Central Maine Power is proposing to transport energy from a Canadian energy company, Hydro-Quebec, in a 145-mile long transmission line which would cut through the ecologically valuable wilderness in Maine. Building this proposed transmission line would require clear cutting areas of the largest temperate forest in North America, the North Woods. This is a bad deal for Maine and would permanently scar our land.
The Maine North Woods is a privately owned working and recreational forest and has the perfect balance between the forest industry, recreation, and wildlife. It provides countless outdoor opportunities for visitors such as camping, hiking, canoe/kayaking while at the same time being a working forest for over two centuries. The North Woods supplies renewable forest resources that are sustainably harvested and are a major part of Maine's economy. The forest products industry directly contributes about $1.8 billion to Maine's economy each year.
Clear-cutting a swath of the North Woods means removing all trees and underbrush, making a 53 mile, 300-foot wide path, that would destroy important habitats. Forest fragmentation occurs when roads, utility corridors, or clearings create breaks in the natural landscape and can divide animal populations. Eventually, they could be lost from an area. The largest moose population in the lower 48 states resides in the North Woods not to mention the largest population of lynx and the second largest loon population. This corridor would risk their survival and dramatically lower overall biodiversity. We need to protect these animals by protecting the habitat they survive in.
Additionally, clearing this corridor could eliminate certain native plants. This has already happened in Southern Maine, where some of Maine’s plant communities have been lostdue to development. Newly cleared areas are prime habitat for aggressive invasive species to take over since the natural vegetation has been removed. An increase in non-native plants can also hurt wildlife by replacing food with inedible alternatives.
Landscaping impacts are much worse from construction in hilly terrain than in flat areas. Construction activities could cause slopes to become unstable, leading to landslides. Site clearing can also cause erosion increasing the sediment load in nearby waterways creating poor water quality. Excessive suspended sediment can disrupt natural aquatic migrations, as well as damage the gills of fish. Maine is home to 97 percent of the wild brook trout waters in the Eastern United States and naturally reproducing landlocked salmon are mainly located in lakes in the northwest of Maine. With such important rare fish relying on the waterways here we cannot risk their health.
There is no way CMP could guarantee the protection of our environment during the construction of this transmission line. This 145-mile line will permanently scar the North Woods, risk the wildlife we care about and threaten the balance we’ve benefited from for centuries– that is why we are standing up against the proposed transmission line.