Letter to the Editor: NECEC is neither Green nor Good

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When you google the words ‘No to CMP Corridor’, what pops up are ads CMP’s parent company (Avangrid) bought to tell anyone who will listen that 53 miles of high power transmission lines over rivers and through forests of western Maine is ‘clean energy’ and a good idea. The New England Clean Energy Connect project (NECEC) is neither clean nor good. I encourage you to do your own research, but in brief:
The new jobs will consist of short term permitting, tree clearing, construction and security work. There will likely be job losses in the outdoor recreation industry, and at lumber and chip mills who sell energy to CMP.

According to NRCM the discount for a rate-payer with a $100 CMP bill would be approximately 12 cents.
Maine air quality will not improve as a result of the transmission line. However, river ecology and water quality will certainly be negatively impacted by the damage clearing and construction will do to sensitive ecosystems.

As concerning as the above is for Maine, it is only part of the problem with NECEC. The rest of the story lies in Quebec where 36% of Hydro-Quebec’s hydroelectric power comes from protected ancestral land of First Nations (protections guaranteed by Canada’s Supreme Court in 1996). Despite the 1996 ruling, Quebec has continued building dams, dikes, reservoirs, transmission lines and roads on lands and waters which legally belong to First Nations.

Imagine living at the foot of a Hydro-Quebec dam, surrounded by power installations while your home lacks electricity and running water, and your indigenous community has no wastewater treatment facility. Before your eyes, the lands and waters your ancestors fished, trapped, and hunted for thousands of years is eviscerated in the name of ‘green energy’ for Canadian and American citizens, but not for you. You gather with friends and relatives, reach out to neighboring indigenous communities and form a coalition to stop the insanity, or at the very least be consulted and compensated by Hydro-Quebec. You write letters to the Prime Minister of Canada, to the US Army Corps of Engineers, to members of the US Congress and you wait. And you wait. And nothing happens. And that is where we are today.

As a non-Native American who uses more than my fair share of resources I commit to doing more to conserve. As a white-bodied American I commit to acting against systemic racism when and where I see it. Deliberate disregard of human rights and land rights by Hydro-Quebec, silent complicity by Quebec, and apathy by the Canadian and the U.S. governments regarding NECEC are acts of racist violence motivated by greed. On behalf of First Nations and on behalf of critical wildlife habitat, I denounce the NECEC project, and will continue to do so for as long as it takes.

Amy Partridge-Barber
Cape Elizabeth

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