Question 1, if approved on Nov. 2, would essentially invalidate the regulatory approvals obtained by Central Maine Power from the Maine Land Use Planning Commission and the Maine DEP in 2020 for its proposed powerline corridor to bring renewable, hydroelectric power to Massachusetts as part of that state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. Instead, this referendum would substitute a political decision by the Legislature.

I had been on the fence regarding CMP’s proposal because my frustration with CMP’s poor customer service clouded the real issue on the ballot: Does the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, benefiting the nation and Maine in our battle against climate change, outweigh the negative environmental and social impacts in parts of Somerset and Franklin counties?

The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved the powerline in 2019. Their decision was partly based on whether it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and considered proponents’ and opponents’ estimates on those emissions. The PUC concluded the project would substantially reduce greenhouse gas discharges into our atmosphere by 3 million to 3.6 million metric tons/year.

This referendum has also become about corporate profits. CMP and Hydro-Quebec would make a bundle of money from power sales if this power line is completed. They have raised $37 million to oppose Question 1. Less well known is that most funding to convince us to vote in favor of Question 1 comes from Maine’s natural gas power plant owners, including NextEra Energy, Vistra Energy and Calpine Corp. Their political action committees have raised $9.5 million. These Texas fossil fuel corporations are already making bundles of money off New England ratepayers and they want to protect those profits from competition.

The bottom line is the climate change benefits of the powerline greatly outweighs its negative impacts. I will therefore vote against Question 1.


George Seel


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