Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: On NECEC and emissions

The NECEC corridor proposal as put forth by Central Maine Power and endorsed by our governor, touts potential massive reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. When Governor Mills endorsed the project at the Portland Jetport, she held in her hand a small block of carbon as a symbol of all the carbon that will be kept from the atmosphere as a result of this project. There is only one problem: there is no independent third party verification that NECEC will have any such effect, and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

The power that will come from Hydro Quebec is currently already in the market. It powers homes and infrastructure in Canada, New England, and New York. The NECEC corridor is set to, in part, SHIFT energy from those markets, which will then be forced to find new sources of electricity, which could very well be carbon based. This amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul. Furthermore, Hydro Quebec is not just a producer of energy via its hydropower dams, it is a broker of energy; it buys and sells energy from other sources, sources which contribute to Greenhouse gases.

The NECEC corridor proposal was initiated by Massachusetts as they searched for ways to lower their carbon footprint. But the Massachusetts Attorney General itself has questioned whether or not there is an overall global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions via this project. At a recent CMP presentation to the town of Farmington, CMP spokesman John Carroll was asked if the company would go on record stating this project would result in a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. His answer was not "yes."

If Maine is to consider a project as destructive and permanent as the NECEC corridor, and a central premise of the project remains clouded with questions and evidence to the contrary, then we need to have those questions answered, and not by CMP, but via an independent third party comprehensive study. The Maine Public Utilities Commission and others positioned to cast a deciding vote should require such a study before accepting the greenhouse gas argument from CMP and Hydro Quebec.

Troy Hull

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23 Responses »

  1. Troy Hull, Can you prove it won't reduce carbon emissions. And AG Healey(yes,itself has a name)has ALWAYS been onboard with the NECEC, she still is, going all the way back to 2015 when the project was first discussed, and the project has been studied, 8 times, 3 of those were by independent companies. And this is stored energy, not currently used energy, stored energy loses power over time, and if MA wants to buy it so be it.

  2. My question is if this project would in fact result in a net reduction in air pollution and if CMP agreed to build a trail system on the line in such a way that allowed recreation along it would people change their minds and support it?

    I would support it if that were the case but I wonder what it would take for others to support it.

  3. Richy,
    To answer your question,

    Debate tax advantages all u want, debate whether this project is really green all u want, demonize CMP and it's parent all u want,,, this bores me.

    I am not ashamed to stand with the rapidly growing number of people (from Maine and away), who place Great Value on the Beauty of Maine , as is.

    I don't want to see another unnecessary wind turbine or transmission line destroying something of such Great Value.

    I was born here in Maine.
    I "choose" to stay here in Maine "as is".
    "I will pay the price or adapt my lifestyle' to stay in my home state,,,"as is".

    So if a Maine Snowball can survive a day on Miami Beach,,, I would still be against this and all similar projects.

    The Way Life Should Be,,In The Slow Lane.
    Right where we like it.

  4. There is a very simple solution to this problem folks. The wind blows just as much in Massachusetts as it
    Does in the Maine forests and mountains. In fact, it seems to be windy most days along the coastal areas.
    If Massachusetts wants green energy, they can cover their own mountains and hills and coastline with tens
    Of thousands of windmills. The power lines from those wind turbines will be hundreds of miles shorter, thus
    Saving hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel required for the construction of those power lines.
    Everyone wins....less carbon pollution into the atmosphere and we hillbillies can keep our Beautiful hills and
    Forests and mountains the way they are now. This is the most logical and sensible solution. Call your
    Legislative reps and the governor and tell them to stop pandering on this issue. Time for them to make a
    Tough decision!!! That's what their were elected to do.

  5. Richly,

    The CMP line is not going to make a dent on the worldwide carbon emissions front.

    As for your question if CMP built a trail system on the line for recreational use would l support it? No. The trails l use don’t get sprayed with herbicides.

    John Carroll stated that he doesn’t want this issue to become political. I can see why. Does anyone know how we can put the Corridor to rest by a statewide vote?

  6. Terry, yes there is away to put it to a statewide vote....People's referendum, oh wait...that's how we get pointless stuff like legal weed and same sex marriage. Nope there is no way to put it to a statewide vote, because it doesn't involve the entire state. It involves CMP, Franklin and Somerset counties, because CMP already owns the rights for the existing line, they only need to secure the north western stretch.

  7. Hrtlss, I have a document :Key quotes from the December 21, 2018 filing of Dean M. Murphy, witness for the Massachusetts Attorney General (AG), to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) on Central Maine Power's (CMP) proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) Powerline. which calls into question the selection process of CPM (biased, favoritism) and among things the premise that the project would result in a net reduction of green house gasses. You can probably google it or let me know and I'll get it to you.

