Letter to the editor: No to NECEC, Yes in November

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The debate over NECEC has become muddied by PR firms and big spending, but it’s an important one to have as global climate change brings attention to large-scale renewable energy projects.

When considering a project as impactful as the extension of transmission lines through the North Woods, we must be able to look with clear eyes at the benefits and drawbacks. Will the proposed corridor actually result in a net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? If so, by how much? Could comparable reductions be accomplished with energy generated closer to home? Will conservation efforts associated with corridor construction be sufficient to prevent devastation of this important wooded ecosystem? As far as I know none of these questions were satisfactorily addressed by the Maine PUC’s “Examiner’s Report” on the subject.

This project ought to be a model for responsible development of renewable energy infrastructure, but it seems CMP and its financiers are more interested in funding a divisive and misleading PR campaign. As we begin the necessary transition to cleaner renewable energy, debates like this will play out in more communities. Let’s provide a model for how to conduct such a debate honestly and openly. The people of Maine deserve to have their concerns heard and addressed, not talked over and ignored. Until these questions are answered, NECEC’s association with green energy should be treated as spurious. I am open to changing my mind, but as things currently stand, I will be voting “Yes” to reject the CMP Corridor this November.

Benjamin Whitman

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