Having served in the Maine Legislature and on the energy committee I have heard my share of testimony about climate change and Maine’s energy policy.

What really stunned me about last year’s referendum on the CMP corridor was how many groups who were concerned about carbon emissions were opposing a green energy alternative like hydro and walking lockstep with oil companies. If climate change is an existential threat, then one would think that more clean energy would be just what the doctor ordered. To take the stand they have leaves them open to deserved ridicule — and in fact weakens the arguments of those who actually walk the walk.

The results are now fairly obvious, with the price of oil currently stands, thanks in no small part to the war in Ukraine and Russia. I’d much rather be working with our friendly neighbors north of the border in Canada and use renewable energy than waiting on oil companies to drop their prices. It’s a better strategy for our pocketbook and our environment.

During the campaign, claims were being touted that Maine would only get 5% of the power while Massachusetts and the rest of New England would get the rest. I find it interesting that during the campaign opponents of the project said it would be of zero benefit to Maine. That’s number now seems to have changed. In truth, Mainers will actually be getting much more electricity. Hydro-Quebec signed an agreement to ensure just that.

We must also take a moment to acknowledge the basic laws of supply and demand. The claim that Mainers would barely see any savings in their bills is again inaccurate. Supplying the grid with 1,200 megawatts of renewable hydropower will create less demand for oil and natural gas, which in turn lowers prices. These are basic facts. The price of hydropower doesn’t spike. It remains steady because the supply is consistent.

The campaign to defeat the corridor played on the emotions of Mainers and nativist past to make its final point. It’s time for useless rhetoric such as this to be put to bed. If Maine, Massachusetts, or any other state wants to meet its ambitious renewable energy goals we have to work together. It’s time to realize solutions exist beyond our borders, and that the prudent strategy would be to explore every option.


This project was and continues to be a good deal for Maine. It creates hundreds of jobs, stimulates our economy and begins the process of weaning us off fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. It will provide cheaper electricity bills for Mainers at a time when it is desperately needed. Our forests will remain pristine. This project affects 1,000 acres of forested land in a state of 17 million acres!

My wife is from the Netherlands and I have spent a good deal of time there and watched Europe struggle with energy and climate issues. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has exposed what dependence on foreign oil can mean to countries. President Biden recently was rebuffed by the Saudis when asking for increased oil production to offset the Russian losses.

I learned from my middle school science teacher what he called Byron’s law, that water always flows downhill. The stability of the dams in Canada are far less volatile than the oil in Russia and the Middle East. It’s time we decide where we want to invest our time and money. Far too often young men go to faraway places to stabilize oil markets, when water flows downhill on its own.

But instead of supporting the NECEC or offering an alternative, those who oppose the project would prefer to live in the 17th century when Maine was a part of Massachusetts. Hopefully, the Maine Law Court will determine the referendum to block the corridor’s construction skirts the bounds of constitutionality and will overturn it. Maine hasn’t been a colony for 200 plus years. It’s time to change the status quo.

Lance Harvell is a resident of Farmington who served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives.

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