I hope you have had a great week!
Before we get started, here’s a new ad from our allies at Mainers for Local Power. This ad featured Hon. Dennis Keschl, a former lawmaker with an incredibly impressive resume. Dennis formerly served as the Director of the Public Utilities Commission. He also served as the Director of the Bureau of Air Quality Control, and as the Director of the Division of Operations and Maintenance in the Bureau of Water Quality. He is a former President of the New England Water Environment Association, and a longtime Board Member for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
In other words, Dennis is an incredibly strong ally with credentials that make him more qualified to analyze the benefits/risks of this project than most.
Please share this ad on social media to help spread the word!
Featured Ad of the Week
Important Public Hearing
Late last week, DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim set the date for a hearing to get public input on whether the Department should suspend CMP’s lease in light of the recent court ruling that vacated the company’s lease to cross public lands that was illegally obtained.
Who: Maine Department of Environmental Protection
What: A public hearing to receive evidence on whether the license issued by the DEP to CMP and NECEC should be suspended in light of the recent Superior Court decision to vacate the lease.
When: Tuesday, October 19 at 5:30 PM
Where: Zoom Join meeting here, passcode: 85dBL8
Additional information: If you wish to speak, you must register with Ruth Ann Burke at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on October 12, 2021. Individuals who do not register to speak in advance will be allowed to testify, time permitting.
Members of the public also may submit written comments until the close of the record, which is anticipated to be at the close of the public hearing on October 19, 2021.
We will need as many members of the public to submit testimony and/or speak at this meeting as possible. There is strength in numbers, so let’s band together and make our collective voice heard! If you submitted testimony on LD 471, “An Act To Require Approval for Certain Leases of Public Lands” this year, or LD 1893, “An Act To Require a Lease of Public Lands To Be Based on Reasonable Market Value and To Require Approval of Such Leases for Commercial Purposes” last year, your remarks can easily be repurposed for this public meeting.
Please focus your comments for this public meeting on the illegal public lands lease, and the fact that CMP/NECEC no longer has Title Right and Interest for the entire line. In plain terms, that simply means that their line has a one mile gap and no longer connects. Please also consider:
- The Legislature has clearly indicated four times that this lease was a substantial alteration that requires a ⅔ vote of their approval.
- The very last action of the First Special Session of the 130th Legislature was to pass SP 594, “Joint Resolution, Expressing the Sense of the Legislature Regarding the Use of Public Land Leased by the State. The Joint Resolution concludes, “RESOLVED: That We, the Members of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Legislature now assembled in the First Special Session, on behalf of the people we represent, express our sense in accordance with the Constitution of Maine, that the lease provided to CMP to cross the public reserved land in West Forks Plantation and in Johnson Mountain Township constitutes a substantial alteration of those lands, requiring a ⅔ vote of all the members elected to each House of the Legislature.”
- Justice Murphy’s ruling concludes: “The Court finds no competent evidence to support BPL’s claim that it made the constitutionally-required finding of no “reduction” and/or no “substantial alteration” before it entered into the 2020 lease with CMP. Director Cutko therefore exceeded his authority, and his decision is therefore reversed.”
- This project needs to be held to the same high standard as every other infrastructure project in this state.
- Until CMP can 1) get legislative approval 2) identify and fully permit an alternate route or 3) succeed on appeal, construction must stop. Allowing this company to continue construction without a resolution is inflicting unnecessary damage on Maine’s environment, vistas and valuable wildlife habitat.
So please, begin thinking about your testimony, and reach out if you have any questions.
Featured Story of the Week
Now, to address the elephant in the room. By now, I’m sure that you’ve all seen the ads put out by CMP’s newest front group - Mainers for Fair Laws - against Question 1. These ads make some pretty wild claims about our referendum that aren’t based in reality. Last week, Clean Energy Matters (CMP) attorney Newell Augur took their outlandish claims a step further. Let me remind you, this is the same attorney that brought me before the Ethics Commission because he didn’t believe that I would volunteer this much time toward a cause that I care deeply about. When asked for evidence, Newell said that the lack of evidence that I had done anything wrong was in fact evidence that I had done wrong…
Newell said, “Anything from your back deck to a highway is now at risk.”
OBVIOUSLY this isn’t true, and this sort of stretch just goes to show, yet again, that CMP and its allies will say literally anything to cast doubt on Question 1.
Here are the facts:
- This referendum didn’t invent retroactivity. It’s well established in Maine law.
- It clarifies the intent of the Constitution that projects such as this in fact do substantially alter the use and value of public lands, and require ⅔ vote of each House of the Legislature. Again, Question 1 obviously won’t impact your back deck.
- The public lands section isn’t retroactive to create new law, it’s retroactive to enforce existing law and the Maine Constitution, which we now know beyond a shadow of a doubt was violated.
- The rest of the referendum is retroactive only to the date we submitted the petition. It only applies to high-impact transmission line projects. Not roads, bridges or your back deck. At the time, CMP did not have all necessary permits, they had not begun construction and the validity of their public lands leases were being considered by the court. CMP proceeded anyway, at their own risk.
As you can see, CMP and their minions (NECEC, Clean Energy Matters, Mainers for Fair Laws) aren’t being truthful with Maine voters.
Featured Letter of the Week
Darryl Wood of New Sharon
- Email Ruth Burke at the DEP to sign up to present a public comment at the 10/19 hearing: [email protected]
- If you need help with your draft, or identifying local papers, please reach out to Cara at [email protected]
- Fill out this quick form to help place signs: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bHCh9T-begFE_iDUz4iOl60AHmmFmwfLFoY2Ip-OA6w/viewform?edit_requested=true
This week we are featuring again new bumper stickers! Please consider making a donation and we'd be happy to send you one.
To donate securely online, click below. To donate by check, mail a check payable to No CMP Corridor to PO Box 471 Farmington, ME 04938.
That’s all for this week, friends! Just 51 more days until Election Day!