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Franklin County Commissioners Rescind Support For CMP Transmission Line

Another group of elected officials is rescinding support for Central Maine Power's proposed 141-mile transmission line through western Maine.

When CMP first was developing its billion-dollar plan to bring electricity from Canada's dam system into the New England grid, it quietly collected endorsements from dozens of potential host communities. But in some communities, as local citizens became more aware of the project's scope, they started urging their local politicians to oppose it.

Now the Franklin County Commissioners are rescinding their initial letter of support. Commissioner Charles Webster says after learning more about the project and after some public hearings in the county, the Commissioners are questioning whether CMP is offering sufficient benefits to the county and the state to warrant the powerline's effects on the landscape.

"We gave a tentative approval based on the information that we had,” says Webster. “Which goes to show you that in politics, like all the time, you ought to get the whole picture before you decide."

He emphasizes that the Commission is not outright opposing the project, but staying neutral for the moment. The Commissioners' decision brings the number of municipalities or elected bodies that have rescinded initial support for the project to 10.

CMP spokesperson John Carroll says the commission may have been working with incomplete or inaccurate information, and CMP will seek a new meeting with the panel.

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.