Thorn Dickinson, President and CEO of NECEC Transmission LLC, claims that changes to the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project resulted from listening to Mainers. That opinion is not consistent with my experience with the NECEC project.
I have been opposed to the NECEC project since 2018 and have provided sworn testimony before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) and Department of Environmental Protect (DEP). I have read and reviewed all of the intervenor testimony.
That intervenor testimony, which is available on the DEP website, does not portray a company that is listening to Mainers. Any changes that occurred were forced upon CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola as a condition for receiving their permit. An example is the re-routing of the transmission line corridor around Beattie Pond. The LUPC subdistrict rules and regulations require that vehicular traffic and development not occur within ½ mile of a designated remote pond. Beattie pond is classified as a remote pond. CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola knew this when they designed their transmission line corridor. They nevertheless designed the transmission line corridor so that it would cross near the shore of Beattie pond. Why? Because that path was the least costly for the company. They did not change that path until it became clear that the LUPC would not approve their permit.
Another example is the use of public reserved land in Johnson Mountain Township and West Forks Plantation for the NECEC transmission line corridor. CMP entered into a lease agreement in 2014 with the Bureau of Parks and Lands to use one mile of public reserved land for the transmission line corridor without informing Maine people about that arrangement.
Since the transmission line corridor would substantially alter the use of that public reserved land, the lease agreement required the approval of 2/3 of the members elected to both houses of the Maine Legislature, in accordance with Article IX, Section 23 of the Maine Constitution. That requirement was presented at every public hearing about the NECEC. CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola did not listen to that testimony and repeated the untrue statement that, “we own all the land,” forcing the filing of a lawsuit against CMP and the Bureau of Parks and Lands.
The belief that CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola has listened to Mainers in the design of the transmission line corridor is total fiction.
John R. Nicholas