November 8, 2019
In the most recent News & Noteworthy, we’ve got lots of good news to share! We hope you enjoy reading the items as much as we did.
If you were tuned in to Maine Calling recently, you likely cheered as NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees set the record straight with Hydro-Quebec CEO:
Eric Martel appeared Tuesday on Maine Calling, and fielded questions from critics of the project, including Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Voorhees criticized Hydro-Quebec for making claims to editorial boards and on the air about project facts, but never in permit proceedings in Maine. Martel said he’d be happy to discuss the project with Voorhees. “I’ll invite you – the next time I’m here I’d love to sit with you so that we can go through these points and make sure that we all have the right information, but..” “Under oath?” Voorhees asked. “Ah, I don’t need to do that under oath,” Martel answered, “but I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer, so all this…” “Well that’s how we do things when we provide information to the Public Utilities Commission,” Voorhees said. “It’s under oath and other people get to ask us questions in public, in a transparent way.” Listen to the full story.
In other Corridor news, CMP corridor opposition forces quickly collected more than 25,000 signatures since launching the ballot referendum initiative:
Opponents of Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line project through western Maine say the effort to put the issue on the 2020 ballot got a boost from Tuesday’s election. The group “No CMP Corridor” says it has collected more than 25,000 signatures after deploying volunteers to polling places around the state. The group needs to submit more than 60,000 valid signatures to the Secretary of State by February 3 in order to qualify for the 2020 ballot. Read more.
In fact, some media outlets report that signing the referendum motivated many voters to get to the polls:
Election Day turnout light in central Maine, though some motivated by CMP petition
Even before the light rain started to fall midday, voter turnout at the polls across central Maine was light Tuesday, although clerks said voters were casting ballots in a steady stream and several people said they were motivated to sign a petition calling for a statewide referendum on the controversial Central Maine Power corridor proposal.
Residents of Woolwich made their feelings about the CMP proposal clear by revoking their initial support for the project:
Voters Tuesday revoked the town’s support of Central Maine Power’s proposed 145-mile transmission line that would send hydropower from Canada to Massachusetts. According to unofficial election results, 585 people voted in opposition to the proposed corridor, and 176 voted in favor. On a second referendum question Tuesday, residents voted 611-158 to have the select board withdraw a 2017 letter selectmen had written in support of the project. Now, board members will draft a new letter opposing the corridor push.
Meanwhile, environmental progress at the federal level have not just stalled, it’s moving backwards, as Trump moves ahead with his vow to pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, described in the BDN opinion piece:
President Donald Trump’s announcement Monday that his administration had begun the formal process of removing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, a global agreement to tackle climate change, was not a surprise. He announced in May 2017 that he was going to take this ill-advised step. Monday was the first day that countries could announce their intention to leave the global agreement. The withdrawal process takes a year. If Trump is not re-elected next year and a new president decides to resume American membership in the climate pact, reversing Trump’s move would be simple and quick. But that is a big if, and either way, it is still disheartening to see the U.S., which had long been a leader on numerous international problems, walk away from a commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions. With new reports, including ones from agencies within the Trump Administration, showing that climate change — and its consequences — are worse than previously predicted, this is not a time for backsliding on needed policies and changes to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap warm air around the Earth, leading to higher average global temperatures, more intense storms, increasing numbers of wildfires, and other deadly consequences.
We were delighted to see that our new neighbor, Governor Janet Mills, erected solar panels at the Blaine House this week:
The installation of solar panels at the governor’s mansion in Augusta got underway Tuesday, fulfilling a vow by Gov. Janet Mills to lead by example in the state’s effort to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 2050. Workers from ReVision Energy read measurements as they construct a large solar tracker, which follows the sun across the sky, on the front lawn of the mansion grounds. And nearby on the garage, a two-man crew installed mounts for rooftop panels. There are no panels on the roof of the Blaine House, which is a national historic landmark. Mills’ office says the project costs $63,000 and will reduce the mansion’s electricity bill — roughly $11,000 last year — by about 25 percent in the first year.