Legislation like LD 1075, being reviewed by our Legislature, is sorely needed to protect Maine’s public lands. The history of illegal and backdoor leases for use on public lands includes those obtained by international corporation Central Maine Power (owned by Spanish company Avangrid) for the wildly unpopular CMP Corridor.
Environmental stewardship and advocacy is in my blood. My father, Bob Cummings, penned newspaper articles in the 1970s that were instrumental in the recovery of our lands. They are managed in trust for the people of Maine by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, whose duty it is to protect them for future generations. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the Legislature before these lands can be reduced or substantially altered. BPL’s prior dealings with Central Maine Power have violated this requirement, circumventing the Legislature entirely.
Apparently the term “substantially altered” is open to gross misinterpretation by BPL. The Bureau contends that a power corridor with 100-plus foot poles traversing a mile by up-to-300 feet public lands, 33 acres, does not “substantially alter” those lands. Any objective analysis or Mainer can see that public lands would be altered and their uses frustrated by this utility corridor, which, like many other CMP leases across the state of Maine, will not be dismantled at the end of its 25-year lease term, but will stand, continuing to alter and impair our public lands, for generations.
I hope that our legislature will pass LD 1075, and I hope that all Mainers will join me in November in voting Yes to reject the CMP corridor.