New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC, is a proposed transmission line that will bring clean hydropower from Quebec into New England. Mainers need to understand the facts about this project, and the many tangible benefits we’ll get in return for hosting this new line.

Typically project benefits are weighed in relation to impacts — the greater the impacts, the more mitigation needed for an overall positive outcome. If a project taps into public lands or waters like a national forest or Lake Champlain, those impacts must be mitigated.

My preference as a fisheries biologist and conservationist would be to avoid those impacts in the first place. The NECEC route is owned by Central Maine Power and most of the route follows an existing transmission corridor. That’s good planning and doesn’t call for a massive, expensive package for avoided impacts.

No project, however, is without some impacts, so Mainers should be pleased about the agreement reached with western Maine rafters to endow a $22 million fund for the region, donate important recreation land, and install fiber for broadband to rural communities. There are other significant benefits too, including hundreds of jobs, millions in annual electric savings, and millions in new property taxes to all the towns along the route.

Massachusetts, focused on reducing carbon emissions, pays for the project and Maine is the big winner in that we will have cleaner air blowing over us.

We’ve come a long way since oil and coal generation. But the demand for electricity grows and we need new, emission-free sources. In addition to wind and solar, firm hydropower is the best answer.

Maine’s fortunate NECEC was selected. It is a real economic and environmental windfall. Let’s all work to get it approved for the benefit of our children and their children.

Richard Anderson

former commissioner,

Department of Conservation (1981-1987)

Portland

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