WOOLWICH — Woolwich voters Tuesday revoked the town’s support of Central Maine Power’s proposed 145-mile transmission line that would send hydropower from Canada to Massachusetts.

According to unofficial election results, 585 people voted in opposition to the proposed corridor, and 176 voted in favor. On a second referendum question Tuesday, residents voted 611-158 to have the select board withdraw a 2017 letter selectmen had written in support of the project. Now, board members will draft a new letter opposing the corridor push.

“This should always have been a townwide vote rather than a vote of the select board, and I’m pleased so many came out to express their view on the CMP corridor,” said board member Allison Hepler, who wrote the letter of support in 2017, but had since changed her mind on the matter. “I expect the select board will be fulfilling its obligation to inform CMP of the vote taken by the people of Woolwich at its next meeting.”

Board members decided not to rescind their original letter in a 3-2 vote in September, and locals Danielle Friend and Sherri Harvey launched a petition to put the question before voters. Hepler had voted to rescind the 2017 letter, which she wrote, in September but was overruled by Selectmen Allen Greene, Jason Shaw and Chairman David King Sr.

Friend and Harvey argued the town needed to look at the CMP corridor as a whole, rather than focusing on the nearly one-mile portion that stretches into Woolwich.

“The project will not benefit Maine, it will do detrimental harm,” said Friend in August. “There’s a 53-mile stretch of this state that will be cut into that is untouched, beautiful and pristine.”


The proposed project would lead to the installation of 145 miles of transmission line across western Maine starting from the Canadian border in Franklin County, through Somerset County and ending in Lewiston. In addition, CMP is looking to install lines on its existing infrastructure on a corridor in the Midcoast between Windsor and Woolwich.

“This is an area that has been logged and harvested on a regular basis. We located the project carefully in an area that is already impacted,” Dickenson said in August.

In a letter to the editor, King, Shaw and Greene wrote, “The proposed project, as it affects Woolwich, is simply adding lines to existing towers, in the existing CMP owned corridor. CMP is currently the largest taxpayer in the Town of Woolwich and their tax liability will increase, should the project proceed.”

CMP pays just over $360,000 in property taxes to Woolwich annually.

King said regardless of the election results, he believes the corridor would benefit Woolwich.

“The corridor is already there, the towers are already there, they’re just going to string two more wires up, and Woolwich will get more in property taxes from CMP,” said King. “We’ll abide by what the voters want. They want us to send a letter (revoking our support), so we’ll send the letter.”

Even if a town along the proposed transmission line rescinds its support or denies a permit allowing CMP to install the lines, the state’s Public Utilities Commission can override the denial if commissioners decide the project is needed for “public welfare and convenience.”

In April, the commission granted CMP a certificate stating the benefits of the proposed $1 billion transmission line outweigh harder-to-gauge impacts on scenery and outdoor recreation in the western Maine mountains.

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