Re: “Commentary: Reasons for supporting CMP plan overlooked amid baseless criticism” (April 13):

Conflicts of interest with New England Clean Energy Connect are a real problem and are almost as frustrating as the project itself.

We know that the Conservation Law Foundation fought a similar corridor proposed in New Hampshire but supports the Maine version. Sean Mahoney is executive vice president and director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Maine Advocacy Center, and his brother, R. Scott Mahoney, is senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Avangrid, Central Maine Power’s parent company.

Western Mountains & Rivers Corp. was created just before the opening salvo for NECEC; coincidentally, they have a memorandum of understanding with CMP that provides $250,000 over five years plus another $5 million-$6 million for a visitor center and trail maintenance for the corridor. They have no website, and one of the eight board members is Peter Mills, a brother of Gov. Janet Mills. What is the director of the Maine Turnpike Authority doing on the board of a 501(c)3 organization in The Forks? Doesn’t anyone see that this is really far too close a connection and raises some serious questions from opponents but not proponents?

Heather Johnson joined Gov. Mills’ Cabinet and did the right thing by leaving the Western Mountains & Rivers board. But, again, the connection from Western Mountains & Rivers to CMP and the state government is difficult to ignore and just creates more resentment. Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmel has come out in favor of NECEC. Kimmel is the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. I have to ask: Why have few people highlighted these interesting connections?

Other conflicts also exist, such as the unfolding revelations regarding ties between Jay officials and CMP contractors. Nothing about this project has been anything but mysterious and rife with questions, false statements and subterfuge. Maybe it’s time to revert to transparency.


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