Joel Clement and Pete Didisheim (Maine Voices, Dec. 9) offer five reasons for the vote against New England Clean Energy Connect in November, namely: the project’s “inadequate” planning, “cheap” site selection, “weak” public involvement, “insulting” public benefits and “unverified” climate benefits. Let’s examine each claim.

NECEC has been in the planning for most of a decade and underwent three years of elaborate review by Maine’s Land Use Planning Commission, Department of Environmental Protection and Public Utilities Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers and federal Department of Energy. Site selection was done with care, avoiding high-value and ecologically important places, and was even improved in the regulatory process.

Public engagement took place in hundreds of meetings with local and county officials and private citizens. Public benefits to Maine and local communities were thoughtfully brokered by Gov. Mills, herself. Substantial climate benefits were calculated for the PUC by the respected London Economics International and affirmed by the federal DOE.

Because it threatens their profits, three national purveyors of dirty fossil fuels mounted a massive media campaign against NECEC. Their strategy is to ally with local and nongovernmental organization opponents; spread disinformation; stoke popular fears and resentments; dismiss substantial workforce, financial and climate benefits; undermine confidence in state regulators, and defeat clean-energy competition by endless legal delay.

Clement and Didisheim now suggest that we create a New England-wide “strategic, long-term transmission and distribution” plan to help address climate change. And so they would have this perfect plan become the enemy of the good – namely, the CEC opportunity before us today!

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