Consider these facts. Three major corporations from Texas and Florida fund a political action committee in Maine. They call themselves “Mainers for Local Power.” This month (according to their 11-Day Pre-General Election Report), that PAC writes a single $570,000 check to Washington, D.C., political operatives. The payment is for the collection of petition signatures from Maine voters in order to place a referendum question on the 2021 Maine ballot.

Out-of-state interests employing out-of-state operatives to manipulate Maine’s voter initiative process: Do you think this is news? I do.

Yet, for reasons that defy understanding, no significant news outlet has covered this story.

The corporations involved (Calpine, NextEra and Vistra) are electricity generators and major greenhouse-gas polluters in Maine: together, annually emitting nearly 1 million tons of climate-changing CO2 into Maine’s atmosphere.

Their aim? To stop New England Clean Energy Connect, a project that will deliver 1,200 megawatts of non-polluting, low carbon, renewable hydroelectricity from Québec to Maine and New England (i.e., nearly enough electricity to power every home in Maine).

These out-of-state oil and gas interests are paying signature gatherers in yet another effort to stop a clean-energy project that has received the stamp of approval every step of the way, from environmental agencies, energy regulators and the courts – all of them impartial entities tasked with establishing the facts and safeguarding the public interest.

When major polluters spend so heavily to influence us, we ought to take notice.

Tom Rumpf

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