Last week, something amazing happened - CMP didn’t appeal our referendum signatures, even after hiring an expensive Arizona-based firm to scrutinize our petitions! Obviously, but not surprisingly, they weren’t able to find 17,000 errors missed by the Secretary of State. So, thanks to your hard work, our buffer was significant enough to overcome this expected hurdle. Our referendum will now advance without delay.
On Thursday, the Maine Legislature received our referendum, which will be referenced to the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee for a public hearing that will likely take place within the next few weeks. We will continue to monitor the referendum’s progress closely and let you know as soon as the hearing is scheduled.
But first, we need you to submit testimony on three bills that are scheduled for public hearings this week, and help us spread the word!
Tomorrow at 10:00 am, the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on LDs 194 and 479. These bills, sponsored by Senator Bennett and Representative Bailey, would prohibit foreign contributions in Maine referendum elections. We need as many of you as possible to submit testimony in advance AND sign up to testify if you can. Even if you’re unwilling/unable to present your testimony live, you can submit your thoughts in writing anytime before the scheduled hearing.
Another important bill, LD 471, will receive a public hearing before the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee on Thursday, March 18 at 9:00 am. This bill, sponsored by Senator Russell Black, would protect our public lands from illegal backroom leases, like the ones the Bureau of Parks and Lands granted CMP for their destructive NECEC Corridor.
For this bill, we’re asking our activists to submit testimony in advance, rather than testify live during the hearing, because it coincides with the Board of Environmental Protection’s meeting to discuss jurisdiction of CMP’s 700-page ‘minor revision’ application.
If you’re unsure how to submit testimony, or sign up to testify, please refer to our how-to guide here.
So, to recap, we need your help in the following ways:
- Submit testimony in advance/sign up to testify before the VLA Committee tomorrow by 9:30 am tomorrow (hearing is at 10:00 am);
- Submit testimony in advance to the ACF Committee for Senator Black’s bill, which is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday at 9:00 am;
- Plan to virtually attend the BEP meeting on Thursday at 9:00 am.
Featured News of the Week
Also last week, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairs sent an official letter to DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim to remind her again that the Committee will continue to keep a close eye on the Department’s actions in regard to the NECEC Corridor. Please join us in thanking Senator Brenner, Representative Tucker and the members of the ENR Committee for taking their role as overseer of the Department to heart. This is exactly the sort of leadership that we need in Augusta.
Featured Column of the Week
Why, if this project is supposed to bolster the state’s economy and provide local jobs, has CMP contracted with an out-of-state company for land clearing? Not only does it bring some of its own workers, it even uses a lot of its own equipment. Some fuel is bought in bulk, limiting the sales for local fuel companies.
What concerns me the most is how the project is funded. CMP claims it comes at no cost to Maine people. I think we shouldn’t forget that CMP as an entity is funded by Maine people.
The forest products industry in Maine has taken a big hit these days, between the era of electronics and Internet, COVID-19, and the loss of the digester at the Jay mill. Many forest product companies are left wondering what to do. Maine’s forest products industry accounted for an estimated $2.7 billion of Maine’s economy in 2016. If any of the lumber is sold from the massive amounts of wood being decimated from the clearing of this project, it will drown the already-flooded wood commodity market.
The alternative is to chip in place, or chip and haul off. If that’s the case, how many tons of carbon-filtering, oxygen-producing, renewable trees will go to waste while being left to rot, producing methane gas? While normal amounts of wood waste left after a sustainable harvest is considered good for erosion control and for providing nutrients for trees left standing, decimation of miles of timberland to never have trees growing on it again does not promote a healthy sustainable forest.
In fact, one market that it will directly affect is the biomass industry. We have a plant right here in Livermore Falls. They burn a combination of otherwise wasted wood and clean building demolition to produce 284,000 net megawatt hours of electricity. This is done cleanly and makes use of a product that would otherwise take up space in landfills or be wasted in the woods. Not to mention the market it creates for local sawmills to sell waste products like slabs and sawdust, which keeps the cost of lumber down.
With this new corridor getting power from out of country, where lax regulations exist in the hydro industry, it threatens the ability for companies like this to compete in the power market. Not to mention the local property tax this entire ecosystem generates locally, as well as the local jobs this provides our community day after day and year after year.
Read the full column, by Bryce Bilodeau, a logger from Livermore Falls, here.
The column by David Flanagan, Central Maine Power’s chairman, that recently ran in your paper (“CMP is on the team for Maine’s renewable-energy future,” Feb. 23) was truly something else. My first thought, when reading it, was “Dear God. They can’t manage the grid they have now, yet they want to cut our state in two with a major for-profit corridor to deliver power through our state to benefit Massachusetts?”
Ironically, Flanagan used phrases like “natural beauty” and “unspoiled outdoor recreational opportunities” to describe what makes our state so special without acknowledgement that CMP’s unpopular corridor project would forever destroy one of the most iconic areas of Maine.
CMP has spent tens of millions of dollars to convince Mainers that New England Clean Energy Connect is a good idea when Flanagan himself admits that the company is totally overwhelmed by their existing infrastructure. It’s no wonder this company is so distrusted. Please join me in voting “yes” this November to reject the CMP corridor.
Click below to view the full testimonial!
This week, we would like to recognize Troy Hull of Starks for doing everything that he can to reject the CMP Corridor over the last three years. From the very beginning, Troy was instrumental in organizing a town effort to oppose the project. He's also been featured in numerous TV ads, testified before regulatory bodies and volunteered to help us collect signatures both times. We're so thankful to Troy for all of the work he has done, and continues to do, to make sure that this November, Mainers have the opportunity to vote YES to reject the CMP Corridor.
New Logo/Facebook Frame
This week, No CMP Corridor launched a new “Vote YES to Reject the CMP Corridor” logo to begin to educate the public that a YES vote this November will finally stop the CMP Corridor. People ask us why it will be a YES vote, and it’s because we are asking the Legislature to take action on this matter. Please consider adding our new Yes to Reject frame to your profile picture on Facebook!
We are down to our last few, now vintage, No CMP Corridor signs, so this week, we’re running a special. The first 35 activists to make a $10 dollar or more donation to No CMP Corridor will receive a sign topper in the mail (you will have to construct a base).
Donate by mail: Check made payable to No CMP Corridor sent to PO Box 471 Farmington, ME 04398
Secure online: Donate at www.NoCMPCorridor.com/donate
These signs will not last! Again, thank you all for your continued effort and support. With your help, our grassroots effort is truly a force to reckon with! If you have any questions on how to submit testimony or attend the BEP meeting, please email us at [email protected].
To stay up to date and receive text message alerts, text NOCMP to 474747.
If you'd like to join our echo chamber to share our social media posts at a moments notice, text ECHO to 474747.
Thank you all and please enjoy the rest of your weekend!