Maine DEP Suspends Permit for CMP Corridor
On November 23, 2021, Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Melanie Loyzim suspended the permit for CMP’s controversial corridor project. This is a major blow for the project and comes weeks after an overwhelming vote by Maine people to terminate the CMP corridor.
Below is a short statement from NRCM’s Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim:
“This is great news for Maine people and our environment. The Commissioner made the correct decision in suspending CMP’s permit. The facts before the DEP were clear and unassailable given that CMP’s illegal lease to cross public lands has been terminated and an overwhelming majority of Maine voters passed a new law banning the CMP corridor. This project was fatally flawed from the very beginning and it’s time for Massachusetts to choose an alternative option.”
Statement from NRCM Regarding Question 1 Results
“Maine residents have voted decisively to terminate the CMP corridor, which means the time has come for CMP to respect the will of Maine people by stopping this project immediately. If CMP fails to halt construction activities right away, then the Department of Environmental Protection should move quickly to suspend the permit and require that CMP begin restoring areas of Western Maine that already have been damaged.
We also call on Massachusetts to honor this electoral outcome by selecting an alternative option for meeting its climate goals without imposing significant environmental harm on another New England state.”
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.
The CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine. It would permanently damage undeveloped forest and wildlife habitat, stifle the local 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.
- CMP’s Illegal Leases Terminated. In a strongly worded decision, Maine Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy ruled that state agencies broke the law and ignored the Constitution by keeping Maine people and the Legislature in the dark about leases given to CMP to cross public lands. Now that the lease has been terminated by Judge Murphy, NRCM believes the State of Maine must compel CMP to stop all construction.
- CMP and Hydro-Quebec have spent a record-breaking $47 million on their desperate political campaigns to influence Maine voters, employing high paid consultants and lobbyists, as well as questionable scare tactics that Bill Nemitz called "political hokum of the highest order". Hydro-Quebec’s spending has drawn scrutiny from Maine lawmakers because they are exploiting a loophole in state ethics laws.
- NRCM joined with Appalachian Mountain Club and Sierra Club Maine in filing a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s closeted and flawed review of the CMP project. Read an op-ed about why we filed the lawsuit. An injunction blocking construction in Segment 1 has been issued by the First Circuit Court of Appeals while they hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision to reject our motion for preliminary injunction.
- NRCM is a party to two other lawsuits, one challenging the Department of Environmental Protection’s flawed permit and the other challenging an illegal lease given to CMP to cross public lands. In March 2021, a state judge found that Maine had improperly given CMP the lease.
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.
Watch our webinars to learn more about the proposed CMP transmission line:
- View a recording of our webinar featuring Mainers speaking about why they supported Yes on 1
- CMP Corridor: Bad for Maine's Forests & Wildlife
- NRCM experts on why the CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine
- Western Maine residents and renewable energy advocates on how CMP is putting profits over Maine people
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 February 2021, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows certified that more than enough valid signatures had been gathered to place a citizens referendum on the November 2021 ballot opposing the CMP corridor.
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
Read our blog post explaining why the CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine and for the 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 Rally at DEP HQ to Call for Immediate Suspension of Permit for CMP Corridor November 18, 2021
- New Poll: Maine Voters Want CMP to Stop Corridor Cutting, Support DEP Suspending Permit November 17, 2021
- Mainers Demand CMP Corridor be Terminated — Read NRCM's statement after November 2nd election results November 2, 2021
- Conservation Groups Move to Add U.S. Department of Energy to CMP Corridor Lawsuit March 29, 2021
- Hydro-Quebec Exploiting Legal Loophole to Influence Maine Voters March 15, 2021
- 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)
- What's at Risk: Photo Essay of the Lands the CMP Corridor Would Destroy January 25, 2021 (by guest blogger Sam Steele)
- 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
- 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: The view from Sally Mountain over Attean Pond by J.Monkman/NRCM