Fails to address key concern on climate impact, is out of step with growing opposition from Mainers
NRCM news release
Augusta, ME — The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) staff today issued their “Examiner’s Report” for the Central Maine Power (CMP) corridor project. The review makes several troubling conclusions and includes a recommended decision from the hearing examiners. It is not the final PUC decision, but will inform the Commissioners as they make their final decision on the case.
The Report was released just a day after Senator Mark Lawrence, co-chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Energy, Utilities & Technology said, “I think it’s time the PUC puts a stop to this settlement agreement, that we take some time to look at this again, to accurately assess what, if any, benefits for Maine and what are the dangers.” Lawrence was speaking at a press conference organized by a bipartisan group of legislators opposed to the project.
In a statement released by the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), Staff Attorney Sue Ely expressed deep disappointment in the Examiner’s Report because the PUC’s conclusions failed to adequately address major concerns about the project’s impact on climate change, in-state clean energy projects, and damage done to Maine’s North Woods.
Sue’s full statement is below:
“It is especially troubling that the Examiner’s Report fails to adequately address the fundamental problems with the CMP corridor, including our primary concern that no verifiable evidence has been provided by CMP or Hydro-Quebec to prove that their enormous transmission line would actually result in a net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. A primary piece of evidence the staff relied on was a single paragraph from Hydro-Quebec that parties were not allowed to question or seek verification of. The Report also dismisses serious concerns raised by many that the CMP corridor would block new, in-state clean energy projects and damage critical brook trout and deer wintering habitat.
“It is important to note that the PUC has not conducted or considered any independent and comprehensive analysis of the CMP corridor’s full impact on global greenhouse gas emissions, including the very real possibility the project is merely a shell game to shift existing hydropower to Massachusetts so Hydro-Quebec can make more money.
“Maine residents deserve to have all the facts on this project. The very limited review that was included in the economic analysis conducted by PUC’s consultant did not fully or accurately account for the full scope of emissions impacts. That’s why NRCM is urging passage of LD 640, which would require an independent, fair, and comprehensive analysis of the CMP corridor’s impact on climate change-causing emissions.
“What has become undeniably clear is that Maine people don’t support the CMP corridor and opposition, especially in western Maine, continues to grow. Eleven towns in the region and the Franklin County Commissioners have already opposed or rescinded their support for the project. The PUC has received more than 1,300 public comments urging the Commission to reject this project and heard more than 12 hours of public testimony during three days of public hearings. Of the 116 people who testified at the PUC’s public hearings, 99 opposed the project and 17 supported it. Mainers know that the CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine and the PUC should, too.”
The PUC’s review is just one step in a long and complicated review process. CMP’s corridor faces many layers of review, any one of which could ultimately lead to its defeat if a permit is denied. Upcoming milestones for the ongoing review of CMP’s corridor project include:
- The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Land Use Planning Commission will hold hearings on the CMP corridor project from April 1-5 at the University of Maine at Farmington. In advance of April’s hearings, CMP is attempting to silence the voices of state experts and local citizens. NRCM attorney Sue Ely recently wrote to the DEP opposing CMP’s blatant attempt to limit testimony in opposition to its project.
Editor’s note: The public hearings where residents will have the opportunity to comment, express their opposition, and urge the DEP and LUPC to withhold permits will be held in the Lincoln Auditorium on the evenings on Tuesday, April 2 at 6:00 p.m. and Thursday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m.
- In addition to PUC, DEP, and LUPC approval, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has to approve the project and CMP would have to get several local, state, and federal permits for the project.
For more information and background material on the CMP transmission corridor visit: https://www.nrcm.org/projects/climate/proposed-cmp-transmission-line-bad-deal-maine/