Opinion

Grassroots citizens group wants to protect against proposed high voltage transmission power line

To the Editor;

The Concerned Citizens of Corinth is one of a growing number of community groups concerned about LS Power Grid Maine’s plans to construct a high voltage transmission power line through 140 to 160 miles of Maine land, affecting thousands of residents’ property and quality of life. Communities are coming together to fight for their rights to live and work on their land without interference. Most of the transmission power line is a double circuit line with a height of 130 to 165 feet visible to a wide geographic area. This line is planned to connect the power of 170 wind turbines from King Pine Wind in Aroostook County (a Longroad Energy project) and pass through towns from Glenwood Plantation to Coopers Mills. Affected towns may include Howland, LaGrange, Corinth, and Plymouth. Both LS Power and Longroad Energy are out-of-state big businesses.

This project was approved by the Maine Legislature on June 13, 2023, without knowledge of the transmission line route and with no public notice or input. Instead of taking the opportunity for a respectful process and well-thought-out project, we now have hundreds of Maine residents feeling betrayed and very badly used. The bill approved by the legislature, LD 924, was signed by the governor on June 22 and residents received letters from LS Power a few days later in July. Many affected landowners remain uninformed, as the letters looked like junk mail and were thrown in the trash unopened. As a result, CCC members are providing information to Corinth residents by going door to door and putting up informational posters in local businesses. 

Socio-economic concerns regarding this land takeover have residents extremely upset. Some of their concerns include the devaluation of their property (typically 10-40 percent loss), herbicides that contaminate soil and water affecting residents, farm animals, and wildlife, loss of renewable forest harvesting, electromagnetic field effects, noise of the transmission lines and loss of the beauty of their property and surrounding areas. The land designated for this project is privately owned and used for farming, logging, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking, and simply enjoying the views from residents’ homes. The land is rich in a large variety of bird species, fox, coyote, rabbit, bobcat, deer, bear, and the occasional moose. Many dairy and agricultural farmers have stated that the line through their property will destroy their livelihood. We chose to live in places where we see trees and fields – not metal towers. Residents are grieving the potential loss of their untainted views of trees, hills, fields, sunsets, and sunrises.

There are alternative measures to transmit power that could be explored. Most residents ask why existing corridors and/or the interstate cannot be used to transmit power. Can part of the line be buried? Rather than have Maine payers bear the burden of the many costs associated with this project, the state needs to consider better alternatives. The concerns are not about prejudice against renewable energy, or politically aligned. The CCC represents all walks of life and is about the rights of landowners and the love of their land and way of life.

Communities will continue to organize and work with their town officials on moratoriums and ordinances to prevent the destruction of their property. Progress regarding these efforts can be found on town websites and the Facebook group, Mainers for Landowners Rights/LS Power Aroostook Gateway Info. We encourage everyone to write to their legislators and the governor and to call the Public Advocate at 207-624-3687 to express concerns. There will be a hearing at the Maine Public Utilities Commission in the future to approve LS Power Grid Maine’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. Once recognized as a utility, the company can take property by eminent domain. Please attend to request that this authorization be denied as, at that point, the project will move ahead. Please do not let these two out-of-state big businesses destroy our backyards.

Susan Sprague

Corinth

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