I vote every year and every election, and this year on Nov. 2, I will be voting “no” on Question 1 to let the CMP power corridor continue construction. I will be doing this because, after musing on it for awhile (mostly during my daily two-hour commute – prime musing time) I have come to the conclusion that I support the construction of the Hydro-Quebec/CMP collaboration that is the power line corridor.

I did not come to this decision easily. Throughout the ongoing battle, both sides have annoyed the heck out of me. No matter what side of the issue you’re on, I’m sure everyone reading this is just as eager for an end to the 30-second radio and television ad spots, internet ads following me around the web, and the mailers that my dog keeps trying to eat out of the recycling bin. Both sides have accused each other of being shills for out-of-state money – conveniently ignoring that any big political campaign in Maine is going to be mostly funded from out-of-state, because, uh, Mainers don’t have a lot of money.

Before anyone asks: No, I am not being bribed by CMP. (They didn’t even ask.) While I maintain that CMP’s line workers (you know, the folks who show up right after the storm blows over to patch up your downed power line, which is never safe to touch – evah!) are the best in the business, I dislike their corporate side as much as any Mainer and possibly more. CMP has been coasting on our warm fuzzy memories from the Ice Storm of  ’98 for years. As someone who works in customer services and prides herself on being good at it, I’m particularly disgusted at their customer service quality nosedive in recent years. As a member of the town of Buxton’s planning board, I have had the misfortune of dealing with CMP from that angle. I do not like their vibe. And as far as I’m concerned, Avangrid and Iberdrola can feel free to eat my shorts. I have zero sense of loyalty to their profits. Personally, I was hoping that the bill to force a buyout of CMP to create a consumer-owned public utility for Maine would pass and I will probably support those efforts in the future.

I was also torn about the impact on the local forests. I mean, at least 53 miles of trees are going to have to be cut down for this. The thought brings me no joy. Clear-cutting is a tragedy; there’s something emotionally devastating about viewing it, even if it’s for a good cause. I always cry at the part in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where the Ents (giant talking trees) see, for the first time, swaths of their ancestral forest slashed and burned at the behest of the cruel wizard Saruman.

I support this project for one reason and one reason only, which can be summed up in two words: climate change. Climate change is the number one existential threat to civilization as we know it and to humanity in general. It’s already here and it’s already causing damage. Remember last summer, when the entire American West was on fire? Remember the fire tornadoes? There are going to be more fire tornadoes. Closer to home – in fact, right here in Maine, winters are getting warmer while winter storms, conversely, are getting harsher. Flooding will continue with increasing frequency. Even the changing of the fall foliage will be affected (which is sure to have an effect on our economy. Tourists don’t come to stare at brown leaves).

Climate change is a bigger problem than any individual town, state, or country. In fact, every individual town, state, and country putting its own interests first, to the detriment of the planet as a whole, is what has gotten us to this place. The word “vital” comes from the Latin root “vita,” meaning “life.” It is vital to life itself that we decarbonize our economy as fast as humanly possible (and honestly, faster if we can manage it). A power line bringing hydroelectric power to New England is better than any oil pipeline. Will this project solve all our problems? Absolutely not! Will it cause some problems? Probably! Are groups on both sides of the issue playing fast and loose with numbers to make their arguments look more appealing? You betcha!

But we need to stop burning fossil fuels, and this project will help us do that. So I’m in favor of it. Even if it means CMP gets to make a profit. (Ugh.)

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
Twitter: @mainemillennial

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