Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Great news

The Stop the Corridor referendum is great news –for Maine and for rivers, forests and communities across the border over 1,000 miles away in remote Canada where Massachusetts’ extension cord starts in some of the planet’s wildest rivers. We need to stop Canada from exporting more hydro to protect rivers and communities.

Canada’s government owned hydropower monopolies, including Hydro-Quebec, are building new dams and have more planned for export. Quebec Premier Legault brags that Canada’s hydro will be the “battery of North America.” This can’t happen without new dams. And new dams need extension cords.

NECEC and its New York twin, the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) are driving the dam building boom in Eastern Canada. A new report by NorthBridge Energy Partners confirms Hydro-Quebec needs more hydro for export. Hydro-Quebec is looking to the adjacent province of Newfoundland Labrador where the controversial $12.6 billion Muskrat Falls dam needs a customer and a third dam, Gull Island at 2,250 MW, is planned. Hydro-Quebec is also building its Romaine dam complex for export.

Eastern Canada has enough megadams. Over 62 hydro facilities and 27 major reservoirs cover Quebec and Labrador. Hydro-Quebec’s LaGrande dams drain 68,000 square miles twice the area of Maine. One reservoir covers 1,200 square miles. In Labrador, the world’s 10th largest dam, drains 27,000 square miles for a reservoir the size of the Republic of Ireland. Hydro-Quebec has been using this Labrador dam (the Upper Churchill) since 1972, selling its 5,400 megawatts for profit.

To evade responsibility for the negative impacts of new dams – which could never be built in the U.S. --- Hydro-Quebec claims it has “surplus” energy and water “spillage” over its dams unused, avoiding the need for new dams. This is an utter fantasy. The North Bridge report and two other independent reports confirm that: the 2018 Energytz report for Natural Resources Council of Maine and the 2020 Energyzt report for Independent Power Producers of New York.

U.S. consumers of Canada’s hydro are responsible for the negative impacts of Canada’s new megadams: obliterating rivers, causing deforestation and the cultural genocide of Indigenous communities.

In November 2019 Riverkeeper announced opposition to the New York hydro corridor. Governors Baker and Mills should see Hydro-Quebec’s fantasy for what it is and stop further dam construction before it is too late.

Meg Sheehan
Lyme, NH

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3 Responses »

  1. Every negative effect on all aspects of life is disturbed and interrupted by all dams on the river system. Just a note for people to know indigenous people are river people and we depend on the river systems.

    Furthermore, we all know our future generations need it.

    To me this sounds like a broken record, it must go on though. We can no longer be beaten up in silence as we have been for centuries.

  2. See here's the thing and is one of the reasons I support the NECEC, People are under the impression that Hydro-Quebec is a privately held company, it isn't, it is a Quebec government owned company, any revenue generated by them goes into the coffers to supply the province and country with money, this subsidizes the NHS, provides tuition aid and many other social programs for Canadians that we Americans enjoy that our taxes pay for. There are 8.4 million people in Quebec, the unemployment in Canada is 6.1%, the US is 4.4%.

    People in this state think that Maine has an obligation to help by using state benefits and provide them to thousands of "refugees" and of said benefits Maine gets no return on. Maine has an opportunity to help the economy of an entire country, and all of a sudden helping people is a bad thing. Seriously, you antis sicken me. You only see the small picture, "Well, those trees will not grow back." People had a fit when LePage rerouted a wood shipment from southern Maine to lumber mills in Franklin county, so they wouldn't have to shut down, I can't speak for all, but 3600 acres of wood going to Stratton Lumber, Cousineau's in Farmington, or wherever the wood ends up, if they can keep going, that is a good thing, if people can buy the trimmings to heat their homes, that is a good thing, if a treehugger has to see a poleline to get that done, that's not going to end the world either.

  3. It is unfortunate that the author persists in shamelessly singing the same tune as the fossil-fuel companies who are funding efforts aimed at blocking Hydro-Québec’s renewable energy exports to the Northeast. Meg Sheehan, a lawyer from New Hampshire, claims to be representing Canadian First Nations. But this is not the case, at least not in Québec, where her actions have irked at least one Indigenous community that wrote to her requesting she stop making accusations against Hydro-Québec in their name.

    The report cited here is ridiculously wrong; authors seem to have made the glaring mistake of overlooking Québec’s Energy policy. The other reports she refers to were funded by gas companies.

    Additionally, Hydro-Québec is not a customer for the Muskrat Falls dam. This facility is owned by Nalcor and, as is stated on the project’s website (, its energy will serve Newfoundland and other markets through a transmission line called the Maritime Link. This is not in Québec. Perhaps Meg was hoping you wouldn’t look that up.

    NAMRA’s Meg Sheehan goes to great lengths to mislead readers. Here are some facts regarding the New England Clean Energy Connect: the powerline will connect, through Lewiston ME, Hydro-Québec’s renewable power network to the New England electricity grid, which serves the region’s six states. This intertie will help to lower carbon emissions – the equivalent of removing up to 750,000 cars from the road according to expert testimony at Maine’s Public Utilities Commission’s. It will also improve reliability as our energy deliveries to the New England power grid are contractually guaranteed. Additionally, the Clean Energy corridor will help suppress price spikes in the region caused by volatile pricing of carbon-intensive fuel. To refer to such a strategic piece of energy infrastructure as a power cord to Massachusetts is careless, and only serves to nourish misconceptions. These distortions truly serve the interests of the fossil industry… Meg Sheehan should disclose who her donors are!

    Hydro-Québec has ample amounts of clean energy for its neighbors. Our hydropower exports have already displaced millions of tons of dirty emissions. And we can do so much more in order to help our neighbors rely less on smokestacks, and more on renewables. For an interesting read on how our system can be the natural battery for the Northeast, see this link: Spoiler alert: This study is written by climate experts; it is based on science, facts and Hydro-Québec data. It has not been funded by dirty power. Hydro-Québec has not contributed financially either. An important passage of the study: “If we employ the analogy of Quebec's reservoirs as a battery for Northeastern power systems, more transmission to Quebec effectively increases the rate at which this battery can be charged and discharged. The additional balancing provided by new transmission would allow New England to reduce its reliance on gas-powered plants, reducing CO2 emissions.”