7/10/2020 NAMRA Press Release - Contact: Meg Sheehan, Coordinator, [email protected]
Governor Mills’ latest deal with the Government of Quebec and Avangrid/Iberdrola demonstrates a shameful lack of transparency – this alone should make all Mainers suspicious about these hollow promises of lower rates and benefits for the state.
The devil will be in the details of this latest spin on the $1 billion high voltage direct current transmission corridor that will cut through Maine’s iconic wilderness areas. The deal promises to “accelerate the delivery of $170 million in benefits negotiated last year” without saying how this will be accomplished or who will benefit. Like the corridor project itself, this the so-called “benefits” project was a fraud from start to finish: false claims about greenhouse gas benefits, claiming it will deliver “clean and renewable” energy when it will not and covering it all up with a settlement signed off on by Conservation Law Foundation and other green groups with questionable industry ties.
The goal of this $1 billion transmission corridor is to help prop up the Quebec Government’s dying hydropower industry by providing a lucrative market for dirty energy. This corridor and the two other two like it proposed for New York and Vermont by Wall Street tycoons at Blackstone Group are simply profit-making ventures. They are financed by the same multinational corporations who invest in fossil fuels that have caused the climate crisis. The Maine corridor has nothing to do with helping the climate, jobs for Mainers or lowering their electric rates.
Mills’ continued willingness to accept tokens like heat pumps and electric vehicle charging stations to try to build support among Mainers is nothing more than a fraudulent offsetting scheme. It is impossible to verify that these so-called climate friendly projects will actually “offset” the greenhouse gas emissions caused by Hydro-Quebec’s project in the first place. On the other hand, the facts about Hydro-Quebec’s dirty energy are clear: it emits “at least 75% of the carbon emissions as a gas burning power station” according to Conservation Law Foundation, allows Hydro-Quebec to continue to irreversibly destroy carbon-sequestering forests and rivers, causes methylmercury poisoning of the environment and people and undermines local renewables in Maine.
Hydro-Quebec is a monopoly owned by the Quebec Government. It is desperate for a market since it is midway through construction of the $8 billion Romaine 4 dam complex and is looking to tap into Nalcor Energy’s second and third dams in Labrador. Twenty-two percent of Hydro-Quebec’s net income is from exports. It has a staggering debt of $40 billion yet the Quebec Government continues to spend millions of dollars a year marketing this dirty energy in the U.S., according to filings with the U.S. Department of Justice. Hydro-Quebec is facing fierce opposition in its own backyard from communities opposing its 100 kilometer 320 Kv Appalaches-Maine transmission line to the Canada-Maine border and from Indigenous groups with over $3 billion in lawsuits for reparations for new transmission lines and dams.
Quebec Government’s debt-ridden yet subsidized dirty, destructive hydropower industry is desperately trying to redo its image in order to generate profits by selling its subsidized hydro at higher rates in the US than is possible in Canada. Governor Mills is merely a pawn in the game.