Indigenous, environmental groups urge Mainers to vote YES on Question 1 to stop NECEC corridor for dirty Canadian hydropower electricity

North American Megadam Resistance Alliance (NAMRA), part of an international network that includes Wa Ni Ska Tan, Dam Watch International, and Save the World's Rivers that works for the protection of rivers and their communities, urges Mainers to vote yes on referendum Question 1 on November 2 to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) hydropower transmission corridor. The corridor would carry electricity from Hydro-Quebec megadams on remote Canadian rivers to Massachusetts. The alliance opposes the corridor because the production of hydropower destroys rivers and forests, violates Indigenous rights, and harms the climate.

To generate electricity for NECEC, Hydro-Quebec will use 61 dams and 28 reservoirs that have flooded and destroyed tens of thousands of square miles of boreal forests, wetlands, and taiga. 

Most of the dams are built on the ancestral lands of Indigenous Peoples in Canada without their consent and without compensation. The Innu, Atikamekw, and Anishinabek First Nations in Quebec oppose NECEC and are suing Hydro-Quebec for violations of their constitutional rights. For over 100 years, Canada's hydropower monopolies have forced people from their lands, resulting in cultural genocide, food insecurity, and impoverishment. Continued operation of dams causes ongoing environmental destruction and harm to the lives and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. According to a coalition of communities impacted by Hydro-Quebec's dams, "36% of the total hydroelectric power installed by Hydro-Quebec has been stolen from us since it is produced in our respective ancestral territories from reservoirs, dams, power plants and various other installations, without prior consultation, without our consent and without compensation.

"The NECEC corridor perpetuates the ongoing environmental racism caused by Canada's hydropower industry," said Meg Sheehan, NAMRA coordinator. "Massachusetts' laws require clean energy to meet standards for environmental justice. Importing this electricity is not green and violates every principle that Governor Baker claimed he supports. It is a big green lie."

Canadian hydropower can be as dirty as fossil fuels. "The best available science indicates that Quebec hydropower emits as much climate pollution as natural gas power plants," said Gary Wockner of Save the World's Rivers. NECEC and Hydro-Quebec are both heavily greenwashed according to NAMRA and Save the World's Rivers. 
Globally, dams and their reservoirs produce approximately 770 megatons of greenhouse gases per year including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide

A carbon accounting loophole in Massachusetts' greenhouse gas inventory means the emissions from NECEC's electricity will not be counted. NECEC will undermine Massachusetts' climate plan that calls for an 85% reduction in climate-changing emissions by 2050. 

In Maine, NECEC's 53 miles of new transmission lines will fragment the largest contiguous temperate forest in North America, and perhaps the world. The line would permanently damage 263 wetlands while crossing 200 rivers and streams, including vital habitat for brook trout. 


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  • Sandra Howard
    published this page in News 2021-10-26 15:01:47 -0400