As Maine regulators deliberate Central Maine Power’s proposal to create a 145-mile line through Maine’s western mountains – a line designed to let CMP and Hydro-Québec sell power to Massachusetts at above-market rates – they must weigh the benefits and risks to Maine’s residents and businesses.

They must ask: Can we trust CMP with this project? Does CMP’s proposal reasonably minimize impacts and compensate affected areas for losses to our wilderness tourism economy? Will the proposal help create clean-energy jobs in Maine and improve our energy independence?

Maine is at an energy crossroads. We possess incredible resources: unrivaled offshore wind potential, more sunlight than solar leaders like Germany and an outstanding workforce and manufacturing sector. We sit strategically at the northern edge of the power-hungry, congested northeastern U.S., where the demand for clean energy will triple as we turn to electricity for heating, cooling and transportation.

Those who can connect rural supply to urban demand stand to make hundreds of billions in profit – more than Maine’s entire gross domestic product. In the coming years, we can emerge either as a clean-energy leader or as a dirty-energy doormat.

As I write this, powerful interests are looking to Maine as a potential gold mine for exploitation. Chief among these is CMP, owned by Connecticut-based Avangrid, owned by Spain-based Iberdrola, owned by investors from around the world.

As CMP’s president and CEO, Doug Herling, has said, CMP is “probably the most mistrusted company (in Maine) right now.” In recent years, its captive customers have paid dearly for the monopoly’s “reliability” projects, “smart” meters and $600-per-hour “experts” flown in to question the real value of locally owned, rooftop solar. After so many costly mistakes and untruths, should we trust CMP with this massive new proposal?


During those same years, because of new state policies and the dark money spent to support them, Maine has thrown up roadblocks to offshore wind, solar and battery storage. These policies and actions have denied lasting, good-paying jobs and opportunities for Maine businesses to serve our region. CMP’s proposal would continue this trend, reducing local demand and further harming our independent energy development.

Earlier this year, three other legislators and I announced our opposition to the CMP project. Speaking as the four bipartisan co-chairs of the Maine Legislature’s committees on Environment and Natural Resources and on Energy, Utilities and Technology, we explained that we saw no clear economic or climate benefit to Maine people. Our position has not changed.

Though called “Clean Energy Connect,” CMP’s proposal may, in fact, be unclean. Neither CMP nor Hydro-Québec has provided clear evidence that their proposal would provide greenhouse gas reductions. Redirecting existing supply to the east may mean firing up fossil fuel generators further west, and new dams may release enough methane by flooding forests to offset any climate benefit.

CMP has promised temporary jobs, energy savings and tax revenue from this project, but independent experts question CMP’s rosy projections and assumptions. Unless CMP backs these promises contractually, we must remain skeptical. We’ve seen this movie before.

This spring, New Hampshire rejected a similar proposal called Northern Pass. That project included 60 miles of underground line. CMP has offered nothing of the sort.

Instead, CMP proposes to run its lines over the Kennebec Gorge, a renowned whitewater rafting and fishing spot. It would require a 145-mile clearcut the width of the New Jersey Turnpike, with thousands of lit-up transmission towers, each as high as the Eastland Hotel in Portland. It would affect trout habitat and view in the Enchanted Forest and in fabled Moxie Pond. And it would cross our stretch of the iconic Appalachian Trail, potentially in three places.


In addition to property tax benefits and jobs, Northern Pass offered New Hampshire over $510 million in direct mitigation benefits. From the start, the project included $210 million for economic development and conservation. After multiple rejections by state regulators, The Associated Press reported that Eversource added $300 million more to reduce local power bills.

By comparison, CMP’s proposal is insulting. To date, it consists of minor payoffs to a handful of locals, and the shared use of fiber they need to install anyway.

Maine cannot afford to be a cheap date. We must not sacrifice our promising solar and offshore wind industries – which would provide true greenhouse gas benefits and more jobs for Maine citizens – just to help CMP and Hydro-Québec boost profits on their lucrative deal with Massachusetts.


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