Chuck Noyes, far right, owner of Noyes Family Farm, sits on a tractor wheel and listens to farmers speak in opposition to a proposed transmission corridor during a July 19 protest on Main Street in Albion. Residents at a special town meeting this week voted to approve a moratorium on utility projects as officials work up regulations meant to counteract the impact of the proposed Aroostook Renewable Gateway Project. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

ALBION — Residents at a special town meeting this week voted to approve a moratorium on utility lines and corridors that town officials say is meant to send a signal to the Missouri-based power company that’s proposing a transmission corridor through the region extending from Aroostook County.

The Select Board had previously approved sending the question to residents who OK’d the moratorium in a vote Monday. About 50 people voted and all were in support of the measure.

“The moratorium will give the town adequate time to work on an ordinance to mitigate the impact of any potential utility corridor,” said Thomas Bolen, who is chairman of a panel called the Albion Transmission Line Committee.

He said any ordinance that’s adopted will seek to regulate utility projects ranging from the high-impact one proposed by LS Power to smaller, more standard utility work in town.

“It sends a message to LS Power that we’re not going to simply do nothing, but rather take time to think this through and act properly and appropriately,” Bolen said.

Selectman Paul Flynn said the moratorium is for six months and the Select Board has the option to extend it another six months.


He said in light of the rapid growth in alternative energy sources, both solar and wind, it’s important for the town to develop rules now to prepare for other projects that may develop.

“The powerline moratorium is a simple endeavor to place a cease and desist for any construction until the townspeople have had a chance to determine a sound, acceptable, safe means to move high voltage power through Albion,” Flynn said in an email. “We are not opposed to renewable energy; a stunning majority is in favor of renewable energy, yet question its delivery.”

A spokesman for LS Power, Doug Mulvey, said in an email Thursday that the company had not yet reviewed the moratorium language.

“We have been meeting with landowners, towns and other stakeholders receiving feedback on our alternative routes,” he said. “Our focus is on receiving and considering feedback, improving the preliminary routes, and minimizing impacts to all stakeholders to the extent possible.”

The Aroostook Renewable Gateway Project, proposed by LS Power Grid Maine, a subsidiary of LS Power, would extend transmission lines across some 150 miles to tap into northern Maine’s robust wind power resources. Aroostook County lacks a connection to New England’s electric grid, but the project would change that.

Gov. Janet Mills signed off on a bill in June providing momentum to the high-voltage corridor. Supporters tout, among other things, the jobs the project would generate in northern Maine, but central Maine farmers say its construction could destroy farms that families have operated for generations by clearing productive agricultural land and driving down property values.

Should the project receive the various permits and approvals that are still needed, land-clearing would be scheduled for 2026 with the transmission of power through the corridor up and running by late 2028.

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