Having spent all of my career with Central Maine Power, Duke Energy, Spectra Energy and Maritimes & Northeast as transmission construction superintendent, designer and inspector, I am very familiar with Maine’s energy landscape. I support the New England Clean Energy Connect project, as it is a major step in displacing fossil fuel electricity that will eliminate literally tons of carbon from the environment by using the cleaner energy of hydropower as a baseload source (“Massachusetts utilities sign deal key to CMP power line project through Maine,” June 14).

That’s why I was surprised to see Patagonia come out so strongly in opposition to this environmentally beneficial project.

I reviewed the proposed river crossing of NECEC in 2011 with CMP officials while rafting the gorge, and I believe the route and design — one set of wires hundreds of feet in the air with forested visual buffers — has been carefully planned for minimal environmental impact.

A certain irony seems to be lost in the fact that rafters enjoy the river because of hydropower. Someone had to give up land and view miles of transmission lines years ago so rafters today can enjoy the gorge below Harris Station.

Mainers will also benefit from the jobs that the project will create through permitting and construction during its development, as well as millions in new property tax revenue annually. The addition of 1200 MW to the grid will provide steady, reliable electrical energy to a system that has been strained in severe weather.

CMP has also recently announced a $22 million investment offer for conservation efforts.

With the benefits from NECEC, and CMP’s commitment to conservation, I am having a hard time understanding Patagonia’s opposition. Mainers will benefit from this project, and it’s a needed move towards cleaner electricity that helps protect our environment.

Robert Harradon


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