Central Maine Power and Hydro-Quebec are spending an obscene amount of money in their desperate attempt to force the deeply unpopular Central Maine Power corridor through the forests of western Maine.

These corporations have placed more campaign ads in our newspapers than most Mainers have ever seen in such a short period, with five full-page ads in the March 13 Press Herald alone.

This comes atop an endless stream of TV and digital ads, and nearly daily brochures in our mailboxes.

Their campaign materials make wild claims.

We are told that CMP’s 145-mile transmission line from Quebec to Massachusetts will stop climate change, curb Lyme disease, stem the rising seas and protect future generations.

A recent CMP mailer asks us to imagine a future of lobster rolls without lobster, and blueberry pies without blueberries, because that’s our future if we don’t build the “Clean Energy Corridor,” their rebranded name for the CMP transmission corridor. Or so we’re told.

These extreme claims have no basis in reality. CMP and Hydro-Quebec have provided no verifiable evidence that the project would reduce global carbon pollution, and is nothing more than a shell game by Hydro-Quebec shifting power to Massachusetts from other, less-lucrative markets.

After opposing virtually every major climate and clean-energy initiative in Maine over the past two decades, CMP wants us to believe they are now a climate crusader.

The torrent of CMP campaign materials about purported climate benefits of the corridor must be what their political consultants believe is necessary to salvage the project from red-hot opposition from Mainers.

Maine people know a bad deal when they see it.

Twenty-five Maine towns have voted to rescind their support or oppose the CMP corridor. Polling last year showed that 65 percent of Mainers oppose the project, with opposition in Franklin and Somerset counties exceeding 80 percent. Two of Maine’s largest labor unions oppose the project and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine withdrew support.

The secretary of state has certified that enough voters signed a petition to put the CMP corridor on the ballot for an up or down vote.

This widespread opposition is making the shareholders extremely nervous.

During a recent earnings call with CMP’s parent company, Avangrid, investors were agitated by the possibility that Maine people might defeat their cash cow. Hydro-Quebec also is worried.

Hydro-Quebec stands to make $12.4 billion on this project, and CMP and its parent companies would earn $2 billion, the Bangor Daily News has reported.

Hydro-Quebec has never been willing to appear at a regulatory or permitting proceeding in Maine to defend claims about the projects’ alleged climate benefits with actual data, but the company rushed a top lawyer to Augusta to testify against a bill that would ban foreign government-owned companies like Hydro-Quebec from influencing Maine elections.

The idea that most Mainers oppose this project is untenable to both CMP and Hydro-Quebec.

That’s why CMP and Hydro-Quebec have retained some of the most expensive lobbyists, law firms and campaign consultants that money can buy, and why they’re on track to set new spending records for a referendum campaign in Maine – spending nearly $10 million since October for an election that’s still six months away.

But what officials from these companies don’t understand from their offices in Quebec, Connecticut and Spain is that Mainers are determined to preserve a part of this state and a way of life that’s priceless to them.

The CMP corridor would permanently damage some of the nation’s best and last remaining, intact brook trout habitat. It would forever scar a forested landscape of global significance that Mainers hold dear.

CMP and Hydro-Quebec should stop spending millions on their propaganda campaign to sell Mainers a project we don’t want. Rein in the private investigators and campaign consultants and tell the lawyers to stop threatening to sue the state if the people of Maine stop this project, like the people of New Hampshire stopped its predecessor, the Northern Pass. Let us exercise our constitutional rights to vote on whether we support this project or not.

Although Maine agencies have done their reviews, the time has come for Maine people to decide on a project with such massive consequences for our state.


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