Thanks to all of you who were able to join us at the Zoom meeting this week. It was so nice to share our campaign update and answer your questions. If you tuned into our Facebook this week, you likely saw that we held a press conference to unveil some rather upsetting news. It turns out that CMP is misleading the people of Maine about the width of the corridor route they are clear cutting, and we’ve confirmed this lie with video footage and photographs.
Before we show the footage, I’ll provide a bit of context.
NECEC LLC’s CEO, Thorn Dickinson, has repeatedly told the people of Maine that the company would clear only a 54 foot wide corridor in Segment one. Last week, Clean Energy Matters, the PAC funded by Central Maine Power and Avangrid, CMP’s parent company, ran a “fact check” on Facebook highlighting their 54’ corridor talking point to downplay the destruction of this project to one of Maine’s most vulnerable ecosystems.
That very same day, NECEC’s crews on the ground cut a corridor that’s 98 feet wide, nearly double the width claimed in the ad.
As you can see, it is abundantly clear that once again, CMP is telling Mainers one thing, and doing another. CMP’s false rhetoric about the width of the corridor, and the scope of the destruction, further cements its legacy as a dishonest project developer.
At the press conference, Tom Saviello said, “The corridor CMP is slashing through Maine's undeveloped operating forest, the biggest east of the Mississippi, is a clear cut...nothing more, nothing less, and at the rate they’re clearing, it will result in a more than 600 acre clear cut in the first segment alone, leaving no vegetative buffer, as the DEP intended, to protect critical brook trout habitat.”
Tom was absolutely right. Nobody can look at this footage and see anything other than a clear cut. This is not what the DEP had envisioned when they mandated 16 foot wide tapering zones on either side of the 54 foot clearing to protect critical habitat. As you can see, for at least 98 feet, there is absolutely no tapering zone. The protections put into place by the DEP are wholly inadequate, and are worthless when it comes to mitigating the damage of this corridor.
Unsurprisingly, CMP’s response to our discovery was to double down on their big lie, saying: “Segment 1 of the corridor will be just 54′ wide, with tapered vegetation on both sides to limit visual impact and to preserve forest canopy and wildlife habitat. This Is in accordance with Department of Environmental Protection guidelines. The video in question contains numerous inaccuracies and loose, creative editing. Those who oppose this project have the right to object, but not to lie and spread misinformation about the project to the people of Maine.”
But the thing is, we asked Roger Merchant, a professionally licensed forester, to further investigate this matter. Below are his findings and a photograph he took of the clear cut. You be the judge. Do you see the tapered vegetation CMP alluded to in their response above?
North slope of Coburn, width 91 feet
Here’s Roger’s report: "We made nine right-of-way measurements at sites west of Route 201; around Johnson Mt., over Coburn then west to the Mining Road Loop. We found that the cut corridor averaged 95 feet in width. The narrowest width was 86 feet, the widest width was 104 feet. In all cases trees were simply cut and laid to rest on the corridor site. None were yarded out, cut up, chipped or processed. From my well seasoned forest harvesting perspective, my views on the CMP corridor yesterday clearly indicated to me that I was looking at a classic strip clear cut, from 201 to Mining Road. There was no instance where I was looking at some form of a partial harvest on the cut corridor."
There you have it. CMP claims that they have only cleared a 54 foot corridor through some of Maine's most sensitive wildlife habitat, but that claim is a myth. When it comes to the CMP Corridor, we can't trust CMP or their flashy advertisements.
ENR Committee Update: To investigate this further, Senator Rick Bennett sent this letter to Senator Stacey Brenner and Representative Ralph Tucker, Chairs of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, to request that the Department appear before the Committee to answer questions about the clear cut in Segment 1, which was permitted to be 54 feet at its widest point.
At Friday morning's ENR hearing Senator Bennett and members of the committee asked detailed questions about the evidence that CMP had cleared more than the 54 feet that Thorn Dickinson had claimed CMP had cut.
Unfortunately, DEP Commissioner Loyzim did not appear to answer questions regarding the cutting of Section 1 and Nick Livesay, Director of Bureau of Land Resources, did not give a concrete answer either. The takeaway here is that clearly CMP is misleading Mainers (again) and we cannot let up in efforts to spread our message far and wide that this November a YES vote is to reject CMP's corridor.
Featured Interviews of the Week
Featured Story of the Week
Featured Letter of the Week
By John Nicholas of Winthrop
So this is where you all come in. We have two action items for you! First, please share this video on social media and with your friends and neighbors. It’s one thing to hear about the destruction, but it’s so much more powerful to actually see it. Second, please draft letters to your local editors calling out CMP for once again lying to the people of Maine about this unpopular and destructive project. If you need assistance, please reach out to us at [email protected] Third, if you haven’t yet contacted your legislator to support LD 194, the bill to prohibit foreign governments from meddling in our elections, please do so today! This vote will likely occur this week.
Activists of the Week
This week, we would like to thank our volunteers who alerted us to the Segment 1 clear cutting issue, and who took the time to verify the claims. CMP knows that rural Somerset County is sparsely populated, and they’re counting on the fact that nobody can see what they’re doing to critical wildlife habitat in the North Maine Woods. But rest assured, we are watching, and we will hold this foreign-owned company accountable.
Testimonial of the Week
Okay folks, that's all for this week. I hope you all enjoy this beautiful holiday weekend. Happy Memorial Day!
Donate to help our cause and we will send you a bumper sticker.
Donate securely online by clicking HERE.
Send a check made out to No CMP Corridor PAC to P.O. Box 471 Farmington, ME 04938.