Letter to the Editor: Hydro power from Quebec is not clean energy

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Tony Marple’s February 13, 2021 Maine Compass article continues two mistaken opinions about the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project.

Hydro Power is not clean energy, as evidenced by research from Washington State University, and the testimony of Dr. Bradford Hager, professor of Earth Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Although hydro power may be less damaging to the climate than other forms of energy, it still produces methane equivalent to that produced from biomass. Professor Bradford also addressed the methane released from Hydro-Quebec, which is greater relative to other hydropower around the world due to the shallowness of the water impoundments.

The claim that the first 53.5 miles of the transmission line will be located in a heavily logged commercial forest is meant to falsely justify the destruction of the western Maine mountains. Approximately 37,000 acres are owned by the Nature Conservancy and private individuals and families – not commercial timber harvesters. The area in which the transmission line will be located includes a rare Jack Pine Forest and rare and endangered birds, Bicknell’s Thrush and Rusty Blackbird. The area also includes the rare Roaring Brook May Fly, that was not known to exist outside Baxter State Park until the NECEC project uncovered its existence. Does that sound like a heavily logged forest?

When the NECEC project is fully developed through the western Maine mountains as the “Transmission Corridor,” it will be a 53.5 mile long by 300-foot-wide permanent clear cut that will assist Hydro-Quebec in meeting its corporate goal of doubling revenue by 2030. It will be as wide as the New Jersey Turnpike and complete the destruction of native brook trout, unique wildlife, rare forest and rare and endangered species. Maine will become known as the New Jersey of Northern New England.

John Nicholas

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