CMP Owner Fined for Natural Gas Safety Violations

I had no idea that Avangrid, the owner of Central Maine Power company, also owns Maine Natural Gas company in Brunswick. But given all of the problems we’ve had with CMP, it was not surprising to learn that Maine Natural Gas was just fined $50,000 by the Public Utilities Commission for a “multi-year pattern of failures to meet minimum safety requirements.”

What on earth is wrong with this company? There is no way in the world that we should let them build a devastating corridor through our beautiful Western Maine. If they can’t protect us from natural gas disasters, why would we let them wreck a beautiful section of our state?

We’re getting bombarded by tv and newspaper ads by CMP, trying to convince us that their corridor is a wonderful project. I’ve been both amused and aggravated by their ads. Their full page newspaper ad featuring a beautiful photo of Baxter Park was particularly shameful, and I was pleased when the park’s director objected to the ad.

CMP recently disclosed that they had spied on some of the circulators of the petitions which will give Maine people a chance to vote to stop the corridor. Shame on them. And now, they are doing everything they can to prevent Maine people from voting on this project. I guess they know, if we are able to vote, that will be the end of their corridor.

I was astonished that CMP is planning to start the corridor before we get a chance to vote on it in November. I’m hoping the legislature will act to move our vote up to June so we can stop them before they start.

The legislature is also considering LD 1893, that would deny CMP the certificate of public convenience and necessity that is required. The PUC made a mistake in issuing a permit for the project before that certificate was issued.

And the Maine Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to approve a “substantial alteration” of our public lands. CMP claims they are not making a substantial alteration but of course, construction of 96 foot tall, 40 inch diameter towers in a mile-long clear-cut as wide as a football field is certainly a substantial alteration of our public lands.

I was pleased to learn that Maine’s Attorney General is ready to defend the legislature’s actions if they vote to stop the corridor.

So today, I ask you to please contact your state representative and senator and urge them to support these actions to stop CMP’s devastating corridor.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.