Letter to the editor: Concerning the NECEC power line

4 mins read

Big oil’s lobbyists (the natural gas companies) have done an amazing job of lobbying Maine people. In the spring of 2018, before big oil started placing the thousands of “No CMP Corridor” signs on roadsides all over Maine, public opinion on the CMP Corridor appeared mostly neutral. Now, when viewing the results of past local municipal votes on the CMP corridor around the state, a lot of Maine people now seem opposed. Big oil’s lobbyists have convinced thousands of Maine people that burning fossil fuel to generate electricity is better for the environment than using Canadian hydroelectricity. Although most of the hydroelectricity traveling along the “corridor” through Maine is going to Massachusetts, it would replace billions of tons of natural gas and prevent a huge amount of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere. We are all part of the same global warming world. Hydroelectricity also has a small amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with it, but the hydroelectric emissions are 96% less than the emissions of an equivalent amount of fossil fuel generated electricity.

The Canadian hydroelectric dams are already in place and the water that could be used to generate power for New England is now being spilled over the dams. This is a lose-lose situation. If the NECEC power line is canceled, billions of tons of additional carbon emissions will be emitted into the air from the burning of natural gas to generate electricity for New England. Meanwhile the Canadian hydroelectric dams that could produce the electricity for New England, are spilling the water over the dam because of no markets. Hydroelectric power is also very dependable and can help stabilize the uneven flow from solar and wind produced electricity without CO2 emissions. This hydroelectric stability will be critical as more solar and wind electricity come online. The only other stable sources of electricity are derived from fossil fuel and from nuclear power. In fact, the total decarbonization of our nation’s electrical supply will require a large amount of new nuclear power to keep the lights on after dark or when the wind is not blowing.

If the CMP corridor is approved, big oil will lose billions of dollars in natural gas sales for electrical generation. This is the reason big oil is spending millions of dollars lobbying Maine people. In 2018, big oil made large ad buys, opposing the NECEC power line on Maine TV and other Maine media. In the spring of 2019 big oil bought another large batch of ads, criticizing Governor Mills for her support of the NECEC power line. Big oil has paid for the signature collectors to get several referendums on a statewide ballot. This fall, big oil will be spending a lot of money lobbying, trying to persuade Maine voters to vote yes on the referendum which would stop the NECEC power line. CMP and its partners are also spending a lot of money lobbying Maine voters to approve the NECEC power line.

If one believes that global warming is a real danger, it’s very clear that stopping the NECEC power line would add billions of additional tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning fossil fuel to generate electricity for New England. The NECEC power line needs voter approval this November to help slow global warming (A no vote on the ballot this Nov. 2 allows the NECEC power line to proceed).

Big oil’s lobbying has been one of the most successful lobbying efforts in Maine’s history, in shaping the opinion of such a large number of Maine people.

Maynard Webster
New Sharon

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