    At the Farmington Meeting I asked John Carroll if CMP would go on the record stating the project would result in a net reduction of Green House Gasses. He would not, and I knew he would not because CMP's own lawyer stated as much.

    The whole project stinks and the people have shown the ability to smell through it. aside from the bad economics and greenwashing, perhaps you might take a second to consider what your grandchildren's Maine might look like. A unique, special tourist and outdoor enthusiast destination that maintains the character every other place has lost. Or a cold New Jersey.

  8. Terry, I think there is proposed legislation that might help us, including one giving individual towns more rights and another to say to CMP- prove the project is green with science before we permit you.

  9. This is an interesting summary of the whole unfolding of the deal. It's not as juicy and full of drama and partisan name calling as this feed. Seems to have been in the works for some time with nothing on the table from LePage and then landing in Mills lap. If anything I'm impressed that the new admin intervened to put more on the table for Maine then the previous deal. Seems that Offsetting CO2 is a multi directional set of projects not necessarily a one to one from the hydropower. It's about putting large amounts of $ into Maine based infrastructure improvements that will cut emissions in the long term. Please read so we can make better comments here. I'm still not happy with the idea of a big corridor like this but ,hope thing will change aside, we now live in a fairly unregulated capitalist country where large corporations get everything they want and pit poor against middle and middle against poor.

  10. Darryl, I have read the report, it pertains to the bidding and hiring of CMP to do the job, and whether a fair bidding process was used. Apparently Power Mass had placed a bid in conjunction with Energy Maine to run the line, and questioned the bids placed by CMP. And there was a question raised about where the energy will come from, currently Quebec-Hydro owns several dams that will provide the power, some wonder if the dams will provide 100% of the power or will it rely on a 75% hydro and 25% natural gas.

  11. "Snowballs Chance in Miami"
    in answer to wanting Maine to stay as is and not changing.

    After living here for almost 70 years I can tell you Maine has changed and is changing whether we want it to or not.

    When I was young we saw birds by the hundreds roosting of telephone lines and we hardly ever saw a tick. Whippoorwills were common around our farm but I have not heard one around the farm in the last twenty years. We also had much more small game like rabbits and partridge around and Turkeys were non existent.

    Our air was clear both in the summer and winter but Now the blue haze in the summer has reduced visibility to just a fraction of what it was back then.

    That blue haze we see has real health effects. The number of children under 5 years of age with asthma surged by 160 percent between 1980 and 1994 and has only gotten worse since then with some calling it an epidemic now. Things are only going to get worse if we bury our heads in the sand when we could do something improve air quality.

    If a neutral third party as mentioned, does verify that this project can improve our air quality here in Maine then we should at least look at the information they come up with before sitting on our hanches and just say no, no matter what.

  12. The burden of proof of a claim is on those making it, not those who question it. Senator Borwnie Carson of Cumberland has sponsored a bill (LD 640) that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct an "independent study of the total greenhouse gas impacts of CMP's proposal, release its report to the public, and take the study's results into account before deciding whether to issue a permit for the project." (-NRCM bulletin) This is exactly the kind of study I was suggesting.

    A public hearing on LD 640 will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.
    in Room 216 of the Cross Office Building next to the Maine State House in Augusta.

    Hrtlss, I am curious if you would oppose this bill, and if so, why? I am also curious if you could cite the 8 studies, 3 of which you say were independent.

    Also, the report that Darryl posted does not simply address the question of fair bidding (which itself is another can of worms...there are many cans of worms in this deal), it directly addresses the questions of incremental energy via the corridor and the lack of reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    Finally, I'd like to hear the points of your position, which seems to be pro-corridor, because I have not yet heard anything that comes close to rationalizing this project.

  13. Our air quality is effected by states south of us. Former senator Saviello did a report on this a year or so ago and shared it on wvom with George Hale and Rick Tyler. Perhaps he could shine some light on this here for us. Our air will not improve unless those states do more to help us.

  14. It is all about profit/money and has nothing to do with making the world a greener more organic place. If being new age sustainable is a by-product it then becomes the focus and selling point. Nothing wrong with profit and doing what is best for the ecology but it would be nice if the whole process could be broken down to actual facts with trusted information.
    ^^^^ Awww, I think you mean *affected* ^^^^

  15. Yes I did Billy dang autocorrect thanks.

  16. Troy Hull, Here,

    And the other was lost to PC history update.

    And yes there is something that would make me opposed the the NECEC, if they wanted to gut 50 miles of 100% virgin old growth forest, then I would be apprehensive about the project, but the area they want to use is a working forest, it has been cut at least once most of it twice, there are logging roads and access roads spider webbing all over the area, there is a wind farm and the pole line for it right there as well. The main reason people don't want this, is 100% not in my back yard, if this was on the coast, nobody in western Maine would give crap about it, that is a fact. It would make the news

    "And in other news, the NECEC will run from New Brunswick down to Essex County Massachusetts"

    People in Western Maine: "Meh, who cares, as long it ain't in my backyard."

