CMP following regulatory processes
To the Editor;
I wanted to take a moment to respond to a recently published letter about the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project written by Urgel Pomerleau. As anyone reading the letter can sense, he has true passion for the direction of our state, but I feel it is important to ensure Maine people understand the process that is in place to consider such a major climate change solution.
In his letter, Mr. Pomerleau states that every Maine taxpayer needs to come forward to vote on a referendum about the New England Clean Energy Connect Project and that a ‘yes’ vote would outline the permit process that would allow Canadian green power to cross our state and then allow the State of Maine to expect a small monthly revenue to be sent back to the state from the power companies to be disbursed to individual towns.
To be clear, CMP is strictly following the regulatory processes in place to consider such projects – permits are required from state regulatory agencies including the Maine Public Utilities Commission, which has issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity; the DEP, LUPC, and the Army Corps of Engineers, and then there is a federal permit required. Each of these agencies has public input or hearing processes for Maine people to contribute opinions.
Mr. Pomerleau goes on to state that a small percentage of the revenue generated by this line should go to Maine taxpayers forever. Mainers, however, are not paying a penny for the construction of this project. Massachusetts is footing the entire bill for the NECEC.
This doesn’t mean Maine will not benefit from the project. Economically, it will create 1,600 jobs for Mainers while construction is taking place. It will create property tax relief for towns the NECEC will run through. It will also stabilize energy prices for the whole region for years. A “firm” renewable source, hydropower is much less susceptible to wild price spikes in times of extreme cold or heat than oil.
But the positive environmental impact may be the most significant benefit of the New England Clean Energy Connect. This project will remove more than three million metric tons of carbon from our air annually. Across New England, that’s the equivalent of taking seven hundred thousand vehicles off the road each year. July was the hottest month ever recorded. Climate change is here and we must do our part and at least begin the process of reversing its negative effects by reducing our dependence on dirty fossil fuels.
Governor Mills also negotiated other benefits of the NECEC which will provide Mainers with an additional $140 million in consumer rate relief, $50 million in low-income consumer rate relief, $15 million for fiber-optic expansion, $15 million for electric vehicle infrastructure and another $15 million for heat pumps — to highlight just some of the benefits.
We agree with Mr. Pomerleau. It is time for the people of Maine to know the truth about this project. Hopefully this has helped to better demonstrate the numerous benefits to Maine.
Doug A. Herling
CMP president & CEO