Our Viewpoint: No on Question 1

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This week, probably the worst rainstorms in regional history are lashing the West Coast. They are likely yet another result of a rapidly changing climate that is bringing harsh and unpredictable turmoil to our weather.

The warming atmosphere and the rising seas are a crucial index of the change that is unfolding, and will profoundly alter the lives of generations to come. The earth is warming, and it is in peril.

At the same time, Maine voters are facing a difficult choice on a referendum that seeks to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect corridor, a power line built by Central Maine Power’s parent company in conjunction with Hydro Quebec that would transport hydroelectric power from Canada through Maine to the New England power grid. It has been a confusing, difficult, and sometimes emotional debate, the issues obfuscated by tangential distractions such as the issue of retroactivity of the law.

We oppose Question 1 and would allow the power line to move forward. 

The urgency of using all means at our disposal to increase non-fossil fuel sources of power is paramount. The opportunity to broaden the mix of power in the New England energy grid, and deemphasize energy from fossil fuels, to stall climate change trumps other concerns.

Understanding as much as we can about Question 1, and the arguments on both sides, leads us to conclude that the 53 miles of new transmission line, cut in an already harvested area in western Maine mostly owned by CMP, will provide a significant amount of hydroelectric power to the New England grid.

No sources of power are perfect, but continued reliance on fossil fuel power is the most damaging. The wind turbines that now dominate many Maine mountaintops have required extensive cutting, and will not provide anything close to the amount of energy needed if we are truly going to wean ourselves from fossil fuels.

Despite some uncertainty and drawbacks of hydropower generally, this project will harness a significant renewable power that can be made available quickly.

Many strategies must be employed to fight global warming, and the choices are not perfect. But it seems wrong to reject this source of immediate power, and possibly also stall future projects.

We urge you to vote “No” on Question 1.