Opponents of the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project are gathering signatures for a second referendum to stop the environmentally destructive NECEC project. In response, CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola is using deceptive and untruthful claims about the NECEC project.
Supporters of the NECEC project claim it will create hundreds of permanent jobs. The official record on file with the Maine Public Utilities Commission from CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola shows that 1600 temporary jobs will be created during a two-year construction period, after which 38 permanent jobs will remain. Most of the clearing and building of the transmission line corridor will be undertaken by out-of-state contractors. These contractors will bring their own skilled workforce. In turn, the NECEC project will cause the loss of hundreds of jobs in the logging, biomass and tourism industries.
Justification for the NECEC project reflects the belief that hydro power is clean. Recent research from the Washington State University shows that hydro power causes the release of methane, a significant source of greenhouse gas, from the decay of flooded organic material. Greenhouse gases from hydro power are equivalent to that from biomass, the research shows.
Supporters of the NECEC project continue to falsely describe the western Maine mountains as a commercial forest wasteland for the purpose of diminishing its aesthetic and environmental value. The truth is that the western Maine mountains is a spectacularly beautiful area that attracts visitors from around the world.
Supporters of the NECEC project show the transmission line corridor ending in Lewiston. The deception is obvious. The truth is that DC power from Hydro-Quebec will be converted to AC power in Lewiston where it will enter the New England Power Grid. The purpose is to meet contracts between Hydro-Quebec and three utilities in Massachusetts. That is why the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities will pay CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola to build the transmission line corridor.
The claim that the NECEC project will lower energy prices for CMP customers intentionally leaves out the fact that these savings will be spread over 20 and 40 years. As a result, energy savings for CMP customers will be between 35 cents and 68 cents a month.
Leadership of CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola has stated publicly that they own all the land on which the transmission line will be located. That untrue statement is meant to disguise the fact that CMP has a lease agreement with the Bureau of Parks and Lands to use public reserved land in Johnson Mountain Township and West Forks Plantation for the transmission line corridor without obtaining the constitutionally required approval of 2/3 of the members elected to both Houses of the Maine Legislature. That lease agreement is being litigated in superior court.
I will end this letter with an important truth for those who still believe hydro power is clean. A competitive alternative to the NECEC project exists in Vermont called the “New England Clean Power Link,” that is fully approved and supported by the citizens of Vermont to bring hydro power from Quebec to Massachusetts but do so with much less damage to the environment.