The fight to Stop the CMP Corridor is far from over. While the first citizen initiative was ruled unconstitutional because it targeted the PUC, a part of the executive branch, we are off and running with another initiative which rightly targets the law-making legislative branch. Already 35,000 plus signatures (mostly on election day) have been collected, but we need another 35,000. Enclosed is a summary of the new initiative and an appeal for your help.
Last year’s collection was hard enough with the cold. This year we are facing the cold as well as Covid. We can succeed, but it is going to take all hands-on deck. Please contact the campaign at [email protected],-you can find the spot closest to you where you can sign as well as have petitions mailed to you if you want to collect. Since the petitions have to be completed, verified, and submitted by Jan. 21, time is of essence. If you need any assistance you can also call FEN at 207 265-6686.
While CMP and Hydro-Quebec are saying they are going to start construction in Dec., I think this is just political theater to make the public think the fight is over. The new initiative has a retroactive clause so if they started, it is at their own peril.. Several permits have not yet been issued. At the federal level the Dept. Energy Presidential permit has not been issued and at the local municipal level several towns along the proposed route have not issued permits. Also, the permit issued by the Maine Dept of Environmental Protection is being appealed.
In addition to the permitting, there are several current legal actions. Since this corridor will cross public property and will significantly alter the land, state law requires that there be a 2/3rds legislative vote in support before a project can go forward. This vote never took place mostly because Gov. Mills and her CMP cronies knew they could not get a ⅔ positive vote. They circumvented the law. The legality of the circumvention is being challenged.
Finally, there is a legal battle over the issuance of the permit from the Army Corp of Engineers. The Army Corp only carried out an Environmental Assessment (EA) not a full-scale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A full scale EIS would require a much more thorough impact analysis as well as an examination of potential alternative routes. Both Congressman Jared Golden and the Penobscot Nation requested that a full EIS be undertaken, but their requests were summarily dismissed. It should be noted that in both VT and NH full EIS analysis was carried out when similar Hydro-Quebec transmission lines were proposed.
The science is very clear. Power generated from Hydro-Quebec is not green. It is some of the dirtiest generated power on the planet. Not only does the flooding of areas the size of Rhode Island destroy carbon sequestrating boreal forest, but it also releases huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane – 80 times more impacting than CO2. In addition, natural mercury in the soil is methylated and goes into solution polluting the water and bio accumulating up the food chain. This is a serious health concern for not only wildlife, but indigenous subsistent people living in the area.
While the upstream ecological disaster occurring above the mega-dams is well documented, it is only recently come to light the equally troubling impacts downstream. The disruption of natural seasonal water flow not only disrupts the riverine life cycles dependent on a regular seasonal flow, but it also changes the nutrients, temperature, and salinity in estuaries.
Without the spring nutrients the phytoplankton, a major carbon sequestrator and the base of the marine food chain, does not experience its natural spring population explosion. In addition, alterations in the salinity and temperature impacts currents which distribute phytoplankton as a food sources over long distances. There is now evidence that suggest the fisheries decline in both the Gulf of Maine and the Grand Banks may be tied to the mega-dam development around the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
As if, any of this is not enough to say No to CMP and Hydro-Quebec. For these foreign owned companies, it is not about saving the planet from climate change. We know now that this will only worsen the climate situation. This is about money – billions and billions in profit – plain and simple. This is why they are willing to spend millions on large scale “bribes” and slick PR campaigns. If we are ever going to save this planet, we must be willing to reject these planet slayers and send them packing.
In spite of how the Covid pandemic has kept us apart, the resolve to make the world a better place is as strong as ever. Stay safe and I wish you the best this holiday season and much cheer.
Director, Forest Ecology Network