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Resistance Growing Against CMP’s Proposed Canada-Massachusetts Transmission Project

The 145-mile high voltage line would bring electricity from Hydro-Québec's dam system in Canada down to Massachusetts consumers"

Opposition is mounting to Central Maine Power’s proposal to build a major new transmission line through western Maine.

The 145-mile line would carry electricity from Canada’s Hydro-Quebec dam system to customers in Massachusetts. A growing number of stakeholders are saying there’s little or no benefit for Maine, while treasured resources, such as the Kennebec River Gorge, would be compromised.

State Sen. Tom Saviello, a Republican who co-chairs the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee, says he’s asking officials in several of the towns in his district that would host the new line to take a closer look, even though CMP has already garnered their support.

“I want the environment protected. That’s critical to me. No. 2, I want the community to benefit from this one-way power line some way or another,” he says. “I am not opposed to this line, however if those things are not addressed I will be dead-set against the line and I will take whatever action I can to prevent it from being put in.”

Last week, an independent analysis commissioned by state energy regulators found that reductions in electricity prices the project could produce would be about a third of what CMP projected. And state environmental regulators have raised what they call “serious concerns” about crossing the Kennebec River Gorge.

CMP says the project will still benefit Maine’s economy, and that it is working with stakeholders to mitigate its impacts.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.