Question 1 supporters, opponents make final case to Maine voters

Question 1 supporters and opponents hold monday events
Question 1 supporters and opponents hold monday events(WMTW)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Supporters and opponents of Question 1, which asks Maine voters whether to ban Central Maine Power’s electricity corridor, held dueling events Monday and of Tuesday’s election.

A “yes” vote on Question 1 would ban the project, while a “no” vote would allow it to continue.

The No on 1 campaign said during its event in Augusta that people should vote to save the project because it already employs 400 Mainers.

“Those of you that want to protect Maine construction workers and keep us close to our families, please vote no on Question 1 tomorrow,” corridor worker Chris Hartsock said.

Construction workers said their livelihood and Maine’s renewable energy future are at stake.

“It’s a resume builder, and it’s a stepping stone to the next career, and that’s why I think it’s important that we don’t shut the door on this project,” said Nick Achorn, of Black and Veatch.

Along the 145-mile corridor, 70 of the 830 planned utility poles are already in the ground. In the 53-mile new section, more than half of the trees have been cut.

If the project is not interrupted or banned, CMP officials said it could be done in two years.

The Yes on 1 campaign said the corridor costs are too high, and the benefits are too low.

”They’re clear-cutting a huge section of Maine forest to bring it down into Massachusetts,” corridor opponent Cara Sacks said. “We know this is a bad deal for Maine and a bad deal for Maine’s environment.”

CMP argues that connecting hydropower to the New England grid will mitigate climate change, while delivering $18 million in annual property tax relief to corridor towns.

Both sides have raised roughly $100 million for the campaign, with CMP and its parent companies spending more than double the Yes on 1 campaign.

The Yes on 1 campaign has been financed by out-of-state energy companies with oil and gas-fired plants in Maine.

“Certainly, we couldn’t fight this fight alone. It’s a David versus Goliath fight, and CMP and Hydro-Quebec stand to make billions of dollars off of the project,” Sacks said.

If the Yes on 1 campaign wins on Tuesday, the battle over the project will likely continue in the courts.

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