Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Mills strikes out

Al Diamon

Manny Machado will receive $300 million over 10 years to play baseball for the San Diego Padres.

Bryce Harper got a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for 13 years and $330 million.

And Mike Trout is in line to receive $432 million from the Los Angeles Angels spread over a dozen years.

In contrast, Central Maine Power has offered to pay the state of Maine a mere $258 million over 40 years to approve the New England Clean Energy Connect, 145 miles of power lines plowing through the forests of western Maine.

That’s not even in the ballpark.

This bush-league deal averages less than $6.5 million per year or about what Harper, Machado and Trout pay clubhouse attendants in tips. Except the NECEC money is likely to have less impact on the people who are supposed to benefit.

There’s $140 million that’s supposed to reduce electric bills. But it’s spread out over four decades and hundreds of thousands of customers. The net effect won’t save you enough to buy a hot dog and beer at Fenway, which by 2060 will cost a thousand bucks.

CMP will provide $15 million over five years for heat pumps. Heat pumps run on electricity. This is like insulin manufacturers selling sugar.

Another $15 million goes for electric-car charging stations. That’ll benefit the owners of Teslas, which is to say rich people. It’ll also benefit electricity distributors.

There’s also about a million a year for energy efficiency programs for low-income people. Inflation will do a major erosion job on the value of this cash. By mid-century, most households will be receiving a rusty oil barrel and some scrap lumber for use at family fire-pits on frigid evenings. CMP might also throw in a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20.

Bryce Harper wouldn’t sign a deal this crappy.

Manny Machado’s agent would walk out.

Mike Trout would sign with the Yankees.

But Gov. Janet Mills, who isn’t quite on the same elite level, figured this was the best she could get. After expressing ambivalence about NECEC last year, Mills decided a pitiful amount of money doled out over many decades was adequate compensation for ripping up western Maine to send Canadian hydropower to Massachusetts.

“Gov. Mills has always tried to approach the NECEC proposal with a single standard – that any deal must result in substantial and concrete long-term benefits to the people of Maine,” her press secretary said in a statement.

That’s the political equivalent of a grounder dribbling through Bill Buckner’s legs.

Supporters of Mills’ position claim the governor believes the project is likely to advance regardless of her stance. That’s bogus. NECEC needs approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, where Mills will soon have the opportunity to nominate a new member. While one appointment won’t tip the vote on the solidly pro-utility PUC, it might provide fresh perspective. In addition, CMP needs clearance from the state Department of Environmental Protection to trample wetlands and deer yards. The Mills administration controls the DEP and should be able to unspool enough red tape to make the process something between difficult and impossible.

I’m not sure there’s any amount of money CMP could offer that would adequately offset NECEC’s damage, but I’m willing to listen to offers starting at the combined cost of signing Machado, Harper and Trout, as well as extending Mookie Betts’ contract with the Red Sox for the next decade or so.

And I want that cash up front.

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39 Responses »

  1. There is absolutely no offer good enough for this disgraceful disrespect to Maine’s forest and people! Maine is not for sale!

  2. I strongly disapprove of this project !!! It must be stopped NOW !!! This was denied by Vermont and New Hampshire and for common sense reasons !

  3. If CMP already has a back door arrangement due to deals struck many years ago by Governors Baldacci or
    King, or even during the Lepage era, we may have a long fight ahead. But we should certainly vote NO now
    And ask our new Governor to fight for some real stuff for the average Mainer. Here are some suggestions:

    1. rebates for all residents and small business owners who install solar or high efficiency heatpumps.
    2. Create a law thru legislation that requires CMP to buy back any excess power generated by those solar
    Panels at the going wholesale rates...they can feed this excess power into the grid to those folks in the
    States to our south. That's very "green" !!!!
    3. CMP should provide free street lights (electric portion) to all towns affected by the new corridor.
    4. Maine rate payers should benefit from the low cost electricity from those hydroelectric dams....lower
    Our rates 10-20%.

