As those of you who joined us this week on our campaign update know, there are many moving parts on the CMP Corridor issue right now, and I’m pleased to say that the momentum is well in our favor.
This week, the Secretary of State announced that we have in fact made the ballot with 80,506 valid signatures, which provides a healthy buffer of more than 17,000 signatures above the threshold to qualify for the ballot. This announcement is bittersweet for opponents of CMP's destructive NECEC Corridor. It's bitter because the people of Maine should have had their say last November, but it's sweet because it shows that no matter what CMP or their high powered lawyers throw at us, opposition to the project remains as strong as ever.
Of course, right away CMP contracted an Arizona-based company to scan all of our petitions in an effort to (again) disenfranchise their own customers. It’s really no wonder that this company is so universally disliked. Rest easy knowing that because of our many volunteers, CMP’s effort to knock us off the ballot is largely in vain. The people of Maine came out in droves to sign our petition and they will have the chance to vote YES to reject the CMP Corridor this November.
Featured Story of the Week
The Maine Legislature now will consider the initiative. Legislators can choose to enact the bill as written or to send it to a statewide vote on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The legislation seeks to require lawmaker approval for the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines. It also provides that transmission lines crossing or utilizing public lands must be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.
The measure would prohibit the construction of certain transmission lines in the upper Kennebec Valley region. The provision would apply retroactively to Sept. 16, 2020.
The bill also would require the approval of two-thirds of the Legislature for any use of public lands for transmission lines and facilities and certain other projects. That provision would apply retroactively to Sept. 16, 2014.
Tom Saviello, a former legislator and organizer behind the signature drive with the No CMP Corridor group, said he knew opposition would be strong. “But I never anticipated the level of support we would receive,” he said. “This year we collected more signatures in less time, and we did it during a pandemic and the height of Maine’s winter.”
Click here to read the whole story.
New Digital AD
This week, No CMP Corridor launched a new digital ad featuring the words of our very own volunteers, as printed in various letters to their local editors. Please help spread the word by sharing this ad on your social media far and wide. In the coming weeks, we will continue to release new ads as part of this series. Thank you to all who participated in this project!
Featured Interview of the Week
Highlight from the Legislature
Thank you to Senator Rick Bennett for your support on the floor of the Senate for our cause! We are ever grateful for the ally you have been for us.
Watch the entire video of Senator Bennett's speech here.
Featured Letter of the Week
Keep Fighting the Good Fight
by Chelsea M. Washburn of Durham
Update on CMP’s 700 page ‘minor revision’ Application
This week, thanks to our allies in Augusta and the overwhelming level of comment received from our grassroot activists, the Legislature took the unprecedented step of calling a special hearing in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to question the then acting Commissioner Loyzim to answer for her decision to sweep CMP’s sweeping ‘minor revision’ application under the rug ahead of her confirmation hearing in the Maine Senate. A recording of the meeting can be found here, compliments of Eric Tuttle.
We wouldlike to thank Senate President Troy Jackson for allowing this meeting to happen, and we thank the committee for taking the time to dig into this issue. They asked some thoughtful and hard-hitting questions. We would especially like to acknowledge Senator Rick Bennett for asking the question that’s been on all of our minds: “How could this be viewed, or even presented, as a minor revision in the first place?”
The big takeaway from this meeting is the revelation that the Board of Environmental Protection will decide on March 18th if CMP’s application qualifies as a minor revision or an amendment, and also if the application belongs with the Board rather than the Department. It will be critical to again “pack the room” on Zoom so the Board continues to feel our presence. We will send around information on how to join once it becomes available, and you can check our Facebook event for this meeting.
Update on Presidential Permit
This week, Senator Rick Bennett received a response from Senator Susan Collins that she has heard the message loud and clear. Her office is following up with the Department of Energy to gain more insight into how they issued the Presidential Permit. Regardless of your political affiliation, please take a few minutes to thank Senator Collins for looking into this matter, and continue to reach out to Senator Angus King to do the same.
- To contact Senator Collins’ office, please use this online form, or call (202) 224-2523.
- To contact Senator King’s office, please use this online form, or call (202) 224-5344.
1. Submit a comment to support our DEP permit appeal and urge the Board to take original jurisdiction. Comments must be provided in both digital and physical form by 5:00 pm on March 12, 2021. Directions on how to submit are provided here. Some talking points to consider include:
- The BEP should take original jurisdiction of the original application.
- DEP failed to adequately assess the significant environmental and economic harm this project will cause.
- When the DEP issued the permit, it included an unknown and unidentified 40,000 acres of conserved lands to mitigate the environmental damage.
- There is no evidence of technical and financial capability of CMP/NECEC Transmission to build a project that can be decommissioned.
Activist of the Week
This week's featured activist is John Cote of Farmingdale. Like so many of our volunteers, John has many concerns about the environmental impacts of the NECEC corridor. His dissatisfaction with CMP's customer service has been ongoing for years since the company conducted reliability upgrades in 2006 without providing adequate notice to abutting homeowners their right of way. John has been a continual advocate for our cause by testifying at the Army Corps of Engineers' and DEP hearings, submitting letters to newspapers, and for calling in to Maine Public radio to pose tough questions to Governor Mills about her continued support for the corridor. During the signature collection effort, John was out the door at a moment's notice to travel to those who wanted to sign the petition and with his efforts combined with all of our collectors, we qualified for the 2021 ballot!
Text ECHO to 474747
The most important task we have is spreading our message to Mainers about how bad this deal is for us and that a YES vote on the ballot rejects the Corridor. The echo chamber is a dedicated group of volunteers who are willing to share our social media content at a moment’s notice. If you join the echo chamber, you will periodically receive texts from us to share our social media content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As you can see, the reach we have as more people share is exponential. If 50 people share a Facebook post, that reach increases to 60% of our supporters and their friends on that social media platform.