What is CMP's Proposed Transmission 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 transmission 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 project won’t reduce global greenhouse gas emissions or create sustainable jobs for Maine people.
What you need to know about the proposed CMP transmission line:
- Widespread opposition to the project is growing every day. More than 20 Maine towns along the corridor have voted to oppose or rescind their support. A citizen’s initiative campaign has been launched to place a question on the November 2020 ballot to stop the corridor from being built.
- There are several state and federal permits for the CMP corridor that still need to be issued, including by the Land Use Planning Commission, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and US Army Corps of Engineers.
- The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities have approved the project, but those decisions have been appealed because of substantive failings in their decision making.
- CMP’s rushed planning and preparation for their corridor proposal has already been highlighted by the US Environmental Protection Agency as inadequate and harmful for the environment.
- There is no evidence that the CMP corridor would benefit the climate by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Top 4 Reasons NRCM Opposes the CMP 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 CMP corridor.
Majority of Mainers Oppose the CMP Corridor
The vast majority of Maine voters are firmly opposed to the CMP corridor, 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, 23 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.
The following towns have rescinded their support or come out in opposition to CMP’s 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 (Select Board rescinded 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)
- 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)
Organizations that Oppose or Have Rescinded Support:
- Franklin County Commissioners voted to rescind support
- The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine has rescinded its support
- The 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 Corridor is Bad for Maine’s Forests and Wildlife
CMP’s proposed project would cut 53 miles of new transmission line corridor 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.
Why the CMP Corridor 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 transmission 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 and Statements:
- 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
News and Op-eds
- Fall Maine Environment newsletter article by Dylan Voorhees, NRCM Climate and Clean Energy Project Director
- CMP Plans to Bury Proposed Transmission Line Under Kennebec Gorge - Portland Press Herald
- Report Challenges Environmental Benefits of CMP Project - Portland Press Herald
- Patagonia Joins Fight Against CMP Transmission Line through Maine - Portland Press Herald
- Central Maine Power Proposal Way Over the Line - by George Smith
- Central Maine Power Project a Bad Deal for Maine - by Senator Tom Saviello (R-Franklin)
- Project would Bring Renewable Energy to Mass. by Cutting through Wilderness in Maine - Boston Globe
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 Levi Hahn