COVID-19 has exposed the cracks in Maine’s economy. We are too reliant on tourism to generate state revenues and we will feel the effects of this crisis for years to come.

If Maine wants to thrive in the future, we will need to shift the diversity of our industries. We need to manufacture products and sell it beyond our state borders, importing dollars from away and injecting it into the local economy. Manufacturing tends to be high-paying jobs that pay consistent wages, compared to a seasonal opportunity that lasts for a few months.

Meanwhile, I constantly see and hear advertisements for the Central Maine Power corridor and its supposed benefits. This incessant level of advertising sends a signal that certain organizations stand to gain from this deal.

Hydro-Quebec estimates that the power sold directly to Massachusetts will generate $7.8 billion in revenue over 20 years, which will be a major driver of profitability. CMP stands to make $60 million a year. Maine is making pennies from this deal.

It’s time to renegotiate the CMP corridor and use the proceeds to reduce energy costs for all Mainers. Right now, Maine is one of the most expensive states in the country for electricity, yet we are located directly next to Canadian residents who pay half as much.

We have the chance to give Hydro-Quebec what they want, but in exchange, we should use this opportunity to build a more resilient economy that attracts makers. A lower electricity bill for all is a great place to start.

Luke Thomas

South Portland

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