20 Towns Have Voted to Oppose or Rescind Support
NRCM News Release
(Augusta, ME) – Six more towns in western Maine have all voted in the past two weeks to overwhelmingly oppose the Central Maine Power (CMP) corridor project. The United Steelworker’s Maine Labor Council and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local S6, the largest union at the Bath Iron Works, have also joined the chorus of opposition to the troubled transmission line, citing concerns about the project’s negative impact on clean energy jobs.
The resounding votes are yet another example of how the CMP corridor faces eroding support as widespread opposition continues to grow in every corner of the state. Mainers in 20 towns, as well as the Franklin County Commissioners and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, have now opposed or rescinded their support for the corridor proposal.
- On Thursday, June 27, Moscow residents voted 35-9 to oppose the project.
- On Tuesday, June 25, Anson residents voted 98-12 to oppose the project.
- On Monday, June 24, Jay residents voted overwhelmingly by a show of hands vote to oppose.
- On Monday, June 17, Pownal residents voted 76-27 to oppose.
- On Tuesday, June 11, Greenville voted 290-58 and New Sharon voted 82-4 to state their opposition.
“These votes help demonstrate that public support for the CMP corridor is collapsing statewide,” said Pete Didisheim, Advocacy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Opposition to the CMP project is red hot in western Maine, including in towns like Jay and Farmington that one might think stand to gain the most through property taxes or temporary jobs. But Maine people know a bad deal when they see it, and they overwhelmingly believe this project is a bad deal for Maine. I cannot think of a project in recent Maine history that’s less popular than this one. Six months ago, CMP proudly claimed that every one of these 20 towns supported the project.”
A statewide poll showed 72% of Mainers believe that the project is a “bad deal for Maine people” and 65% of Mainers oppose the project, with only 15% supporting it. The numbers get worse for CMP in the region closest to the project area, where 90% of voters in Franklin County and 83% of voters in Somerset County are opposed to the proposed power line. More than 10,000 Mainers have signed a petition opposing the project.
During the most recent legislative session, bipartisan majorities of lawmakers repeatedly voted in support of three bills dealing with the CMP corridor project, but the bills were ultimately defeated by a massive lobbying campaign launched by CMP that included social media advertising, mailers sent to voters’ homes, and the hiring of dozens of State House lobbyists to fight the bills.
In May, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a strongly worded letter detailing concerns about CMP’s rushed proposal, calling on the US Army Corps of Engineers to focus its review on the serious environmental impacts of the project, as well as CMP’s failure to fully examine less-damaging alternatives as part of its permit application.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has given the CMP corridor one of its needed permits, but the troubled project faces many layers of additional review, any one of which could ultimately lead to its defeat if a permit is denied. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Land Use Planning Commission are currently reviewing the project and a final decision is not expected until Fall 2019. CMP also has to receive several local and federal permits.
For more information and background material on the CMP transmission corridor, visit https://www.nrcm.org/climate/cmp-transmission-line-proposal/.