Our Say “NO” to NECEC group of residents, taxpayers and ratepayers passionately believes that no amount of mitigation can offset permanent environmental impacts to un-fragmented forest from New England Clean Energy Connect, which is neither needed for reliability nor will address reducing global CO2 emissions. 

At a recent Public Utilities Commission conference, it was noted that Central Maine Power, Hydro-Quebec and Public Advocate Barry Hobbins are in discussions about a possible mitigation payment from Hydro-Quebec. Maine is not for sale. Huge corporations shouldn’t be allowed to take advantage of us as long as they make a big enough bribe, and Maine should not get in the habit of extorting big payments from corporations as a condition of doing business in our state. This would be a terrible precedent.

The idea of a payout from NECEC first arose in July, when Hobbins said he would settle for “not a penny less” than the $50 million NECEC has offered to low-income ratepayers in Massachusetts. For Maine ratepayers, a $50 million mitigation over the life of the contract would be less than $2 per year for the average ratepayer.

We read about Gov. LePage’s “secret” trip to Spain and his subsequent comment that Iberdrola, CMP’s parent company, is not ready to add more to a mitigation agreement. Now the focus has shifted to the deep pockets of Hydro-Quebec, presumably for a much higher sum.

At the recent case conference, counsel for one of the only intervenors that supports NECEC suggested that, since Hydro-Quebec apparently stands to reap $200 million in annual profits from the deal, it should be the entity to buy enough support to make our regulators and politicians look the other way. That is wrong on so many levels. We hope the PUC will make its decision based on the record in front of them and determine there is no public need in Maine for NECEC.

Sandra Howard

Caratunk