    These will benefit alllllll members of our state...not just the select few who will benefit from the current
    Crappy deal. By the way...why do we need electric charging stations??? Don't the modern electric cars
    Recharge at night while plugged in to your home electric service??? Isn't that the idea??? Could someone
    Explain that to me???

  4. NO On the Corridor! There is no money worth our Maine forest and it's wildlife.. The minimal amt of money offered to the state is not going to help the people of Maine by much... Vote No at meeting in Farmington tonight

  5. Mainers north and west of Augusta and anyone with any common sense in our State do not want this transmission line running through our forests. For Janet Mills to sell out the State of Maine is a shame. This will only benefit Canada and Massachusetts (and dare I say Janet Mills and her big business buddies). It sure didn't take her long to sell us out did it? How many more years of DemocRATS do we have to deal with...sigh. God help us all.

  6. Janet, Barry Hobbins, Ben Dudley, Chris O' Neil all sold out
    No amount of money, can replace the devastation this corridor will create. Governor Baxter had vision for Maine. To protect and preserve Maine, Governor Mills vision is 145 miles of devastation, and pollution. No thank you,

  7. Anita it is not a democrat or a republican thing, its a Maine thing. You may or not be aware LePage was a big proponent of pushing the corridor through.

    With all the pros (mostly spin) and cons (mostly legit) being bandied about, most folks have made their minds on the project.

    Sunday morning I was snowmobiling in the region and came upon a warden. After much small talk I asked if he had an opinion on the corridor. His reply "once that goes through it changes everything."

    Thats it right there.

  8. It’s bad for the environment,bad for the humans and animals that live there. Visually it is horrible. I say if it is approved cmp needs to compensate the people and businesses near the corridor way more then what they are offering now. They also must cut our electric bill by at least 35%. Let Massachusetts make up the difference! This would be a good start but there needs to be more compensation if cmp wants to ruin pristine wilderness for the almighty dollar! As far as our governor flipping on us, she will be a single term governor for going back on her word.

  9. Don't want this crap in our door yard. See you tonight and vote NO.

  10. Glad you are finally paying attention, Al. A bit late to the party, but at least you finally showed up.

  11. I don’t think this CMP deal will do anything for Maine residents. It doesnt supply us with cheap power, and our power rates won’t go down. Its been proven in other countries that smart meters aren’t reliable or accurate.
    The thousands of acres that will be cleared will never grow trees again. The only ones to gain from this deal are CMP and Massachusetts electric companies. I say NO, absolutely not to this deal, it’s does nothing for the State of Maine!

  12. Haven't seen anything about the obvious. Why are we even considering this project for Massachusetts when lines would go right through Maine with no consideration of use by us. We are installing solar panels and wind turbines for use here so we must be crazy to let Hydro Quebec and CMP destroy land in our state that in no way benefits Mainers. Our government needs to take another look at this project. We don't need the pennies (over 40 years?). We need to keep the beauty in this state and stop giving it to outsiders.

  13. thank you for your succinct points and your candid humor to drive them home. It troubles me to see the amount of corporate 'backing' for this project; in a state that needs its resources to survive (and separate it from the states that have prostituted themselves downstream for the almighty buck).
    I can only hope that our new (and promising) governor hears and understands the comments of her constituents; and acts accordingly. And then to have the PUC do same.

  14. Interesting that no one seemed this concerned about the fact that the wind industry wants to desecrate hundreds of miles of Maines pristine ridges and scenic beauty, to export expensive, intermittent trickles of energy to southern New England. Both the power line and wind turbines are an attack against our beautiful state with negligible benefits.

  15. Time to dig out Joni Mitchell's 1972 Album called For The Roses and listen to the song "Electricity". The refrain mentions that "They're not gonna fix that up too easy." State government should run the state, and not make it too easy for the utilities to try to do the same.

  16. We deserve the right to protect our state! They never even once
    Have talked about the land owners that it directly affects!! And
    Those of us that enjoy our beautiful state! No Corridor!! Listen to the people!
    No amount of money and no deals!! No Corridor!!!

