Oped by Sue Ely, a clean energy attorney for the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Nick Bennett, a NRCM staff scientist.
The Central Maine Power corridor proposal would be one of the most damaging projects in Maine history. It would forever harm the state’s brook trout habitat and irreparably scar the North Woods — a globally significant forested landscape that draws tourists and supports recreation-based businesses.
There is no independent evidence the transmission line would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, making it irrelevant in our fight against climate change.
Mainers across the state overwhelmingly oppose the CMP corridor
They know a bad deal when they see it.
Nobody is surprised that CMP and its expensive political operatives would resort to dirty attacks and misleading political tricks to try to persuade Mainers to support a project that they don’t want. Together with Hydro-Quebec, CMP has smashed campaign finance records, spending more than $16 million since October on a vast network of highly paid consultants.
While Maine residents struggle in the face of an unprecedented public health crisis, CMP and Hydro-Quebec have been spending $62,000 per day on their campaign, which is more than most Maine households make in a year.
CMP has hired private investigators to stalk petition gatherers, enlisted lawyers to try to prevent Mainers from getting an opportunity to vote on this issue, and engaged expensive Washington, D.C.-based lobbyists and strategists to flood our airways, newspapers, computers, and mailboxes with misleading advertisements.
CMP has also directly attacked the Natural Resources Council of Maine, but we also know a bad deal and bad project when we see one and will never back down. NRCM has been around for more than 60 years, and our mission is to protect Maine’s environment and address the threat of climate change.
Our supporters expect us to stand up to corporate interests trying to harm Maine’s public lands for their own profit. They expect us to be fierce advocates for real climate solutions, not the CMP corridor shell game that is driven by the interests of Hydro-Quebec, CMP and Massachusetts instead of by what would be good for Maine’s future.
During the past 20 years, NRCM has watched CMP work to defeat one bill after another that would increase clean energy and reduce climate pollution. CMP never mentions its role against climate solutions in the past, nor does it want Mainers to know that its parent company, Avangrid, owns an extensive network of natural gas infrastructure that is not only contributing to the climate crisis but actively profiting from it.
As NRCM’s attorney and scientist we have spent nearly three years, including many long nights, studying and working to fight the CMP corridor. We have watched CMP and Hydro-Quebec mislead Mainers and play on their real fears about climate change, but offer no real solutions.
We believe Maine people deserve the facts about the CMP corridor. That’s why we worked with lawmakers on a bill to require an objective study into CMP’s climate claims. When it looked like the bill would pass, CMP hired an army of lobbyists to defeat it. We also called on Hydro-Quebec to testify under oath in Maine to the claims it makes about its hydropower. The company refused, but had no problem sending their public relations people to give misleading information to the press in Maine.
With billions in profit at stake and facing down a referendum that could terminate the project, CMP and Hydro-Quebec will apparently stop at nothing to get their controversial profit-making corridor built. But Mainers have a long history of seeing through lies and stopping projects that would forever harm the nature of Maine.
That’s exactly what CMP is afraid of.