Much has been written in the Portland Press Herald about the New England Clean Energy Connect. Sadly, considerably more attention has been devoted to project impacts than to why this project is needed.

I invite the public to consider that our planet Earth has a surprisingly thin atmospheric layer that controls climate and protects us all from cosmic and infrared radiation.

Solid and gaseous combustible contaminants and particulates in the atmosphere result from the combustion of fossil fuels and industrial processes. The relatively recent activities of civilization threaten to alter the protective qualities of this layer on which all life depends.

The clean-energy corridor will provide needed relief to an already-stressed atmosphere. Back in the 1960s, Maine’s Sen. Edmund Muskie recognized a similar crisis. Rivers were so fouled and discolored by industrial pollutants that fish could not survive. Like now, his Clean Water Act was opposed by companies benefiting from using the rivers for free waste disposal.

Similarly, the clean-energy corridor is opposed by fossil fuel companies like Calpine Corp. and Vistra Energy, which benefit from high electricity costs. The project will lower electricity costs and affect the gas companies’ profits.

What if opponents had succeeded in blocking Sen. Muskie’s Clean Water Act? The results are unthinkable. Likewise, society needs the clean-energy corridor and upgraded transmission to achieve our climate goals. Failure to recognize the value of clean, renewable power for Maine and New England further imperils our fragile atmospheric level, the consequences of which are also unthinkable.

Walter A. Anderson
Maine state geologist emeritus, Maine Geological Survey (1968-95);
Geological Society of America, Fellow
North Yarmouth

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