Maine lawmakers need to protect public lands from CMP corridor

Legislation like LD 1075, being reviewed by our Legislature, is sorely needed to protect Maine’s public lands. The history of illegal and backdoor leases for use on public lands includes those obtained by international corporation Central Maine Power (owned by Spanish company Avangrid) for the wildly unpopular CMP Corridor.

Environmental stewardship and advocacy is in my blood. My father, Bob Cummings, penned newspaper articles in the 1970s that were instrumental in the recovery of our lands. They are managed in trust for the people of Maine by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, whose duty it is to protect them for future generations. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the Legislature before these lands can be reduced or substantially altered. BPL’s prior dealings with Central Maine Power have violated this requirement, circumventing the Legislature entirely.

Apparently the term “substantially altered” is open to gross misinterpretation by BPL. The Bureau contends that a power corridor with 100-plus foot poles traversing a mile by up-to-300 feet public lands, 33 acres, does not “substantially alter” those lands. Any objective analysis or Mainer can see that public lands would be altered and their uses frustrated by this utility corridor, which, like many other CMP leases across the state of Maine, will not be dismantled at the end of its 25-year lease term, but will stand, continuing to alter and impair our public lands, for generations.

I hope that our legislature will pass LD 1075, and I hope that all Mainers will join me in November in voting Yes to reject the CMP corridor.

Charlene Cummings,

Service to community can help rebuild our society

We need to mobilize to recover from disaster, not just the devastation of the pandemic but the devastation of our civic life that has been under assault for decades. The erosion of civic virtue and civility has accelerated along with the rise of the 24/7 infotainers posing as journalists and endlessly scrolling social media feeds spewing a relentless cacophony of dog-whistle doublespeak designed to rally outrage and clicks to buy bunker supplies, but not to solve anything.

To heal and rebuild our communities we need actions and not just words. We need to get our hands dirty and give up partisan posturing, virtue signaling and ideological purity. We need community service not lip service. We need Rep. Morgan Rielly’s bill LD 1010 and the Maine Service Fellows program to help keep our young people in the state as they build deep community connections while tackling our most persistent challenges of workforce development, housing and keeping seniors in their homes, access to health services to improve recovery and substance use prevention.

I was an AmeriCorps VISTA for two years and can attest that a commitment to service changes lives. Not just the lives in the community you serve, but your own life. I agree with General Stanley McChrystal that “serving together to solve public problems will build attachment to community and country, understanding among people who might otherwise be skeptical of one another and a new generation of leaders who can get things done.”

Orion Breen,

filed under: