Letter to the Editor: Pseudo-environmentalism

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I’ve been going back and forth with the editor of Sun Journal regarding letters I’ve submitted on the effort to kill the NECEC since 2019. That began when a letter was rejected because in it I called the argument against it pseudo-environmentalist. She took offense to that, and has since rejected letters in which I detail the role Tom Saviello and the three other legislators played in it since writing the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in an effort to kill it by citing a report Calpine submitted disputing Hydro-Quebec’s ability to generate enough electricity from hydro to avoid using natural gas in 2018.

That was the first claim. That Hydro-Quebec couldn’t produce enough electricity from hydro and would be forced to burn natural gas, thus merely relocating carbon emissions. Governors Baker, LePage, and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard were all quick to point out that neither the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, nor the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee directed these legislators to act as they did. This is because the legislators were acting in direct contradiction to the advice they had received from these organizations.

I’m not entirely sure when their argument shifts to other things, but by 2019 Tom Saviello is named the petitioner of a referendum designed to kill it. Every time I mention his name in a letter the Sun Journal rejects it now, whether I’m drawing attention to this link between Calpine’s earliest attempt to kill the NECEC or to his ties to No CMP Corridor, which was primarily funded by fossil-fuels dependent generators Calpine, NextEra, and Vistra through a third party.

I’ve researched this topic extensively. Calpine and the New England Power Generators Association actually tried to kill the Massachusetts carbon limits set ahead of it in 2017. That’s well before there even was an NECEC. As all of the above named generators belong to the NEPGA, we can assume they were on board with the idea. That should have given the Maine legislators who led the effort to kill the NECEC pause, but it apparently didn’t.

When the effort to kill the NECEC by referendum got underway it is almost entirely funded by these generators, to the tune of $27 million, so it’s not unreasonable to assume it was designed to benefit them. Mainers for Local Power, Say No to the NECEC, No CMP Corridor, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine all received funding from them, through one means or another. Sure, they alter the argument, but the goal remains the same. To kill the NECEC.

I’ve called their arguments pseudo-environmentalist because they’re supported by generators who will continue to pump out carbon so long as our efforts to address fossil-fuels emissions in this sector are stalled. If it weren’t for the attempt to suggest carbon emitted by vegetation decaying in hydroelectric reservoirs is just as bad, I’d probably never have entered the discussion, but seeing as I understood the entire watershed upstream from these reservoirs contributed to those emissions, not just hydroelectric activities, I was compelled to.

We have some difficult decisions to make, and a population that is easily led astray even when the institutions they can trust are doing their best to clear up confusion. Granted many Mainers don’t like the idea of disturbing the flora and fauna beneath this 145-mile stretch, even if most of it already contains power lines one would assume will be refreshed and therefore made more resilient by the effort, but they’ve in no way proven that the NECEC wouldn’t reduce carbon emissions. I call it pseudo-environmentalism because it pretends to have.

Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine

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