Regarding Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line through Maine, we need to know that hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec is far from completely “clean.” Their projects have wreaked havoc on the Pessamit Innu, whose ancestral lands generate about one-third of all Hydro-Quebec power. Their dams produce five-foot daily Betsiamites River fluctuations, causing major bank erosion with subsequent siltation downriver, destroying Atlantic salmon spawning areas. Salmon runs have plummeted; riparian mammal populations have also been severely impacted.

Artificial reservoirs have also recently been shown to inject surprisingly large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, produced by anaerobic decomposition of organic matter beneath the waters. This methane is some 30 times as effective as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

CMP claims their proposed corridor through Maine forests is modest in width, but ignores impacts of habitat fragmentation on animals that need continuous forest cover. Deer and other open-ground animals and birds will likely do well in the corridor, but others need continuous forest cover and corridors will impede their hunting and dispersal.

Proposed “benefits” to Maine of the project may also look good from the perspective of 2019, but by 2039 the value of fixed dollars promised will be greatly diminished.  Do we really want to be devastating Maine, for modest payback at best?

Increasing numbers of people are opposed, and efforts to minimize impacts on all fronts should be intensified. Burying lines along existing transportation corridors would both (a) minimize local environmental impacts, while (b) greatly reducing risk of weather-related service disruptions.

We also must remember that despite its name, Central Maine Power is not local, but a subsidiary of giant multinational Iberdrola. Even bill payments by mail don’t go to a Maine processing center — they go to Boston.

 

Robert E. Nelson

Clinton


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