When Adrienne Bennett ran to represent Maine’s second congressional district, she stood proudly with the people in staunch opposition to the New England Clean Energy Connect corridor.
Unfortunately, she has changed her position on the project in order to take a job with NECEC as a spokesperson. Her Sept. 9 letter about Question 1 (“Power corridor question is a ‘political power grab’“) was riddled with blatant mistruths, so I am compelled to set the record straight.
First, to be clear, Question 1 does not empower lawmakers to pass laws retroactively. We can already do this, and the courts have upheld our ability to do so.
In 1993, I helped draft an amendment to our Constitution to protect public lands from commercial exploitation. This amendment passed with 73% of the vote, and is now Article 9, Section 23 of the Maine Constitution. This provision says that the state may not reduce or substantially alter our public lands without first receiving a vote from two-thirds of our Legislature.
For nearly 30 years the Legislature has routinely voted to approve any such deals. With the NECEC corridor, however, this was not done. They instead skirted the law and signed a lease instead of an easement for the corridor.
Question 1 simply clarifies that poles, transmission lines and facilities, landing strips, pipelines and railroads would substantially alter or reduce the value of public lands, for both leases and sales. This part of the referendum only deals with the public lands.
I ask people to join me in voting yes on Question 1 this November.
Sen. Richard Bennett, Oxford