  17. I don't remember Baldacci getting this much flak when he sold 2.1 million acres worth of timber rights to Irving's of Canada, which spawned a reality TV show on the the Discovery channel called American Loggers, even though the company featured in the show was working for Irving's hauling Maine timber to Irving's mills in Canada at the cost of 3 mills in Millinocket, East Millinocket and Lincoln, and one in Franklin county, CA&T Lumber in Strong. And hurt the logging and paper industries state wide. But lets bawk at a plan that will put Maine people to work for a while, and generate a little income for the state, across scrub brush in Franklin and Somerset counties. People are idiots. I bet some of the nay sayers for this project are some of the same people who gave LePage flak for his reduction in wind turbines. Hypocrites.

  18. Hrtlss - There are many of us who spoke up about Baldacci's debacle as well, but probably you weren't paying attention for some reason. I resent the fact that you state: "people are idiots". Are you included in that as well or did you anoint yourself as the person who determines this? It might also be the case that some people finally woke up or were awakened. Many people in Maine live from paycheck to paycheck and just can't make themselves become involved. However, when the injustice and corruption gets to a breaking point then people react. For this corridor - it's not even as much as what it might do either on a positive or negative side of the continuum, it's also about the process that is obviously corrupted, slimy and full of misinformation or incomplete information. Perhaps you need to separate politics from these issues and look at the actual issue without those republican glasses you wear. It's NOT about party here, it's about MAINE.

  19. Ok, I get it that most of the posts are against this project. But stop with the talking points. 1. The power gets put into the northeast grid at the most suitable distribution point. Maine is part of the northeast grid. So yes, we will be getting power from it. Not " just Massachusetts". 2. The new section of power line is not through " pristine forest" it's through 47 miles of working wood land that has been cut and will be cut again with or without the power line. 3. The tax benefits for each of the town's affected are very real and very beneficial. I see wind and solar projects popping up everywhere. They are unsightly, lots of land is cleared for them and very few if any people benefit in any way from them. Why are you all just going along with those? Very few of the posters on here will ever see the new section of power line, very few of you have ever seen that part of Maine. It's primarily not even a NIMBY issue for most of you, it's nowhere near your backyard. Yes there are a few , but if you don't own your neighbors land you shouldn't be able to tell them how they can use it

  20. Hrtlss you need to get your facts straight. The mills you are talking about were closed way before the tv show happened and had nothing to do with wood rights being sold to Irving. CAT lumber in strong has been closed since the early 90’s. As for the temporary jobs you should think again. No one wants this in our state.
    @Hart Daley there were plenty of people against the windmills too yet we didn’t get a chance to have town meetings or social media to help fight the non truths in that scam. If Massachusetts needs more “green” energy let them go through New Hampshire (where it’s been permitted underground just costs cmp more) or put ugly solar panels all over their roofs to eventually make leaks.

  21. For once I agree with you Al!! For the rest, Don't blame me, I voted for Moody.

  22. We are talking an eternity of roundup dumped into this corridor. Please Janet I implore you don’t let this happen period.😞😪

  23. @ Eddie, I'm one of those people that WILL see it every day right here in Farmington. As for NIMBY, that crap will be less than 1,000 ft. from our home and we will most likely be able to hear it also. So our vote counted last night along with the other 200+ votes opposing it. I'm one of those few you talk about. Have a great day.

  24. @Mort, you do understand the power line is already there. You already see it. This is not a new powerline. From the Forks south it is all an existing line that will be upgraded. Like I said, the facts get overlooked and the emotional talking points just get repeated.

  25. @ eddie you should get facts straight the corridor isn’t upgrading any existing line it is expanding existing line and building a new very tall very high power line. Maybe you should join hrtlss and the other yes voters and just move out of our slow pace life go live it up in Massachusetts. Maine shouldn’t ruin our state to accommodate some rich yuppy pukes that can’t slow down their electric dependency.

