« Oh, That Transmission Line

Oh that Transmission Line

The people in Maine have been discussing the proposed transmission line from Quebec to the New England power grid for over three years. It’s not been easy. It’s not been clear. We all have opinions, and mine are a bit different.

1. In the process of proposing the transmission line, CMP never entered into honest, heart-felt discussions with the population of the state of Maine about the proposal. It was more like a corporate entitlement - that CMP and its parent company in Spain would do what they felt was best. I do not feel that there was honest, straightforward negotiation. There was a great deal of “telling.”

2. The amount of land used by the transmission line is small, small indeed. I have read that it is less than one-half of one percent of Maine’s available land. It is not significant - but it is important land. And it involves public lands which perhaps should not have been traded away for consumer benefits.

3. Alternative corridors were never really researched and discussed. I maintain that using already existing railroad corridors could have created cascading improvements. The corridor could have run along an improved railroad corridor, establishing a way to link Montreal and Boston via rail. And it would have been a single corridor. Even using existing roadways and expanding those routes would have been better than cutting paths through public lands.

4. That we need clean power is a given. That we need to establish a corridor is a given. Better planning would have created a corridor without compromise. There is always the issue of our dependency of foreign power, even though we have great Canadian neighbors.

5. At some point, it will be necessary to recognize that this is a done deal. CMP and its parent company have been building segments for this transmission line for years. When those segments are tied together, it will be done deal, like it or not. It all speaks to some kind of corporate manipulation, and it is perhaps that manipulation that many Mainers reject.

For one, I’ve not decided how I will vote in the upcoming referendum - maybe because I’m not sure any longer that it will make any difference. It seems the big corporate enterprise of CMP and its parent company in Spain have made a decision, finessed a deal, and the discussion is over.

I get it.  We need it.  It all could have been done better.

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