Being a pessimist environmentalist is challenging as I often become discouraged by what I see on television. Whenever I see the Clean Energy Connect advertisements, I need to stifle my outrage. Such lies this foreign-based company is promoting by saying this project is creating jobs for Mainers. Just its presence will harm the regional tourism industry resulting in loss of established jobs. The ads overlook the countless jobs in the biomass industry and related forest products industries put in jeopardy by the Corridor.
Maine-based renewables are projected to lose $400 million in the first 15 years of the Corridor’s operation. Meanwhile as I watch these ads, I know that Hydro-Quebec, a foreign government-owned corporation, has spent more than $10 million to influence the outcome of this referendum. (Money they wouldn’t be allowed to spend on a similar effort in their own country.)
Volunteering at the Monmouth Fair with the grassroots group Vote YES to Reject the Corridor renewed my spirits. The People I spoke with not only knew about the proposed Corridor, they adamantly shared my opposition to it. Resoundingly their reason was the desire to preserve the beauty of the north Maine woods. I heard stories of fishing and hunting there and the residents desire to preserve the last great forest east of the Mississippi River. Many understood the value of the forested overstory as wildlife habitat; some knew about the threat to brook trout, which spawn in colder water. Resoundingly people were aware of CMP’s reliability as last in the nation. Customers know CMP’s ranking as the worst utility in America by JD Power three years in a row.
Instead of needing to convince people that CMP’s proposed Corridor is bad for Maine, I only had to explain to them we are voting YES to Reject.