NRCM release: HYDRO-QUEBEC EXPLOITING LEGAL LOOPHOLE TO INFLUENCE MAINE VOTERS

Natural Resources Council of Maine Legislators Consider Bills to Stop Campaigns by Foreign Government-owned Companies March 15, 2021 (Augusta, ME) – Over the past 15 months, Hydro-Quebec has exploited a loophole in state ethics law by spending a record-breaking $10 million on a statewide political campaign aimed at persuading Maine voters to support the controversial Central Maine Power (CMP) transmission corridor. Continue reading

Saviello Rebuttal LTE: CMP’s New England Clean Energy Connect update

Daily Bulldog Good day. I would like to give you a quick update on what is going on with the CMP’s New England Clean Energy Connect. Better know as the Corridor. 1. Permitting. I realize you continually hear the drum beat the Corridor has all its permits. Let’s look a little deeper into these permits. First the DEP permit and PUC certificate was issued under two governors that support the project. Do you think there would be a different result? Recently CMP has applied to the Board of Environmental Protection for a “minor” amendment which is over 700 pages long. The DEP commissioner decided the project was not of statewide significance since it did not have significant public scrutiny. Fortunately, the public corrected this perception by sending in over 170 emails and sent a petition signed by 700 Maine citizens to the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) objecting to this decision. As a result, the BEP is reconsidering this recommendation. Last week, our own Joint Standing Committee of Environment and Natural Resources weighed in on this decision and is requesting they be kept abreast on the board action. Now let’s look in to the Federal Permits. Continue reading

3/14/21 Newletter

Hello Friends, Last week, something amazing happened - CMP didn’t appeal our referendum signatures, even after hiring an expensive Arizona-based firm to scrutinize our petitions! Obviously, but not surprisingly, they weren’t able to find 17,000 errors missed by the Secretary of State. So, thanks to your hard work, our buffer was significant enough to overcome this expected hurdle. Our referendum will now advance without delay. On Thursday, the Maine Legislature received our referendum, which will be referenced to the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee for a public hearing that will likely take place within the next few weeks. We will continue to monitor the referendum’s progress closely and let you know as soon as the hearing is scheduled. But first, we need you to submit testimony on three bills that are scheduled for public hearings this week, and help us spread the word!  Continue reading

LTE: Tell the truth about the corridor

Lewiston Sun Journal The other day I came home to a flyer hanging on my front door that supported the CMP and Hydro-Quebec Corridor. The flyer called the transmission line the “CLEAN Energy Corridor”. This is an out and out fraud. The energy from Hydro-Quebec’s massive dams is far from CLEAN. The science is very clear. The power generated is some of the dirtiest generated power on the planet. This greenwashing is a complete distortion and fabrication of the truth. Hydro-Quebec and CMP, both foreign owned corporations, have already spent over 20 million dollars on a false and scurrilous disinformation campaign. Their campaign war chest has no bottom and as with most issues or political campaigns money can often trump truth. Continue reading

Carter LTE: Tell the truth about the CMP and Hydro-Quebec Corridor

Daily Bulldog The other day I came home to a flyer hanging on my front door that supported the CMP and Hydro-Quebec Corridor. The flyer called the transmission line the “CLEAN Energy Corridor”. This is an out and out fraud. The energy from Hydro-Quebec’s massive dams is far from CLEAN. The science is very clear. The power generated is some of the dirtiest generated power on the planet. Continue reading

Frontline Workers at CMP Insulted by Low Company Bonus

IBEW Local 1837 March 10, 2021 - Workers at Central Maine Power Company (CMP) are angry and disappointed by the decision of company officials to give an unusually low 1.4% annual bonus to their non-management employees. At the same time, CMP managers will receive a bonus payout of 8 – 9% of their annual pay. As we reach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, CMP’s lineworkers, clerks, dispatchers, customer service representatives and other unionized employees have continued doing their vitally important jobs providing electricity to Maine families and businesses. In the past year, more than 20 storms have led to outages affecting CMP’s customers and CMP’s frontline employees have worked around the clock restoring their power. At the same time, Maine’s largest utility has been saying that their financial condition is excellent, making this low bonus payout even more difficult to understand. Continue reading

Hughey-Harth LTE: Writer offered ‘flawed’ NECEC assessment

Lewiston Sun Journal I must challenge claims in Alex Titcomb’s letter published Feb. 24, “NECEC won’t tarnish Maine’s woods.” It appears Alex’s exposure to the proposed corridor zone is limited to Route 201, an existing corridor bisecting the industrial timberlands of Somerset County. Unlike the swath of internationally-shared wilderness NECEC would permanently bisect, these forests are regenerated to protect the long-term investments of big landowners. Unlike NECEC, these forests provide permanent jobs for thousands of Mainers. Continue reading

Cote LTE: CMP should focus energy on solar integration, not NECEC

Portland Press Herald Executive Chairman David Flanagan’s praise of Maine's ‘natural beauty’ is ironic, considering how unsightly the power line will be. In a Feb. 23 op-ed, Central Maine Power Executive Chairman David Flanagan was trying to make the case that his company is all behind a renewable-energy future. If that is the case, I wish his company would spend more resources getting the huge demand for local solar generation safely and efficiently tied into the grid rather than going door to door and producing commercials selling New England Clean Energy Connect. Continue reading

U.S. Rep. Golden of Maine calls on Biden to reevaluate hydropower transmission permit

The Center Square  U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, is calling on the Biden administration to revisit a controversial presidential permit for a hydropower transmission project. In a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the congressman said he has "concerns" about the 145-mile New England Clean Energy Connect project and requested a review of a federal permit granted by former President Donald Trump only weeks before he left office. He said the permit was granted without a thorough environmental review or input from the public. "Given the anticipated impacts that this new transmission line will have on Maine's forest and wetland ecosystems, as well as the communities along the route, it is troubling that the permit was granted by the previous administration," Golden wrote. Golden noted that the permit for the NECEC project makes it quite clear that it can be "modified or revoked" without notice. Continue reading

Major utility reform critical to realizing Maine’s clean energy plans

Penobscot Bay Pilot Central Maine Power’s most recent debacle, attempting to charge solar developers millions more for grid interconnections despite signed contracts, was shocking but not surprising from a utility that has sought for decades to undermine renewable power.  Only after public outcry and a call from Gov. Janet Mills for a Maine Public Utilities Commission investigation did CMP reverse course, sending the PUC a mea culpa letter with what energy consultant and former Maine State Planning Office director Richard Silkman called a “very telling juxtaposition.”  CMP executives David Flanagan and Douglas Herling claimed that staff initially calculated costs using “a traditional utility approach.” Weeks later, they acknowledged, “we instructed our team to re-evaluate this (conservative) approach,” and instead work toward “cost-effective solutions … that could be deployed more quickly.” This stark admission that the utility’s MO doesn’t typically factor in customer costs or timeliness underscores how deep its management challenges run. The incident, which diminished Maine’s reputation nationally, “does raise the question of how well CMP understands its own distribution system and the larger trends underway in the power sector,” observed Ken Colburn, an energy consultant and co-chair of the Maine Climate Council’s energy working group. To build a grid nimble enough to handle distributed renewable power, resilient enough to withstand more extreme weather, and robust enough to power electrified heating and transportation will be a huge and expensive undertaking. The “traditional utility approach,” which tends toward the costly and over-engineered, won’t deliver that flexible and responsive grid. A clean energy economy demands swift and significant utility reform.  Continue reading