Both sides agree: CMP Corridor a bad deal

The Ellsworth American

Dear Editor:

Rep. Grohoski’s opinion piece about the CMP Corridor was recently criticized by Mr. Tim Plouff of Otis. I would like to rebut a few of his statements.

First, CMP’s corridor project is one of the most unifying issues of our time. Opposition is highly bipartisan, with lawmakers and everyday citizens from all across the political spectrum represented. Take, for example, the fact that Rep. Grohoski is a Democrat and I’m a Republican. Some oppose it because they are concerned about environmental implications and others because of the economic implications, but together, all opponents agree that CMP’s corridor is a bad deal for Maine.

Article IV Section 18 of the Maine Constitution states: “The electors (means those of the state qualified to vote for governor) may propose to the Legislature for its consideration any bill, resolve or resolution, including bills to amend or repeal emergency legislation but not an amendment of the state Constitution, by written petition addressed to the Legislature or to either branch thereof and filed in the office of the Secretary of State.”

Nowhere does it say the question has to be constitutional, just as bills submitted in the Legislature by lawmakers don’t have to reach that threshold until after passage.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Law Court decided to write its own interpretation of this section, using a California court case to justify its decision.

In doing so, they disenfranchised over 66,000 people who followed the applicable laws in initiating and carrying out a citizen’s referendum, and the hundreds of volunteers (including myself and Rep. Grohoski) who made this happen are rightfully upset.

Mr. Plouff is right about the countless state permits that CMP had to secure. What he did not say is our present and past governors support this corridor. Do you think the agencies would do something against their wills? Highly unlikely.

He also states: “Currently, 71 percent of the region’s electricity comes from natural gas — 14 times the amount of power generated by solar and wind.” Maybe ISO New England needs to step up requirements for renewable energy like Maine already has. According to the U.S. Energy office:

  • In 2019, 80 percent of Maine’s electricity net generation came from renewable energy resources, and (Maine-generated) hydroelectric power provided the largest share at 31 percent.
  • Maine leads New England in wind-powered generation and ranks sixth in the nation in the share of its electricity generated from wind. In 2019, wind provided about 24 percent of Maine’s in-state net generation.
  • Biomass supplies one-fourth of Maine’s net generation, the largest share of any state.

Hydro-Quebec power is not clean energy. In fact, the Massachusetts Conservation Law Foundation called them “dirty clean energy.” During the Department of Environmental Protection permitting effort, their lawyer made it very clear this project was not about climate change at least six times.

Bradford Hager, professor of earth science at MIT, in his testimony to the Army Corps of Engineers, said, “There is an extremely wide range of greenhouse gas emissions from hydro facilities. Six of Hydro-Québec’s reservoirs are among the top 25 percent of greenhouse gas emitters of hydro plants worldwide. Their emissions range from about that of a modern natural gas power plant to over twice that of coal power plants.” They are definitely not the source of green power that they are made out to be.

It is very clear this project is not about GHG reduction! It is about corporate profits, and a lot of them.

If this project is constructed, CMP’s Spanish owner will make $5 million per month for 20 years. Hydro-Quebec, another foreign company, will make $41 million per month. Meanwhile, Maine stands to lose a viable forest products industry, the biomass industry, worth $850 million annually and we could lose local renewable energy businesses.

Rep. Grohoski knows this is a bad deal for Maine because she’s done her research. She also knows we are no longer a colony to Massachusetts, and so did 66,000 other Mainers who signed the petition to stop the project.

Matt Wagner

Knox

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