-level engineers.” As I said before, regardless of how you feel about solar power, this latest controversy highlights the fact that CMP has neglected their existing infrastructure and customers as they’ve tried to force their unpopular for-profit corridor through. And, here’s what Tom Saviello had to say about it.
Featured Op-ed of the Week
Imagine you decided to buy an electric car. You scoped out all your options and picked one. You check with Central Maine Power (CMP) on how much extra money you would need to spend to make sure the outlet at your house is adequate to charge the vehicle. CMP tells you “No problem, your connection is adequate.” So, you go to the bank, get your loan and buy the car.
Upon returning home you get a call from CMP. You think they are calling to say congratulations on doing your small part to reduce climate change. Instead, CMP says “We made a mistake; your fixture cannot safely handle this new demand. You need to pay us an undetermined amount of money to make upgrades, and we don’t know how long this upgrade will take.”
You are totally disillusioned. The extra cost CMP wants to charge you stops your small, but important effort to impact climate change.
Well, CMP recently did just that to Maine’s solar industry.
Featured Letter of the Week:
By Judy Berk of Northport
Now Maine’s largest utility wants to break its contracts, admitting it neglected to provide for the 2,000 megawatts of solar power preparing to come online in Maine, while the company worked overtime on its New England Clean Energy Connect power line so it could rake in $2.9 billion helping Massachusetts import 1,200 MW of electricity from Quebec by cutting Maine in two. CMP’s power line would also send $12.4 billion to Canada, instead of keeping jobs and money closer to home.
I take CMP’s failures personally. My grandmother called me “Miss Solar Energy.” In the 1970s, I sold solar collectors in Belfast, wrote the Power Play newspaper column for three Maine weeklies and co-established Maine’s Energy Extension Service. In the 1980s I produced a big solar conference at College of the Atlantic, served as the first executive director of the Maine Solar Energy Association and joined the board of the New England Solar Energy Association. And, for 28 years since 1991, I helped the Natural Resources Council of Maine pass laws to bring Maine a clean-energy future. Yes, we power our home with solar too.
For four decades I have worked for energy efficiency and clean power for Maine and known how practical and badly needed it is too, while CMP has been working against it. They need to step aside. Maine cannot afford to wait.
Save the Date
On Wednesday, February 24 at 8:00 PM we will hold an important volunteer update on Zoom and Facebook. A lot has happened since our last meeting, and we hope to be able to share some exciting news with everyone, so please register now to join the conversation!
Activist of the Week
*Picture taken at the summit of No.5 Mountain looking over the beauty of western Maine that we are trying to protect.
Linda Woods of Waterville is this week's recognized activist. Linda's deep connection with Maine's wilderness landscape has prompted her to advocate for its protection from NECEC's destructive impact. We so appreciate Linda's informative letters to the editor, sworn testimonies, and dedicated efforts to meet our signature collection goal so others who care about Maine's environment like she does have an opportunity to vote this project down.
When I asked why she opposes the CMP corridor, she shared this quote by Anatoli Boukreev:
"Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion. I go to them as humans go to worship. From their lofty summits I view my past, dream of the future and, with an unusual acuity, am allowed to experience the present moment…my vision cleared, my strength renewed. In the mountains I celebrate creation. On each journey I am reborn.”
So, thanks to Linda for her tireless advocacy and the inspiration she provides to our effort!
In Memory of George Smith
This week’s newsletter is dedicated to the memory of George Smith of Mount Vernon. George had an inspiring passion for all things Maine, and as such, he was an outspoken opponent of the CMP Corridor. We were blessed to have George's unwavering support over the years, and will miss him tremendously. George did so much to advocate for Maine’s natural resources, and now it’s our turn.
Rest easy, friend.
Donate by mail: Check made payable to No CMP Corridor sent to PO Box 471 Farmington, ME 04398
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Thank you all and please enjoy the rest of your weekend!