Columnist George Smith frequently and effectively describes climate risks in his columns. But now he describes the New England Clean Energy Connect power line as a disaster that no one who loves Maine should support (“The Central Maine Power project is wrong for western Maine,” April 17).

Everyone who loves Maine should support it because of the risks coming from climate change. The real disaster to our northern forests includes the death of the boreal forest of spruce and fir, the loss of the alpine zone, and serious damage from the northern migration of damaging insects like the southern pine beetle. If you like to hike Maine mountains these risks are staggering. Fresh and saltwater fish are already threatened by warming waters and prolonged droughts are predicted.

It’s time to come to grips with the challenge of meeting the critical goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 as proposed by Gov. Janet Mills. This will never happen without sacrifices at the personal, corporate and governmental level globally. If you care about your kids and grandchildren, this is a moral issue.

American use of fossil fuels surged 10 percent in 2018, led by natural gas, which provides 49 percent of the electricity in the New England grid. Smith complains that CMP’s profits would go to CMP’s parent company, Iberdrola, a global leader in wind power. But today they go to the fossil fuel industry, the dark money funder of the opposition.

Complaints about the loss of carbon sequestering trees through an industrial forest and an existing corridor pale by comparison to those removed by the biomass industry, another project opponent.

Smith dismisses electric vehicles because of our cold climate, but transportation is the leading source of carbon emissions in Maine. My moderately priced electric vehicle has a range of 140 miles on the coldest winter day and more than 300 in the summer. Electric vehicles represent 58 percent of Norwegian new car sales. In Maine, there are multiple charging stations from Augusta south but more are needed in western and northern Maine, and those installations are part of the NECEC stipulation agreement.

Only 4 percent of New England’s power is produced by wind and solar, and this project could provide twice that amount. It’s time to accept the sacrifices needed to avoid a climate disaster.

 

Tony Marple lives in Whitefield.


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