I am very pleased to report that CMP’s latest attempt to slow our momentum and confuse the voters was shot down by the law court this week. On June 3, CMP’s lacky Rep. Christopher Caiazzo of Scarborough filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State to divide our referendum into three separate questions. He did this knowing that more than 80,000 Mainers signed to initiate our referendum as drafted. Fortunately, first the lower court, and now the law court both sided with Secretary Bellows to honor the will of the voters. So now it’s clear that our question will be presented to the voters as initiated - as one question.
Featured Story of the Week
Also this week, Senator Russell Black doubled down on his call for the Department of Environmental Protection to halt construction in Segment 1 of the Corridor to re-evaluate the taper requirement included in the permit, which is failing to protect the wildlife, fisheries and vistas as intended. He also renewed his call for the Board of Environmental Protection to take control of this project of clear statewide significance in light of the failing condition.
Featured Column of the Week
By Senator Russell Black of Wilton
That’s why four lawmakers including myself — two members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and two members of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee — were concerned about reports that the Central Maine Power clear cuts in the region are double what is being advertised by the company, and that the tapering condition included in the permit isn’t working.
This stipulation is in place to minimize the damage to the forest as well as wildlife and natural habitats in the environment surrounding the corridor route, and the state must ensure that these conditions are met.
The Environment and Natural Resources Committee received reports on May 28 that this was not the case, which is why Sen. Rick Bennett, Rep. Lori Gramlich, Rep. Scott Landry and I personally visited the CMP Corridor (also known as the New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC) in Johnson Mountain Township on June 24 and 29 to witness the clear cut that was in question.
Our goal was to view and measure the cuttings ourselves to: 1. Determine the actual width of the cut corridor; 2. Assess if the “tapering” condition in the site location permit is an effective tool to protect the wildlife, fisheries and vista; 3. Visit the public lands where the lease has been illegitimately issued to allow the corridor to substantially alter these lands without the constitutionally-required two-thirds vote of the Legislature; and 4. Document our findings.
On our visit to CMP’s Corridor route, we found that the clear cuts are currently between 84- and 100-plus-feet wide, almost twice the width NECEC has advertised. We also found that the tapering requirement, designed to protect critical wildlife habitat and the scenic character of this special part of Maine either cannot, or simply isn’t, being met.
As someone who has worked in the forest on woodlots in and around clear cuts for 49 years now, I am very confident in our findings.
To make matters worse, unless the Board of Environmental Protections steps in, these clear cuts will only get wider as crews return to the forest on August 1st to continue clearing the supposed taper zones.
We were disturbed by what we saw and are publicly calling on the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Environmental Protection to intervene and do their duty to ensure the protection of this special place.
By Senator Rick Bennett
Recently Senator Russell Black and I (separately) visited Segment 1 of the CMP Corridor to see first hand the environmental damage that is being done in the construction of this project. Last week, we held a news conference and sent a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection and Members of the Board of Environmental Protection explaining that the Corridor width greatly exceeds the permitted 54′, and that the tapering condition including in the DEP permit isn’t protecting critical wildlife habitat and viewsheds as intended.
In response, Thorn Dickinson, President and CEO of NECEC, issued an insulting response criticizing myself and my colleagues, claiming we are unqualified to recognize a clear cut when we’re standing in one. He said, “The DEP are professionals with expertise in forestry practices, these politicians are not.”
In his statement, Mr. Dickinson failed to recognize that my friend and colleague, Senator Russell Black, has been farming and logging since he could hold up a saw. To be exact, he has managed wood lots for 49 years now. In 2018, he was awarded the Tree Farmer of the year award by the Maine and National Tree Farm Associations. In fact, his tree farm was one of the top four in the country. His farm has proudly displayed the Tree Farm plaque for 30 years. In 2006, he was recognized as the Outstanding Logger by the Franklin County Soil and Water District. He has cut thousands of cords on thousands of acres.
Mr. Dickinson must not have realized Senator Black’s qualifications when he issued this insulting statement. But further, I’d argue that it hardly takes a professional forester to recognize a clear cut when you’re standing in one. It also doesn’t take a professional to hold a tape measure. While Mr. Dickinson has repeatedly claimed that the width of the new corridor is ‘only’ 54′, the cuts I witnessed personally are nearly twice the advertised width. I am confident that my colleagues and I (two of us sit on the committee of oversight for the DEP) fully understand what we observed, which is why we were all compelled to speak up.
Second Featured Letter of the Week
By Michael Hachey of Westborough, MA
Featured Testimonial of the Week
We need your help in spreading our VOTE YES message at local fairs and festivals throughout Maine! Let us know if you can volunteer for a booth shift at the Wilton Blueberry Festival on August 7th or the Skowhegan Fair from August 12th-21st. These are great volunteer opportunities to make a big impact, have fun and help ensure our victory against CMP in November!
Sign up now!
Activists of the Week
This week, we would like to thank our dedicated volunteers across the state who have stepped into the important role of sign captain! Signs will be a key way to educate voters that a YES vote is necessary to reject the CMP Corridor. Please join us in thanking our sign captains. If you would like a lawn sign, please fill out this form and we will connect you with a sign captain near you.
Donations are not required to receive a sign, but they are always very much appreciated!
To donate securely online, click the button below. To donate by check, mail a check payable to No CMP Corridor to PO Box 471 Farmington, ME 04938.
Thank you all for your continued support. Together, let’s let everyone know that this November, a YES vote will stop, ban and reject the CMP Corridor.
Director, No CMP Corridor