What is the Proposed CMP Corridor?
Central Maine Power (CMP) is proposing to build a 145-mile transmission line through the heart of Maine to send hydropower from Quebec to electricity customers in Massachusetts.
NRCM opposes the CMP corridor because it is a bad deal for Maine. The line would permanently damage undeveloped forest and wildlife habitat, stifle Maine’s own renewable energy industry, and jeopardize the creation of clean energy jobs. The corridor won’t reduce global greenhouse gas emissions or create sustainable jobs for Maine people.
Read blog by NRCM Staff Attorney Sue Ely, explaining why the CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine and for the climate.
The proposed CMP transmission corridor is a bad deal for Maine. It would permanently damage globally significant, undeveloped portions of the North Woods and critical habitat for brook trout and other wildlife, without decreasing carbon pollution, our research indicates.
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What you need to know about the proposed CMP corridor:
- The project would forever damage forests and wildlife in Western Maine. There is no evidence it would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Mainers across the state are strongly opposed to the CMP corridor. Twenty-five Maine towns along the corridor have voted to oppose or rescind their support and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine withdrew its support.
- A citizens referendum on the November 2020 ballot will give Maine voters the opportunity to vote to stop the corridor from being built.
- Central Maine Power and Hydro-Quebec are breaking campaign finance records, spending obscene amount of money – more than $16 million to date – to defend the billions in profits they’d make from this project.
- The US Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Energy still have to issue permits for the project.
- The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have approved the project, but those flawed decisions have been appealed because of substantive failings in their decision making.
Maine Supreme Court Decision on CMP Corridor Referendum
NRCM is extremely disappointed in the Maine Supreme Court decision ruling the citizen's referendum unconstitutional. The vast majority of Maine people oppose the CMP corridor and they should have been given an opportunity to vote on this highly controversial project.
The fight is far from over. With federal permits still under consideration and appeals of previous permits underway, this destructive transmission line proposal is far from a done deal.
We will continue to stand up to the corporate interests trying to harm Maine’s public lands for their own profit.
We will continue to be fierce advocates for real climate solutions that will strengthen Maine’s communities, not the CMP corridor shell game that is driven by the interests of Hydro-Quebec and CMP instead of by what would be good for Maine’s future.
And we will continue to pursue every avenue available to defeat this project because it’s a bad deal for Maine.
Top 4 Reasons NRCM Opposes the Corridor:
- Won’t reduce climate-changing pollution, and may actually increase it.
- Cuts 53 miles of new transmission lines through undeveloped forests in Maine’s North Woods, harming brook trout, deer, other wildlife, and the tourism economy.
- Jeopardizes the construction of new in-state renewable energy projects and creation of clean energy jobs.
- Generates billions of dollars of profit for CMP and Hydro-Quebec while offering very little to Maine people and businesses.
Listen to NRCM’s staff attorney Sue Ely discuss why NRCM opposes the corridor.
Why the CMP Transmission Line is Bad for Maine’s Forests and Wildlife
CMP’s proposal would cut 53 miles of new line through undeveloped parts of Maine’s North Woods. The damage would fragment the largest contiguous temperate forest in North America and perhaps the world.
- This destruction would clear trees and plants through 263 wetlands, across 115 streams, and near remote Beattie Pond.
- It would harm Maine’s deer herd by blocking access to deer winter shelter and feeding areas.
- It would cut right through the heart of Maine’s brook trout habitat, including areas where public agencies and private citizens have spent millions to protect brook trout.
Majority of Mainers Oppose CMP's Corridor
The vast majority of Maine voters are firmly opposed to CMP proposal, according to a statewide poll. The opposition from Mainers is widespread and growing, especially in Western Maine where the transmission line would be located.
- In a stunning rebuke to CMP’s proposal, 25 towns have voted to oppose or rescind their support for the project.
- Two major unions and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine are also opposed to the project.
- The Maine State Federation of Firefighters has expressed concern about the risk of fires.
- In September, 2019, Maine people opposed to the project announced they have a launched a citizen’s initiative campaign for the November 2020 ballot that would overturn a decision by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve the project. (In March, 2020, the Maine Secretary of State announced that the campaign was successful in gathering enough signatures to put this question on the ballot.)
