An issue many Central Maine Power corridor opponents have is the lack of a full environmental impact study. The Environmental Protection Agency requested and received one for an earlier effort in New Hampshire. It recommended burying most of the power lines in the project to reduce impact on the environment, at a price tag of $1.6 billion.

The EPA requested a full environmental impact study in Maine asking for it to specifically consider underground and other options.  The Army Corps of Engineers is being sued for not carrying out a full environmental impact study of the CMP corridor and opting for a less rigorous “environmental assessment.” For a project that establishes a new cut of 53 miles – crossing over 250 streams and the Appalachian Trail – why was a full study not completed?

Hydro-Quebec now has a second option. New England Clean Energy Connect, with no environmental impact study, will use above-ground lines and cost $950 million. For a project that once touted itself as all about the environment, why avoid the full study and doing the right thing for the environment in Maine’s forest? Hydro-Quebec’s financial forecasts project a $10 billion profit over 20 years from the corridor. Why not follow the EPA guidelines and profit $9.4 billion?

NECEC is not about getting clean energy to New England and helping the environment. They could already have the lines in place through Vermont if that were the case. NECEC is about Hydro-Quebec profiting an additional $600 million. As residents of Maine, we don’t owe them that opportunity at all.

Eric Bakke

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