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Voting yes on Maine’s ballot Question 1

Opponents of the project say this isn’t a good deal for the environment or the people of Maine.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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Maine (WABI) - On November 2nd, Mainers will have the chance to vote on a citizens initiative to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect project, effectively known as the CMP Corridor.

“Question 1 is a citizen’s initiative put on the ballot by more than 80,000 voters of Maine, seeking finally to have their word heard and their voice heard with respect to the CMP corridor,” said state Senator Rick Bennett of Oxford.

Voting yes puts the fate of the corridor in the hands of state lawmakers.

It also approves the retroactive nature of the question that requires the legislature to approve by a two-thirds vote similar projects that use public lands both moving forward and going back to 2014.

“I can tell you that the legislature already has retroactive lawmaking ability. It’s been exercised 184 times in the last 20 years. In this particular case, it is specifically to correct the unconstitutional land grab that CMP got by dissembling when they went to the Bureau of Parks and Lands in 2014 for this lease,” Bennett said.

No CMP Corridor Director Sandi Howard says CMP’s lawyers have said the purpose is not to help combat climate change, but to deliver 1200 megawatts to Massachusetts.

“There hasn’t been a full environmental impact study on this. CMP has blocked attempts for independent climate analyses, and there would be so much environmental destruction to Maine’s waterways, wetlands, and wildlife habitat like the last stronghold of native Brook Trout in the country. It would go right through this area ripping apart their habitat,” Howard said.

Opponents of the project say this isn’t a good deal for the environment or the people of Maine.

Susannah Warner is a camp owner on Moxie Pond, roughly half a mile from the construction that started in January.

She says Moxie has always been a place to get away and find peace, and she’s worried the corridor will change that.

“So, it obviously has been very disruptive. There have been multiple trucks. There’s noise constantly. I was there this morning, and I could hear the noise and racket, and even when that fades away, what we will be left with are these garish, huge structures that they’ve put up, which I don’t know how that’s helping us,” Warner said

Grassroots organizations like No CMP Corridor say they are working with other utilities that oppose the project to try and match CMP’s spending on advertising.

Howard says their side is more environmentally driven while the utilities have other concerns.

“But we’ve decided to collaborate because, you know, your average everyday group of citizens, our faith are fighting a David and Goliath battle. And so we appreciate the help,” Howard said.

“Come up to Moxie, come to Coburn Mountain, just come see the mess. Unless you’re living there or you vacation there or you camp there, you hunt up there, you would have no idea the mess. That’s why I encourage people to come see for themselves and come talk to people,” Warner said.

No matter what happens at the polls next Tuesday, there are still issues to play out in court.

A judge in August ruled that Maine’s Bureau of Public Lands did not have the authority to grant a lease for the one mile stretch of public land needed for the project.

CMP has appealed that ruling to the Maine Supreme Court.

If you missed the “No on One” story, you can find it here.

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