Recently I did an interview with Fred Bever at Maine Public Radio to explain my opposition to CMP’s massive new transmission line through Maine from Québec to Massachusetts. I’ve written about this in the past in this and other columns.
But it isn’t just Mainers who are opposed to this project. First of all, the state of New Hampshire rejected it which is why they are now trying to bring it all the way through Maine. And while Linda and I were recently in Massachusetts, visiting with our son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters, I read in the Boston Globe that there is also opposition to the project in Massachusetts.
Today I want to share you with you a Boston Globe column written by Deb Pasternak, a resident of Westborough, Massachusetts, and the interim chapter director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club. Here is her column.
Deb Pasternak’s column
It is imperative that we read between the lines to see the real truth, the real repercussions of Central Maine Power’s New England clean energy connect project.
It will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions as proponents claim. James M. Speyer, an expert energy and environmental consultant, testified before the Maine Department of Utilities last year that any reductions in carbon emissions resulting from the project “would be offset by higher emissions in other markets.”
Exporting our dollars to buy electricity is a bad economic choice. The difference in the costs of electricity supply contracts proposed by wind energy producer Vineyard Wind and the hydropower contract is minimal (6.5 cents versus 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour) when compared with the difference in regional economic benefits. A study done for consumer energy advocacy groups last year estimated that if regional renewable generation were built to supply half of Massachusetts electric load by 2030, regional jobs would increase by about 30,000 in the decade. Massachusetts needs to generate power locally and benefit from the associated regional economic boom.
Environmental justice is blindsided. Québec’s First Nation peoples have accused Hydro-Québec over the years of damaging rivers vital to its economy and cultural traditions. This is another decision by consumers from our area to procure energy on the backs of those without a voice or power to protest.
The proposed transmission line will cross an un-fragmented section of Maine forest, clear cutting a 54 mile stretch of right-of-way, according to Maine Audubon. Audubon said this will dissect forest ecosystems and waterways, negatively impacting 1000 acres of wetlands and the life they support.
This project would provide Hydro-Québec a stable market for its excess electricity. Massachusetts would see no economic benefit. With the falling costs of wind, solar, and storage, we can generate our own power, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and boosting our economy.
Why are we even considering this project, which will slow investment in New England, damage our environment, and bring minimal new jobs to the area? Let’s invest in proven sustainable energy projects, create jobs, and bolster our Massachusetts economy.
— Ditto for Maine, Deb, and thank you for your column. – george