As an avid fly-fisher and many-generation Mainer, I have a profound appreciation for our beautiful state and its natural environment. Serious threats to Maine’s natural environment are toxic waste and climate change due to carbon emissions.

Many don’t realize that intermittent alternative energy sources like wind and solar involve environmental hazards. Petrochemicals are used to produce wind turbine blades and solar panels. Solar panels contain toxic materials such as lead, carcinogenic cadmium and hexavalent chromium. Because solar panels need replacing every 10 to 20 years, environmental scientists are saying that solar panel waste could be the next environmental toxic waste disaster facing the United States.

The New England Clean Energy Connect corridor will bring clean, renewable and reliable hydropower from Quebec to Lewiston, significantly increasing Maine’s and New England’s power grid baseload, while reducing the use of harmful, carbon-emitting fossil fuels and toxic materials.

We have over 17 million acres of forests in Maine; more than 95 percent are privately owned working forests and approximately 500,000 acres of forest are harvested and managed annually. Most of the proposed single-pole direct-current line to Lewiston will be placed in existing corridors. From Beattie Township to Harris Station on Indian Pond, 964 acres of privately owned working forest will be cleared 150 feet wide for the direct-current line. Herbicide-free buffers will be created near water bodies.

For perspective, consider that there are hundreds of miles of logging roads all over western Maine, not to mention thousands of mountain forest acres permanently cleared for ski slopes – over 1,200 acres at Sugarloaf alone.

Clean, reliable and renewable energy is critical for both Maine’s energy supply and environment. New England Clean Energy Connect will bring much-needed clean and reliable power to Maine while providing effective environmental stewardship.

Jessica Sullivan

Cape Elizabeth


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