Opponents of the NECEC have consistently portrayed the project as a threat to Maine’s environment. That message is hard for me to believe. Since my grandfather built a camp in northwestern Maine several decades ago, we’ve been retreating there to fish, hike, canoe and take in the scenery that we are blessed to enjoy. While the woods have been a place for us to play, it has always doubled as a workplace for commercial loggers, whose felling and hauling activities have never detracted from our experiences.
Despite what opponents of the NECEC say, I have no doubt that I and my children will continue visiting and enjoying the woods as we always have. The project’s footprint will be small. The new transmission lines will hardly be noticeable in a vast forestland where the timber industry has felled trees for generations.
The real threat to Maine is climate change, which is caused by our dependence on fossil fuels. The hazy smoke that drifted over Maine this summer from the west coast forest fires was an ominous warning about the danger of ignoring our warming climate.
The NECEC will connect 1,200 megawatts of renewable hydropower to New England consumers, thus giving the region an economical way to shift away from fossil fuels. The NECEC won’t stop climate change by itself, but it is the kind of infrastructure that we need to move our state and our country in the right direction.
Beyond the environmental impact, the list of perks that come with the project make it a no-brainer. The infusion of renewable energy will save Mainers money. In addition, Hydro-Quebec and CMP will contribute tens of millions of dollars for broadband, electric vehicles, education, and economic development. Maine cannot afford to turn away these generous benefits.
The NECEC does not threaten Maine’s environment, the warming climate does. The NECEC is exactly the kind of project that environmentalists should embrace. If you are serious about addressing climate change and taking steps to reduce carbon emissions join me in voting NO on Question 1.