  17. Well here I am, finding myself completely agreeing with Mike Deschenes. He's right in saying Mass should find its own green energy and leave Maine alone. But rich and powerful people in Massachusetts have for years blocked Massachusetts from producing its own renewable energy. What was once hailed as the first offshore wind farm in the U.S, the now-defunct Cape Wind Project was a proposed offshore wind farm off Nantucket Sound on Cape Cod. That project drew the ire, lawsuits and injunctions from well-heeled and well-connected NIMBY folks on both sides of the political spectrum, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney, and businessman Bill Koch who donated $1.5 million to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. They didn't want their privileged ocean views "spoiled," despite the fact you'd need a telescope to actually see the offshore windmills. So Mass turned to Quebec, CMP and western Maine.

  18. Richy,
    I say no... No matter what.
    I'm not sitting on my haunches.
    I'm actively opposing this scam.

    Just because it's some 3rd party, doesn't mean they won't be sold out being the scenes.
    Money talks,,yaknow....
    Just ask Crooked Janet..

  19. Hrtlss, so those two studies you cited contradict each other, the second one basically says NECEC will not have any impact on greenhouse gas emssions:

    "NECEC could divert energy sales from another market into New England; shifting flows
    between markets may not reduce total greenhouse gas emissions and could even
    increase total carbon injections into the atmosphere."

    The first study you cited was done by Daymark Energy Advisors, which is a firm that exists to provide "planning, policy, and strategic decision making advice to the North America electricity and natural gas industries." They're working at the behest of CMP, and the link provides no information about the study itself or the methods or data, they just talk briefly about their "results."

    Massachusetts is offering a higher pay rate to Hydro Quebec for their electrons under the assumption the electricity is "green," but dig into it and you'll find Hydro Quebec has all kinds of ways it "green washes" it's electricity (read the second study you cited).

    SO given that there remains zero evidence that this project helps with global CO2 emissions reduction, Maine is left with installing a permanent corridor in hopes that Massachusetts believes the energy they're buying from Hydro Quebec is green and new and has nowhere else to go, even though it's not green, it's not new, and it has plenty of other places to go, and is going there as we speak, just at lower rates than Massachusetts is willing to spend. Hydro Quebec knows this, which is why they refuse to get involved with the debate on any level. CMP knows this, which is why they refuse to go on record stating NECEC will reduce global GHGs.

    NECEC is driven entirely on the assumption that it will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, when in fact it may have the opposite effect. Let's pass LD 640 and get a final answer.

  20. Hrtlss, I looked at one of your links - the one regarding the assessment by Energyzt ..... i find this type of consulting company totally skewed toward the energy corporations. They make their living from working WITH energy companies and likely are NOT going to provide an assessment that doesn't lean toward their sacred cow sector. The fact that you are not opposed because of the condition of the wooded areas - cutover and roads doesn't address the realities of a power line ROW that will be maintained with herbicides, providing some unknown impact on the ecosystem. While perhaps NOT an insurmountable 'obstacle' to the ecosystem on its own, the combination of logging (probably not the most impressive cutting plans), road maintenance, AND herbicides would likely have an impact. In the natural world, as you know, one doesn't need to have any direct impact on flora or fauna, but severing or damaging one key link (often unknown until it's damaged) can have irreversible effects. I see no real reporting that might address this potential - only a few tacit references by cmp's 'biologists'. I have seen this type of problem many times throughout my life and I have to simply ask WHY do we need this corridor? What is the real purpose and trade-offs that need to be made? I do NOT like how this 'smells' and I do not believe that information filed in these 'independent' reports is reliable because it is ALWAYS skewed toward who signs the checks or who the next client may be. And it's NOT the public.

  21. This past Thursday,( March 7th) the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had an all day hearing in regards to the money being offered by CMP to push Quebec power line. I watched the hearing and was disgusted in not only the representative from CMP but also our Public Advocate Barry Hobbins as they both tried to dodge and minimize the fact they were involved in secret meetings to offer bribe money for favors. The PUC will be soon be taking a vote to authorize or to deny the application. Their authority on the vote is very narrow. They will decide if there is a "public necessity" to build the power line. We all know CMP plans to transmit "all" the Quebec Hydro power to Massachusetts. So what is the "public necessity" for Maine people? Is it cheap money?

  22. Tom, public necessity is the term. As Maine produces more energy than we need, common sense says there is no "public necessity." You can be fairly certain however, they will twist and dodge around that fact using ambiguous legally vetted terminology to justify "public necessity.' Follow the money if you want the truth. I am hoping against hope that "this time it is different.'