Gov. Mills is to be commended for following through on her promise to make climate change a top priority of her administration.
After expressing doubts about New England Clean Energy Connect, a project to bring hydro electricity from Quebec into the New England market at Lewiston, she took a hard look at the project and, when significant greenhouse-gas reductions were confirmed and over $250 million in new benefits for Maine were secured, she threw her support behind this clean-energy deal.
The governor is in good company. The Conservation Law Foundation, one of New England’s oldest and most respected environmental advocacy organizations, helped negotiate the agreement with Central Maine Power that led to funds for broadband, electric vehicles and charging stations, offshore wind research, and support for a long-term plan to de-carbonize the region and other benefits.
The foundation is now a strong supporter of NECEC.
For too long, government and environmental community leaders have avoided leveling with Maine people about climate change, offering feel-good solutions instead of discussing the trade-offs required to significantly reduce carbon emissions.
As a former state conservation commissioner, I’ve been all over the area where the new corridor will run. It is a working forest, bisected by hundred of miles of permanent logging and access roads. It’s not a pristine wilderness. If we have any hope of arresting climate change, we are going to need more transmission lines moving clean energy from solar, wind, hydro, battery storage and other not-yet-developed technology. This is a trade-off we will have to make to avoid ecological and human catastrophe.
The threat to our boreal forests and cold-water streams and air quality is not from transmission lines – it is from continued reliance on burning natural gas and oil to produce our electricity, which emits enormous amounts of carbon pollution into our atmosphere.
Action now is necessary. Let’s move forward in permitting New England Clean Energy Connect.