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Mills Warms Up To CMP Transmission Project

Mark Vogelzang
Maine Public
Gov. Janet Mills appears on Maine Calling on Tuesday.

Gov. Janet Mills seems to be warming to Central Maine Power’s plan to build a major new power line through western Maine’s forests, now that CMP and Hydro-Quebec are offering a new benefits package to the state.

During her gubernatorial campaign, Mills expressed skepticism about the billion-dollar project, which would bring electricity from Hydro-Quebec’s dam system to customers in Massachusetts.

“Until CMP demonstrates that their transmission line proposal offers concrete and long-term benefits to the people of Maine rather than just the people of Quebec and Massachusetts, I have serious questions about it,” she said on the campaign trail.

But on Maine Public’s call-in show Maine Calling on Tuesday, Mills said she is happy with what she’s hearing about incentives the companies are now offering for rate subsidies, natural-resource-based economic development and funding for next-wave energy tech such as heat pumps and electric vehicles.

“I like the progress that they are making. And I like the subject areas they are addressing. Electric vehicles for instance, and electric vehicle charging stations all over Maine. I could see that happening and I appreciate and welcome their help in that regard,” she said.

Mills said she wants to see a finalized package before passing final judgment. The companies and other stakeholders are negotiating the terms of that agreement as CMP seeks permits from state utility and environmental regulators.

Originally published Feb. 12, 2019 at 3:53 p.m. ET.

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.