These 25 Maine towns have rescinded their support or come out in opposition to the proposed transmission line:
- Alna (rescinded letter of support)
- Anson (town residents voted (98-12) to oppose the project)
- Caratunk (rescinded letter of support)
- Chesterville (town residents voted to oppose the project)
- Dennistown (wrote letter in opposition to project)
- Durham (rescinded letter of support and town residents voted to oppose by 190-8 vote)
- Embden (town residents voted 50-10 to oppose after Select Board had rescinded its support)
- Eustis (town residents voted to oppose the project by a vote of 103-4 )
- Farmington (town residents voted to rescind support and oppose the project)
- Greenville (town residents voted (290-58) to oppose the project)
- Industry (Select Board and town residents rescind support and oppose the project)
- Jackman (town residents voted to oppose)
- Jay (town residents voted to oppose)
- Livermore Falls (town residents voted (43-5) to oppose)
- Moose River (town residents voted to oppose)
- Moscow (town residents voted (35-9) to oppose)
- New Sharon (town residents voted (82-4) to oppose the project)
- Pownal (rescinded letter of support and town voted (76-27) to oppose project)
- Rome (town residents voted (27-2) to oppose project)
- Starks (town residents rejected motion to support project)
- The Forks (town residents voted to oppose)
- West Forks (town residents voted to oppose)
- Wilton (town residents voted (162-1) to rescind support and oppose the project)
- Wiscasset (rescinded letter of support)
- Woolwich (town residents voted to rescind support (611-158) and to formally oppose (585-176)
Organizations that Oppose or Have Rescinded Support:
- Androscoggin County Commissioners voted to rescind support
- Franklin County Commissioners voted to rescind support
- Sportsman's Alliance of Maine has rescinded its support
- United Steelworker's Maine Labor Council voted to oppose project
- Bath Iron Works' largest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6 opposes
- Upper Enchanted Owners Road Association voted 23-0 against the CMP corridor
Why the CMP Transmission Line is Bad for Our Climate
CMP’s proposal is not about climate. It’s about making CMP more money. It’s a shell game to sell existing hydropower to Massachusetts because they’ve agreed to pay more for it.
CMP’s line would do nothing to reduce climate-changing pollution because there is no assurance it will result in new renewable energy being created.
- Read the analysis conducted by environmental and renewable energy groups that concluded that the CMP corridor would not reduce carbon pollution and therefore would have no benefit for climate change.
- Read about the concerns raised by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office that CMP's power line would not reduce greenhouse gases.
- Read or listen to NRCM’s testimony in support of LD 640, which would have required an independent climate impact study for the project
CMP’s transmission line could make it harder for local renewable energy projects to move forward, costing Maine new clean energy jobs and stifling Maine’s burgeoning clean energy industry. Maine needs investments in renewable energy projects with real environmental benefits, not a massive and harmful transmission corridor that lines CMP’s pockets.
NRCM News Releases, Statements, & Op-eds:
- Mainers Deserve Thorough, Open Review of CMP Corridor February 2, 2021 (Portland Press Herald op-ed by NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann, Appalachian Mountain Club President John Judge, and Chapter Director of Sierra Club Maine Sarah Leighton)
- Groups File for Injunction to Halt CMP's Premature Plans to Begin Corridor Work November 12, 2020
- Environmental Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Army Corps for Indefensible CMP Corridor Analysis October 28, 2020
- US Army Corps & Dept. of Energy Identify Major Issues with CMP Corridor August 13, 2020
- Hydro-Quebec Dramatically Escalates Campaign to Influence Maine Elections July 30, 2020
- CMP & Hydro-Quebec Have Spent Record-breaking $16.78M on Campaign for the CMP Corridor July 7, 2020
- Citing Irreparable Harm to Maine's Environment, NRCM Appeals DEP Permit for CMP Corridor June 10, 2020
- NRCM Statement on DEP Permit for Controversial CMP Corridor Proposal May 11, 2020
- CMP and Hydro-Quebec Have Spent an Astounding $9 Million on Desperate Campaign to Save CMP Corridor April 13, 2020
- Leading Maine Conservation Groups Criticize DEP's Draft Permit on Controversial CMP Corridor March 13, 2020
- CMP Spends a Staggering $2.3M in 3 Months on Campaign to Boost Controversial Corridor January 16, 2020
- LUPC decision on CMP Corridor Ignores Harm Done to Maine January 8, 2020
- Mainers Call for Fairness in Army Corps Review of CMP Corridor December 5, 2019
- Congressman Golden Calls for a Public Hearing on the Army Corps Review of CMP Transmission Corridor October 16, 2019
- Six More Maine Towns and Two Major Unions Vote Overwhelmingly to Oppose CMP Corridor June 28, 2019
- U.S. EPA Says CMP's Permit Application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is Incomplete May 3, 2019
- Statewide Poll Shows Strong Opposition to CMP Corridor April 1, 2019
- CMP “Settlement” Less Than Meets the Eye, Opposition to Corridor Continues to Grow Feb. 20, 2019
- Fall 2018 Maine Environment newsletter article
- Maine DEP Calls CMP’s Transmission Line Application “Insufficient” and “Incomplete” – CMP Timeline Delayed Even More Nov. 5, 2018
- PUC Delays CMP Power Line Hearings, Per Request by NRCM, Others Oct. 26, 2018
- Mainers Overwhelmingly Oppose CMP Transmission Line Oct. 18, 2018
- "New Study Shows CMP Transmission Project Would Not Reduce Climate-changing Carbon Pollution" Oct. 17, 2018
- NRCM June 2018 Statement: CMP has Not Demonstrated Climate Benefits for Transmission Project
- NRCM testimony at August 2018 Massachusetts DPU hearing
- NRCM statement in opposition to proposed CMP transmission line Feb. 21, 2018
Background Materials on CMP Corridor Proposal
- Brattle Group study
- ESAI Power study
- CMP’s Site Location of Development application here.
- View Filings in the Public Utilities Commission proceeding 2017-00232 here.
- Detailed CMP transmission line map of the proposed route from Canada to Lewiston
On February 21, 2019, CMP submitted a proposed settlement agreement to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In our comments in opposition to the proposed settlement agreement we explain how the proposed settlement agreement doesn’t address any of our primary concerns about this project.
Banner photo by Beth Comeau