  26. Again, talking points. Expanding an existing line is the same as upgrading an existing line. The key word is EXISTING. Ive lived all over the world and still came back to maine. Even with powerlines its a great place. The power line was there when I was a kid and its still there now. I see it everyday. I wont see it any more or less when its upgraded. Its not going away. Opposing this deal wont make them tear it down. Why not let them contribute more to our tax base for something that's basically already there.

  27. What is it that Mills doesn't understand about NO! We are in big trouble with her!

  28. There is no totally clean way (right now) to produce as much power as we will need. The corridor isn't perfect, but the alternative is to dump massive amounts of C0 2 into our air. So it's a choice primarily between hydroelectric power and coal power. Hydroelectric is cleaner -- but I suspect that the fact that people can't actually SEE all the dirty chemicals in the air from the coal will create an "out of sight, out of mind" situation. But if we go with coal instead of the corridor they'll still be increasing, causing cancers and other health problems. Don't kid yourselves that you're doing something better just because it's not as visible.

    Meanwhile, if you're really interested in making your energy as clean as possible, there are some good ways to do that. Arcadia Power is a company that formed in 2014. I signed up with them a while ago after hearing about it, I think, on the Sierra Club website. The way it works is that you contract with them as your power company (you give them your account number with CMP so it links to there -- but you get your bill from Arcadia). You pay them, and they buy renewable energy certificates and put the amount of energy you used back into the national grid via renewables, and somehow CMP gets "paid back" through that system. It's free if you sign up to get 50% of your energy from the renewables. I have their premium plan, by which I offset my energy production 100% with renewables, and this costs me an additional $5 or so every month. (I think that varies by how much you consume.) This is one of the things making the cost of renewables dramatically lower in the country because it's creating demand. Arcadia is buying my electricity from wind farms. Those are mostly in the Midwest (we have a national power grid), and many of them are a way for family farms to make additional money, too. There is a map of the wind farms they buy from on their web site, and you can see info about them. This system works for renters as well as owners. Arcadia also offers the opportunity to buy kind of shares in solar panels, which they install on the roofs of stores and things, and then you get a kick-back from the energy produced by your panel for 10 years, after which the store keeps the full energy benefits of the panels they let them install. It's community solar. I haven't done that because in our area the solar options aren't as attractive as they are for some regions of the country, but they might get better, and it might be interesting to some. But FOR FREE you can make sure that 50% of your household's energy comes from renewables. And for not much more, you can get 100%. If you're interested.

  29. Al, Mills did strike out. She sure struck out at the Farmington Town Meeting, where she accused people opposed to the corridor, like me and all my friends, of using "dark money". Apparently, based on voting and polling, just about everyone is in cahoots with "dark money," except, one could infer, the governor herself. I was wondering, however, who was paying for the television ads "Mainers for Clean Energy"? And the social media campaign with the same name that blocked me when I respectfully presented an opposing view? Or all the professionally done up flyers and door hangers that we distributed in a professional gridlike fashion around Farmington before the vote? Or who funded the nonprofit Western Mountains and Rivers Corporation to the tune of a half million dollars. So if you are going to make allegations about the no folks, you ought not live in the glassiest of all houses. Ain't it odd the the lawyers, politicians and conflicted CEO's are the ones blaming us of dark money? Ain't it odd?

    Now on to the next, ahem, talking point.The project is not green and it will not reduce global green house gas emissions. It.Just.Won't. Hydro is clean when it runs through gorges, not when it floods massive plains. Some people are going to believe what they want, but do some research and find out for yourself.

    Here’s an example: About a decade ago, Hydro-Quebec built dams to divert the Rupert River to the Eastmain hydro facility, flooding 175 square miles of virgin forest and wetlands. As a result, the first year after flooding, as much CO2 was released as would have been released by a coal-fired power plant generating the same amount of electricity!

    So I shall not belabor this beaten horse, neither shall I give up, for the people who are being paid every single day won't give up, its their business.

    One last point- Maine is unique in its wild places. It is a last bastion for the eastern brook trout. People flock here to recreate and as development encroaches tourism can become the cash cow of the future. The Maine Brand is Mountains, Rivers, Lakes and the Sea. (see: Dept. of tourism, See: Vacationland) Why would we slash that brand for foreign profits based on a false premise? Especially now that we are sure we are being manipulated and lied to.

