Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer
It was a Tuesday night in the Lincoln Auditorium, and the room was brimming with people who traveled to Farmington from all over Maine. Police officers stood watch inside and outside of the auditorium, an unusual spectacle for a usually quiet campus. The crowd had come to testify for and against the proposed Central Maine Power transmission line at a public forum hosted by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection.
CMP has been one of the most talked about topics in Maine for awhile now, with what seems to be the majority of Maine rallying together in opposition of the transmission line. The proposed line would run 145 miles from Quebec to Lewiston, where it will connect to an existing grid. The energy would be generated by Quebec hydro-power and would supposedly provide Massachusetts with clean energy to help the state decrease their fossil-fuel emissions.
According to the maps plastered all over the internet, the transmission line would run right through my home town of Livermore Falls. My town has an abundance of wild animals, from turkeys to deer who rely on the forest for everything. The transmission line would destroy more of the habitat local fauna need to survive. Although Livermore Falls is already apart of the existing transmission line, the clearing would need to be widened to provide room for the new lines. More forest would be torn down and more chemicals would be used to keep the trees and other plants from regrowing.
Many of the individuals in favor of the proposed plan spoke about the line traveling through logging forests that are already damaged. They spoke about how the power line would provide clear cuts for animals to find food. They spoke about how the power line would help reverse climate change and prevent disasters expected to occur in the next twelve years if we don’t drastically change our impact on the environment .
They forgot to mention that the transmission line would damage recreational sites and undeveloped Maine forests and species through habitat fragmentation. They also forgot to mention that the lower power rates promised to Mainers would only be a few measly bucks, while CMP would make billions of dollars in profit.
The Natural Resource Council of Maine has even stated that the new transmission line might actually increase climate-changing pollution, instead of decreasing it. The council also stated that line would clear vegetation through, “263 wetlands, across 115 streams and 12 inland waterfowl and wading bird habitat areas, and near remote Beattie Pond.”
How would ruining Maine’s natural lands benefit the environment? Isn’t it best for Maine’s ecosystems if we left the woods alone and let the clear-cut plants grow back? Once the transmission line is put up, there will be no replacing cleared trees with new sprouts. Instead, there is the promise of herbicides to keep vegetation from regrowing.
One of my greatest goals in life is to become a teacher and live happily in Maine. I’ve never felt the need to go anywhere else. I’m always happy when I cross over the Piscataqua River Bridge after a vacation and return to Maine. I want to be able to take long walks in the forest with my family and I want to swim in pristine lakes every summer. I’m not sure if I, or anyone else, could do that if CMP took control of our state. They already control almost all of the power supplied to Maine, and now they have the chance to control Maine’s environment as well.
Central Maine Power has been in trouble the past year for raising rates for Mainers and now they want to give up valuable Maine land to benefit another state. The people of Maine shouldn’t be selling our land to a company who is owned by large corporation that’s based in Spain.
Central Maine Power has no interest in protecting Maine’s environment and no interest in benefitting the people who live here.