  30. Darryl, others,

    You, and Terry, and many others have done a great job fighting this "" corridor. I just had a nice
    Long chit chat with a CMP customer representative in Augusta. The conversation was ok for about 10-12
    Minutes, but then i got her into an area dealing with electricity and amperage and loading, of which she
    Has little knowledge and i have over 30 years experience and training. It was at that point she started to
    read off the CMP talking points. When i asked her to stop reading from the script and I gave her some very
    REAL FACTS that contradicted those talking points, she got a bit rude and told me that i didn't know what i
    was talking about. The call ended there. My point....CMP is doing everything in their power, including giving
    Out completely false data/statements, whatever, to get their way. AND....our governor and most, if not alllll
    Her colleagues in Augusta, are in bed with them. Our small town and the surrounding towns are the little ants
    In the way of the monsters and their GREEN agenda. This stuff started many years ago when Baldacci and
    King sold our mountains. Now the GREEN NEW DEAL is looming on the horizon. The Maine we all know and
    Love is in grave danger. God help us allllll on this stuff now!!!!

  31. How many mountain tops we need to dynamite and transmission right of ways for wind and solar power?

  32. Mike- brainwashing and green-washing. We have a challenge still in front of us.

  33. @Hart Daley, I keep saying the same thing. Where were you all when we were fighting these industrial wind projects that are more environmentally destructive and unsightly (not to mention pretty useless)?
    How is this project any different or worse? Hydro power is a far better, more reliable source of energy than wind, but yet somehow it has all the attention. So tired of the hypocrisy. And also, Massachusetts needs to buck up and create more of their own clean energy before I support ruining Maine's landscapes and habitat.

  34. @lisa
    Who was ever ASKED they're opinion about the wind Mills??
    I wasn't.
    They are the scourge of the mountains.
    I hate em!!
    Thanks Angus King and John Baldacci.

  35. On this thread I will also ask....What do people not understand about ISO New England? The northeast power grid is controlled by a company based in Massachusetts. They manage and distribute 32,000 megawatts of power for all of new England. That includes Maine with the exception of the county. They get theirs from hydro Quebec. When power is added to the northeast grid, everyone in the northeast uses it. Kind of like if you add more power to your house, every room gets some. It really is that simple. Whether or not you support it, at least understand it.

  36. I guess I may have a unique viewpoint, one that many people have not had the opportunity to see. You see I was the Forest Watchmen on Bigalow Mt. in 1973 and I spotted the last forest fire ever found from that tower.

    The fire was over the copland Plantation. I have hiked Bigalow many times over the years and have seen first hand how the view has diminished and diminished. Now on most days in the summer you can't even see Kennigago Mtn. I remember steading my binoculars on some books and watching cars on Maine street in Kingfield. Now you can't see the airport some ten miles away. This has happened over the last 46 years and I can see why most people may not even realize how bad it has gotten.

    I remember that summer they were still burning brush and putting in the new power line that started at Wyman dam and traversed the area just south of the Bigalows. But at the time there was no controversy about it what so ever.

    I don't know about the money thing, how much is enough and I have never gone to Canada to see the hydro dams. I can say that based on all the negativity surrounding this project that I doubt it will ever pass.

    But I do know that our air is getting worse and it has real health effects on people and animals. So if you are dead against this no matter what, in the future when one of your grandchildren has asthma or you come down with COPD just think back to when you may have had the chance to help a little. It's only going to get worse if we do nothing.

  37. A brilliant piece! Inspired and Inspiring. STOP THE CORRIDOR.

  38. Richy is explain an undeniable reality about the air.
    It's getting worse.

    I guess the issue is the we must do "something" argument...

    To me, unless the whole planet is on the same page were wasting our time.

    I know I know,, think globally act locally,, sounds good.
    I disagree with the "DO SOMETHING, EVEN IF IT'S WRONG" folks.
    But I could be wrong